Celtics vs Nuggets Picks, Prediction Today | Thursday, March 7 Preview

Celtics vs Nuggets Picks, Prediction Today | Thursday, March 7 Preview article feature image
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Pictured: Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics and Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets who are favored to meet in the 2024 NBA Finals.

Celtics vs Nuggets Picks, Prediction Today

Thursday, March 7
10 p.m.
TNT
Pick: Celtics +1 (-110)

Potential NBA Finals Matchup?

Here's everything you need to know about Celtics vs. Nuggets on Thursday, March 7 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.

Thursday's matchup between the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets is easily the best game on the card. Celtics vs Nuggets tips off at 10 p.m. ET on TNT. The latest Celtics vs Nuggets odds have the Nuggets as slight 1-point favorites (-1), with the total set at over/under 221 points.

While there's no doubt the buildup for this game will surround this being a potential NBA Finals preview, I'm much more interested in the details behind how two exceptional teams enter this contest off disappointing losses.

Boston somehow blew a 22-point lead in the fourth quarter and ended up losing to Cleveland by a score of 105-104. The loss snapped Boston's 11-game winning streak. As for the Nuggets, they had to rally from a 22-point deficit against the Suns only to lose 117-107 in overtime.

There's quite a bit of symmetry at play here, with one team blowing a 22-point lead and the other trailing by the same margin before each would eventually come up short.

Perhaps both teams got caught looking ahead with one eye on their next opponent. Nonetheless, this handicap is all about picking the team better situated to bounce back, and there's only one that clearly stands out in this matchup.

Let's get to our Celtics vs Nuggets picks and Celtics vs Nuggets prediction.

Pick: Celtics +1 (-110)


Celtics vs Nuggets Prediction

Pick: Celtics +1 (-110)

Celtics Betting Outlook

The fact that Boston could lose to a Cleveland team without its best player, Donovan Mitchell, is why we love sports. Who could've seen that coming with the Celtics laying as much as 8.5 points on the road?

But because these things can happen in sports, you're not doing yourself any favors by overreacting. Instead, the best strategy is to simply take a measured approach and assess what went wrong to cause such a meltdown.

If you're a Celtics fan, you must be somewhat pleased with Jaylen Brown's attitude following the loss.

"Whether everybody wants to throw it away or not, we've got to look at the film and address some stuff, because that matters," Brown said to reporters. "Your habits are everything. Your mentality is everything. And every game [matters], you can't waste possessions. You can't waste time out there on the floor."

I suspect that after some years of failing to win an NBA title, the Celtics are trying to do their best to avoid any doubt from creeping into their heads. They know they're a good team, but can they finish the job?

The Celtics have done a tremendous job of avoiding losing streaks this season. You'd have to go back to Nov. 8 to find the last time Boston lost back-to-back games.


Nuggets Betting Outlook

The Nuggets are a fascinating team to analyze because their style of play doesn't necessarily conform to the modern era. Denver has a more methodical approach, as it prefers to limit possessions and slow the game down.

The Nuggets also attempt a fair amount of mid-range shots per NBA.com, ranking third with 12.6 per game. This type of shot selection is generally frowned upon by the analytics community, which places a greater value on shots at the rim or on the perimeter.

And while TeamRankings does have Denver slotted sixth (53.1 per game) in the points in the paint category, the Nuggets often have to overcome the opposition's perimeter shooting.

Denver ranks 27th in 3-point field goals (11.5), while the Celtics average a league-high 16.3 per game. Thus, the Nuggets have a disadvantage from a scoring perspective.

To swing things in their favor, Denver plays elite defense while also guarding the perimeter. The Nuggets rank second in opponent 3-point attempts (31.3) and third in opponent 3-point field goals (11.4).

By defending the perimeter and limiting the possessions, the Nuggets ensure the tempo favors their style of play.


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Celtics vs. Nuggets Picks, Odds

Thursday, March 7
10 p.m.
TNT
Celtics Odds
SpreadOver/UnderMoneyline
+1
-110
221.5
-110 / -110
-105
Nuggets Odds
SpreadOver/UnderMoneyline
-1
-110
221.5
-110 / -110
-115
Odds via DraftKings . Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

With five weeks remaining in the regular season, playoff teams like the Nuggets are already sizing up their potential opponents in the first round. One of the more interesting things I've found is that Denver seems somewhat split on the importance of entering the playoffs as a No. 1 seed.

For example Nuggets shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope recently said the team wants the top seed after a 117-96 home victory over the Kings.

"For us, it's crunch time. We want to be the number one seed, and we don't want any of these games to just slip by us," said Caldwell-Pope. "We came in at the All-Star break and everybody had the same mentality, the same goal in mind: get back to that number one spot and then try to go back-to-back."

But then, Nikola Jokic has also been quoted as saying that nobody wants the No. 1 seed if it means having to play the Lakers or Warriors in the first round.

Nuggets head coach Mike Malone has also said the top seed isn't even a priority for his team as he prefers to focus on keeping his players healthy.

While it's fun to have some back-and-forth banter about finishing No. 1, the fact that the Nuggets aren't entirely on the same page is a bit concerning. Thus, when you look at this matchup against Boston, it just feels more important for the Celtics as they need to find out for themselves whether they're good enough.

We know the Nuggets are. They're the defending champions.

Boston is playing every game like they have something to prove. Thursday offers another challenge with the Nuggets and I can't see the Celtics letting this opportunity slip away.

I'm taking the points with Boston as a short road underdog.

Pick: Celtics +1 (-110)

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