Tuesday NBA Betting Odds, Expert Picks & Predictions: Our Best Bets for Celtics vs. 76ers, Cavaliers vs. Hawks, More (Feb. 15)
David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Darius Garland #10 of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
- The NBA Tuesday slate is sneakily loaded with some key games as we near All-Star festivities.
- Our crew of NBA bettors is targeting three games: Celtics vs. 76ers, Cavaliers vs. Hawks and Mavericks vs. Heat.
- Read on for their expert analysis and picks for tonight's matchups below.
The NBA All-Star break is fast approaching and several teams are looking to make their run as the season starts to hit another gear. We’ve got three key matchups on the slate tonight featuring teams that fit that mold: Celtics vs. 76ers, Mavericks vs. Heat and Cavaliers vs. Hawks.
Our crew of NBA analysts break down those matchups and give their favorite bets for Tuesday night.
NBA Odds & Picks
Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Brandon Anderson: Unfortunately, we will not get to see James Harden’s Philadelphia debut tonight. Harden will be out through the All-Star break, and that’s a bummer since we could have seen this rivalry play out through a new lens, with Boston riding high on a season-best eight-game winning streak.
The upside for us is that Harden’s prolonged absence provides value for us as bettors. Remember, Philadelphia won’t have Harden, but it also won’t have the guys it traded for him. Ben Simmons wasn’t playing anyway, but Seth Curry has arguably been the second-most important player on this team this season. He’s gone, and not yet replaced by Harden, and Andre Drummond is gone too.
The Celtics are playing outstanding basketball right now. They have the best defense in the league over the past month and are now up to second in season-long Defensive Rating, per Basketball Reference. The arrival of Derrick White in place of Dennis Schroder will only strengthen that defense further, so too Daniel Theis in for Enes Freedom. At the heart of that defense are Robert Williams and Al Horford defending the paint, and Horford in particular has been terrific against Joel Embiid in the past.
Without Harden, the Sixers are all about Embiid. If the Celtics can slow him down, even a little, Boston has the far better team and depth to do the rest of the job. I’ll trust Boston’s defense and balanced lineup rather than the one-man Embiid show with Harden not yet ready. I’ll play the Celtics to -3.
Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Kenny Ducey: It’s very hard to score on the Celtics, who have maintained the league’s best defense over the past month or so and have allowed just 95.7 points per 100 possessions over the past week — a league-low. It’s been nearly as difficult to get buckets against the 76ers, who have the third-best defense in the NBA in the past week.
While it’s never as easy as calling a matchup between two good defenses a slam-dunk under, especially when the total has adjusted to reflect the matchup, I do believe this one will ultimately come in lower than the implied total.
Six of the 76ers’ past nine games have cashed the under, while the under has gone 11-3 in Boston’s past 14 contests. On top of the superb defenses, Philly has slowed the pace of games to a halt over the past two weeks, ranking third-lowest in Pace.
While these teams hit the over last time they met — which was set at 207.5 — the pace of that game was still 98.00 and the under missed by just 2.5 points. These two cashed an under earlier in the season, too, where Philly posted a sparkling 102 Defensive Rating.
This Sixers offense has come back to earth just a little bit over the past few games after overhauling some of its personnel, but the defense has remained strong. I think the conditions here will be adverse for scoring.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Miami Heat
Roberto Arguello: After playing seven of their past eight games at home, the Mavericks finally hit the road on Tuesday in Miami.
They are getting incredible play from Luka Doncic after putting up Wilt-like numbers in his last two games, and Brunson has been playing consistently as well. However, the rest of the roster — especially if the Reggie Bullock can’t play — leaves some unanswered about who will pick up the scoring load without Tim Hardaway Jr. available and Kristaps Porzingis recently traded.
However, the Mavericks have continued to play elite defense as they rank second in the league in Defensive Rating (105.2) in the new year.
The Heat have a handful of capable (at least as capable as possible) defenders to throw at Doncic, and having Jimmy Butler lurking off-ball would be extremely valuable. If Butler (questionable) plays, expect the deeper Heat team to prevail despite Tyler Herro’s absence, and take Miami to win as 3.5-point favorites with value down to -5 for one unit.
However, if Butler is out, my level of confidence drops significantly on Miami because the Heat will be without two of their main offensive threats against one of the best defenses in the NBA. If Butler can’t go, put a half unit on the under at 209.5 at BetMGM with value down to 206.5.
Alternatively, if you want to be bold with Butler out, wait to bet the game live and take the Heat as live underdogs on the moneyline for a half unit.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Atlanta Hawks
Joe Dellera: The Cavaliers head to Atlanta to take on Trae Young and the Hawks. While Atlanta has made a bit of a run as of late to the 10th spot in the East, it has been because of their offense and certainly not their defense.
Atlanta’s defense is struggling right now. How bad? They have the 27th ranked Adjusted Defensive Rating (113.8) and are only ahead of three inept defensive teams: Trail Blazers, the Kings, and the Rockets.
The Hawks have defended the point guard position relatively well but they’ve still been roasted by some of the league’s top guards, including Dejounte Murray (32), Jalen Brunson (22), Fred VanVleet (26) over the last two weeks. The last time these teams played was back in October and Darius Garland missed that game, but Ricky Rubio dropped 23 points and lead the Cavaliers in scoring.
Garland is in this class of point guard, and he should be able to excel in this spot. Garland’s points prop is set at 19.5 and he’s cleared that number in 8 of his last 10 games; if you can only get 20.5 that’s okay considering he’s cleared that in seven of his past 10 as well.
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