NBA fans will be treated to their second Game 7 of the 2017 postseason when the Boston Celtics host the Washington Wizards Monday night (8 p.m. ET). Recent playoff history shows away teams perform poorly in season-saving finales. Check it out.
Wizards point guard John Wall drained a 26-foot 3-pointer with 3.5 seconds to play to force Game 7 versus the Celtics in a 92-91 win Friday night. The winner advances to the Eastern Conference Finals to take on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was a dagger to the heart of Boston fans after witnessing their beloved team in all-black attire to the stadium. The troll effort proved motivation for Wall and crew. “Don’t come to my city, wearing all black, talking about it’s a funeral,” the four-time All-Star declared to reporters following the victory.
Monday night’s Wiz-Celtics finale is the second series to go the distance this postseason. The Utah Jazz topped the L.A. Clippers 4-3 in a back-and-forth first round matchup earlier. NBA Fans have been treated to a Game 7 at least twice in all but three of the last 15 playoffs. Can the Wiz carry over momentum from their Game 6 victory? If history is to judge, probably not.
Since 2002, road teams coming off a season-saving win are just 6-20 SU and 10-16 ATS in Game 7. The average line is -5.9; the home team wins by 9.9 points per game. Not once has the visiting team been favored in this spot. Oddsmakers opened Boston 4-point chalk on Friday night. Early adjustments moved the line a half point to -4.5.
The number is close enough for the Wizards to buck the trend, though. If there is any pushback in the market, consider Washington live. Four of the Game 7 underdog wins have come in six contests where the favorite tipped off at a short-priced of 4 points or less.
The Celtics earned the best regular-season record in the Eastern Conference, which has proven invaluable in this spot. In the last 15 years, top seeds are 13-3 SU and 10-6 ATS in Game 7. Versus three seeds or higher, they are 11-1 SU and 8-4 ATS. Washington is ranked fourth. In 2006, the Mavericks upended the Spurs in overtime 119-111 as a 4-point pup. It is the shortest price tilt in this scenario, and it was a 1-4 matchup as well. The current Wizards-Celtics odds would rank second lowest. Déjà vu anyone?
Head to head, the Wiz will have to perform above expectations. Since 2008, including the playoffs, they are 3-17 SU and 6-14 ATS at Boston. Wall and company have lost and failed to cover the spread in their last eight trips. The defense has allowed the Celtics to score above their projected team total in 17 of the 20 contests, including the last 12 matchups. Woof. Our best MLB pick is Boston going over the team total in a narrow victory.