Suns vs Celtics Prediction, Picks Tonight | Saturday, March 9

Suns vs Celtics Prediction, Picks Tonight | Saturday, March 9 article feature image
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Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Durant as we preview the Boston Celtics vs the Phoenix Suns with our Suns vs Celtics prediction and picks tonight.

Phoenix Suns vs Boston Celtics Prediction, Picks Tonight

Saturday, Mar 9
8:30pm ET
ABC
Under 226.5

Suns vs Celtics point spread: Celtics -5.5
Suns vs Celtics total: Over/under 226.5
Suns vs Celtics moneyline: Celtics -215 | Suns +180
Suns vs Celtics Prediction, Pick: Under 226.5 points

Here's everything you need to know about Suns vs Celtics on Saturday, March 9 — our expert prediction and betting picks for this NBA on ABC primetime game.

The Phoenix Suns play host to one of the titans of the Eastern Conference in the Boston Celtics tonight, as Suns vs Celtics tips off at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC. The latest Suns vs Celtics odds have Boston as 5.5-point favorites (-5.5) on the road against Phoenix, with the total set at over/under 226.5 points at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Let's get to our Suns vs Celtics picks and Celtics vs Suns prediction for this primetime game.


Suns vs Celtics Prediction, Odds

Saturday, Mar 9
8:30pm ET
ABC
Celtics Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-5.5
-108
226.5
-110o / -110u
-215
Suns Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+5.5
-112
226.5
-110o / -110u
+180
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Pick: Under 226.5 points

Is it time to panic in Beantown? The Celtics are still searching for their first win on this four-game road trip after suffering back-to-back losses for only the second time this season.

Boston is back in action on Saturday night when it visits the Suns.

Phoenix is currently the sixth seed in the Western Conference, but it's only a half-game ahead of the seventh-seeded Kings. This is one season where teams would desperately want to avoid the play-in tournament, given the level of competition in the West. After all, the top 10 teams in the conference are four games over .500 or better.

Nonetheless, the Suns have been one of the better teams in the league after a 14-15 start. Since then, Phoenix has gone 23-11, and only the Celtics, Cavaliers and Thunder have posted more wins than the Suns during that stretch.

Although it took the Suns a little while to establish their identity, we're starting to see it take fold on the defensive end of the court. And if the Suns were paying attention to Boston's last game, the Nuggets have already provided the blueprint for slowing down this potent Celtics' offense.

Suns Betting Outlook

Although the standings suggest the Suns' turnaround began after they dropped to 14-15, Kevin Durant points to their 138-111 loss to the Clippers on Jan. 8, when things started to change for the team defensively.

Durant seemed to send his teammates a message when asked whether each individual could do more to help the team as a whole.

"Keep grinding…” said Durant. “We've got to come out there with more of a sense of urgency knowing that, alright, we just got to be better.”

Since the loss, the Suns have the fourth-best opponent effective field goal percentage (eFG%) at 53%. The three teams (Celtics, Cavaliers and Timberwolves) ahead of the Suns are no worse than the second seed in their respective conferences.

Durant has led by example, whether playing as the team's rim protector or using his length to guard smaller ball handlers. With Durant fully committed defensively despite being the team's best offensive player, it's much easier for everyone else to follow suit.

I looked at the Suns' last nine games defensively and their efficiency (109.1) is five points better than their season average (114.1). Interestingly, on the offensive end of the court, the Suns have a 111.3 rating, roughly six points below their season mark.

Those numbers could prove very telling regarding the total in this matchup.

Celtics Betting Outlook

Can too much success be a bad thing for Boston? The Celtics haven't had much adversity to deal with this season, as this team can generally coast by on its talent alone. And when you win as many games as the Celtics while doing so convincingly, it becomes easier to paper over the cracks.

Although the Celtics are saying all the right things after their loss to Denver, I'm not entirely sure we'll see any change to their style of play.

Boston exploits the 3-point shot more than any other team in the league. Per NBA.com, it ranks first in attempts (42.2 per game) and made field goals (16.3 per game).

But what happens when those perimeter shots aren't falling? Well, if you've watched the Celtics over the last few seasons, you'll know that they'll just continue to jack up more shots. This is who the Celtics are, as their style of play was crafted inside their boardroom meetings with the analytics department.

Despite shooting only 30% from beyond the arc against Denver, the Celtics still attempted 82 3-pointers over the two meetings.

When you think of teams with balance on offense, you often hear of them having an inside-outside game. Based on that description, you might not include the Celtics in that category, considering they're slotted 25th (47 per game) in TeamRankings' points in the paint.

While I know that the Celtics' love affair with the 3-point shot is closer aligned to the modern game, it would be nice if they were flexible enough to try a different strategy when struggling from the perimeter.


Suns vs Celtics Picks, Odds

Saturday, Mar 9
8:30pm ET
ABC
Celtics Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-5.5
-108
226.5
-110o / -110u
-215
Suns Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+5.5
-112
226.5
-110o / -110u
+180
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Suns are the fifth-most profitable team for under-bettors with a 36-27 (57.1%) record, yet they have the 12th-highest average total per KillerSports.com.

Of the 11 teams with a higher average total than the Suns, nine have at least a 50% mark to the over.

As a result, the totals in these Suns' games are somewhat inflated. And if we revisit the Suns' last nine games, they rank sixth in opponent 3-point percentage (34.7%).

Phoenix will need to guard the 3-point line against a Celtics team that will be relentless from the perimeter.

I think this game will be more tightly contested than the experts believe, as my model projects a total closer to 224.5 points. With the market currently offering 226.5, the under is worthy of consideration in this spot.

Pick: Under 226.5 points

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Nick Sterling
May 21, 2024 UTC