Celtics vs. Clippers Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Los Angeles in Good Spot at Home Against Boston
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Reggie Jackson and Kawhi Leonard.
- The Los Angeles Clippers host the Boston Celtics on Friday night in a nationally televised game on ESPN.
- Boston will be without key players Payton Pritchard and Marcus Smart, making them more vulnerable defensively.
- The Clippers' hot midrange shooting should make the difference in a Los Angeles win.
Celtics vs. Clippers Odds
|Moneyline||+170 / -200|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Thursday evening and via BetMGM.|
The Celtics and Clippers head to the Staples Center for a prime time matchup on ESPN. The Clippers have won four of their last five games while the Celtics have slipped a bit and have just two wins in their last five games.
This matchup features two of the most exciting rosters in the league, the Clippers’ duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and the Celtics’ trio of Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
The Celtics will have to navigate this matchup without Payton Pritchard and one of the league’s premier wing defenders, Marcus Smart, due to a calf injury. Interestingly enough, Smart has actually been a negative on both sides of the ball this year (-8.7 points per 100 possessions). Despite this, these two injuries impact the Celtics’ depth significantly around the perimeter.
The Celtics have struggled against top teams this year. When playing teams in the top-10 in point differential they are 1-4 and -8.7 points per 100 possessions. They’ve also failed to cover the spread by an average of 5.5 points, per Cleaning the Glass.
One of Boston’s biggest issues in those games has been shot selection, and it’s noticeable in their eFG% and expected eFG%, which rank 20th and 28th, respectively. They’ve taken far too many midrange shots, and are only shooting 37.4% from those distances. It’s an incredible inefficient shot and yet they continue to rely on it.
On the defensive side of the ball, there may be some regression coming their way. Against top-10 teams, the Celtics have done a great job all year at limiting three-point attempts, particularly the corner 3, while forcing more midrange shots. The problem this year has been even though they limit those attempt, they’re still allowing opponents to shoot slightly above league average from behind the arc, and they’re getting decimated on midrange shots. Opponents shoot 48.3% on midrange shots (third worst in the league), per Cleaning the Glass.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers will be at nearly full strength for this matchup, but they expect to be without Patrick Beverly who is dealing with a knee injury.
The Clippers thrive off jump shots. This makes sense considering their two best players, Leonard and George, are both in the midst of incredible shooting performances, as they each are members of the 50/40/90 Club so far this season. So while they take “bad shots” from a statistical perspective, when you have elite shooters, it’s less problematic.
The Clippers are the best three-point shooting team in the league (42.9%) and this helps to offset their propensity to take midrange jumpers (which they still make above the league average). They’re incredibly difficult to cover from beyond the arc because they have exceptional ball movement, and don’t turn the ball over. This allows them to find the best shot available, and they have seven players who shoot above 40% from beyond the arc. Likewise they have six players who shoot better than 38% from three-point range and play at least 15 minutes per game. To put this in perspective, the league average on three-pointers is 37.2%.
The Clippers match up very well against the Celtics. They are an elite jump-shooting team playing against a Boston team that has struggled against top talent. While Boston normally could rely on allowing the midrange shots to a lesser-shooting team, the Clippers are not that, and they should take advantage of and put up points against this Celtics defense.
The Celtics have been excellent this year, but they’ve done the majority of their damage against teams outside of the top-10 in point differential. Normally, it’s profitable to back Brad Stevens as a road dog; however, this season he is just 3-3 ATS and 0-3 in the last three games. On the flip side, the Clippers are 3-0 ATS this season as home favorites when their opponent is above .500, per BetLabs. This Clippers team is elite, and I’m laying the points.
Pick: Clippers -4.5 (BetMGM)