Boston Yawn: Hawks, Celtics Going ‘Under’ At The Garden

Friday, March 15, 2019 6:26 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 15, 2019 6:26 PM UTC

The Atlanta Hawks visit the Boston Celtics this Saturday afternoon, making the ‘under’ the best value on the NBA odds board.

Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through Mar. 14: 19-17-1 ATS, 0-4 ML (minus-9.35 units), 29-12 Totals

Atlanta (24-45 SU, 34-35 ATS) at Boston (42-27 SU, 34-34-1 ATS)

Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET

Free NBA Pick: Under

Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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If you were going to choose one NBA game to go ‘under’ the total, you probably wouldn’t choose the Atlanta Hawks (Over 39-30) taking on the Boston Celtics (Over 38-31). But Saturday’s game at the Garden is special: It’s a very early start. And the total has opened at 228.5 points on the NBA odds board. Of course we’re going to recommend the ‘under’ here. We’d be silly not to.

Time Shift

You could try putting the Celtics in your NBA picks instead. They’re 11.5-point home faves, and FiveThirtyEight project Boston at –12.5, so there might be a smidge of value. But it’s not the old-school gap of two points we’re looking for, and the C’s are 5-6 SU and 4-6-1 ATS since the All-Star break, so we’ll pass.

We are going to recommend just a small bet, however. The Hawks are normally a solid ‘over’ pick, and we got paid last Sunday when they beat the New Orleans Pelicans 128-116 (Over 238). The ‘over’ is now 6-2 over Atlanta’s past eight games, but they’re also on a 5-1 ATS streak, so again, we’ll give the spread a pass and lean on the “afternoon game” angle for our potential profit margin.

We’ve also got a back-to-back situation working for us. Atlanta’s next game is Sunday in Orlando, so there’s a non-zero chance they’ll give some of their key players a little extra rest on Saturday. And we don’t have to worry about Jeremy Lin (plus-0.3 OBPM, minus-2.4 DBPM) anymore, now that he’s a member of the Toronto Raptors. Jaylen Adams (minus-1.6 OBPM, minus-2.2 DBPM) is getting those back-up minutes at point guard. Splendid.

Turning Green

Meanwhile, it appears there’s some kind of flu bug going around Beantown. At least three Celtics have been infected thus far:

Marcus Smart (plus-0.7 OBPM, plus-1.4 DBPM)
Terry Rozier (minus-0.6 OBPM, plus-0.6 DBPM)
Daniel Theis (plus-1.1 OBPM, plus-1.8 DBPM)

Rozier and Theis were both held out of Thursday’s 126-120 win over the Sacramento Kings (+7.5 away, Over 227.5); Smart played, but only scored seven points on 3-of-5 shooting. The C’s have plenty of depth, so they can afford to give any or all of these guys a day off without impacting their bottom line too much.

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Marcus Smart is dealing with an illness.
This was definitely sick.#Celtics

— Raul Martinez (@RaulNBCBoston) March 15, 2019
But how many other Celtics have caught the bug? Kyrie Irving (plus-6.2 OBPM, plus-0.3 DBPM) was already sick in late January, so maybe he won’t be affected this time – or maybe it’s a different bug, who knows. We’re not going to put too much stock in the flu angle, but every bit helps; watch the shoot-around, see who looks like they’re ready to blow chunks, and bet accordingly.

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