Warriors vs. Celtics NBA Odds & Picks: Back Boston To Stay On Hot Streak (Saturday, April 17)
Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum.
- Boston is one of the hottest teams in the NBA and has won five straight, just in time for a playoff push.
- Golden State has been equally great, winning four in a row, but it hasn't come over the best teams.
- Raheem Palmer explains why he expects the Celtics to keep winning.
Warriors vs. Celtics Odds
|-190 / +160
|8:30 p.m. ET
After a disappointing start to the season, the Boston Celtics are now one of the hottest teams in the league, winning five straight games and seven out of their last eight. They host Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors who have also been hot, winning four straight games as they fight for their playoff lives. Oddsmakers installed the Celtics as 4-point favorites with a total of 228.5. So where's the betting value on this matchup?
Let's find out!
Golden State Warriors
If you had any reservations about the greatness of Stephen Curry due to how good his supporting cast was during his championship years, this season should remove those feelings. Curry is second in points per game, averaging 30.7 points, 5.9 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game.
He has been on an absolute tear over the last nine games averaging 38.2 points on 54.5% shooting. Making his season more impressive is that he doesn't have the shooting around him that he had in previous seasons.
Lineup Spacing percentiles, looking at spacing provided by players around these studs in non-garbage time:
— BBall Index (@The_BBall_Index) April 11, 2021
I found this tweet on lineup spacing percentiles interesting. Out of all the star players in the league this season, Curry had the worst spacing surrounding him. It's not a surprise, as the Warriors are +10.7 points per 100 possessions better offensively with Curry on the floor (114.5) vs. off the floor (103.8). Despite how great Curry has been, this Warriors team is still just 21st in Offensive Rating (110.0) in their non garbage time minutes according to Cleaning the Glass.
One of the most interesting things about the Warriors is how well they've performed without James Wiseman. Since tearing his meniscus, the Warriors are 3-0, winning by an average of 21.6 points. Wiseman is still raw as a rookie, and despite his potential, he was a detriment to this team as the Warriors were 13.9 points per 100 possessions worse with him on the floor. Much of that was on offense where the Warriors were scoring just 103 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor.
The biggest advantage the Warriors have in this matchup is their ability to score at the rim, where they're shooting 65.6%, 12th among NBA teams. They'll be facing a Celtics team which is just 25th in opponent field goal percentage at the rim (65.9%), so it's possible we could see the Warriors' recent scoring surge continue, as they've scored 125, 116, 147 and 119 in the last four games.
Where the Warriors have thrived this season is on the defensive end of the floor where they're 10th in Defensive Rating, holding teams to 111.4 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes.
If they could get more from everyone else outside of Curry on offense, they'll be a dangerous team in the play-in game. However without a true number two, this team's ceiling isn't very high against the elite teams in this league. The Warriors have made their living beating up on bad teams as they're just 11-22 against teams above .500 and 17-6 against teams below .500. Thus it's no surprise they're underdogs tonight against the Celtics.
The Celtics have won five-straight games, seven of their last eight and are 9-3 in their last 12 games. It appears that after a rocky start to the season this team is finally starting to turn the corner.
They've beaten quality teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers (without Anthony Davis and LeBron James). However, it was Sunday's comeback victory against the Denver Nuggets in which they pulled off a 31-3 run that was most impressive as it showed that this team is regaining the fight and resiliency of past Celtics teams. Nonetheless, the Celtics are now fifth in the Eastern Conference playoff picture and out of the play-in picture.
The biggest reason for their recent success is Jayson Tatum appears to have bounced back from his bout with COVID. During his recent 12-game stretch, he's averaging 28.3 points on 49.8% shooting along with 3.9 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game.
He went off for 53 points in the Celtics' 145-136 overtime victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. He then followed that up by scoring 28 against the Denver Nuggets and 32 against the Portland Trailblazers, including a dagger three pointer to ice the game with eight seconds left in regulation.
Jaylen Brown has also shown why he's a candidate for the league's Most Improved Player Award as he's averaging 24.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists and comes off a game against the Lakers in which he scored 40 points on 17-of-20 (85%) from the field.
Robert Williams has also embraced his role as the starting center, and this Celtics defense, which was once struggling, has now found it's footing. The Celtics were allowing 112.5 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes this season, but in the previous 12 games they've given up just 107.5 points per 100 possessions.
It's clear that this defense has improved going from Daniel Theis to Williams . With this team's shotmakers in Tatum, Brown and Kemba Walker, along with Marcus Smart who may be the heart and soul of this team, the Celtics are a tough out for anyone right now.
This is a battle between two teams who are playing lights out in the Celtics and the Warriors. The biggest difference between these teams is that the Celtics have more shotmakers in Tatum, Brown and Walker, while the Warriors are heavily reliant on Curry.
I hate to make things that simple, but sometimes that's what it comes down to. The Warriors are just 21st in Offensive Rating, scoring 110 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes while the Celtics are 11th in Offensive Rating, scoring 114.9 points per 100 possessions.
Outside of the Nuggets, the Warriors defeated the Rockets, Thunder, Cavaliers and Bucks without Giannis Antetokounmpo in a game in which the Warriors needed to overcome a double-digit deficit. That isn't the strongest resume of teams, and this will be a step up in class from what they've dealt with recently. My model makes this game Celtics -4, so this spread is dead on, but I think they have some value based on how well they've played recently.
Pick: Boston Celtics -4 (-110)