The NBA Odds have the Celtics as +4 ½ home underdogs here, with a total of 199 ½. The Celtics played last night, which could limit them in many ways. However the Knicks are not without concerns of their own.
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Back to back jack
With this being the C’s second game in two nights, Rajon Rondo will likely be sitting out since he has yet to be cleared to play in consecutive games. Some may think this kills the Celtics, and against certain teams it would, but this is the Knicks we’re talking about. Outside of Carmelo Anthony, this team does not have consistent scoring, and the Celtics actually play pretty well at home.
Jerryd Bayless fills in very well for Rondo when he is out, and even though their offense doesn’t run as smoothly, they still don’t lose as much as you’d think with Rondo out. Bayless is a much greater scoring threat, and with him running the point tonight, the Celtics should still keep things within reach tonight against the Knicks.
Tyson Chandler is also in question after he missed the Knicks’ last game for personal reasons. If Chandler sits again, it would be a big boost to the Celtics, who have little in the lines of a center. Even with the C’s coming off a game last night, as long as they don’t let anyone else on the Knicks go off, they should keep things close.
The Sharp Pick
Boston has been very good on the second night of a back to back this season, and one of the reasons for it has been the sportsbooks undervaluing them without Rondo. Boston is 11-5 ATS with no rest, and I think they should continue that trend tonight against New York.
The Celtics have covered two of their three meetings against the Knicks this season, and surprisingly, Boston covered both of the games they played before Rondo’s return to the lineup. Both of those games the C’s covered and won SU.
One of the other reasons why I like Boston here is their record at home against their division. This season the C’s give up only about 92 points per game to divisional opponents when playing in the Garden, and the Knicks have been no different. In their first two meetings with the Celtics, the Knicks scored 73 and 86 points respectfully.
Even though the Celtics’ defense is far from where it was back in December, at home they have the ability to slow down the Knicks. Jeff Green is a very good defender, and against Anthony this season, Green has done a pretty good job. Even though they haven’t faced one another in over six weeks, Anthony has barely averaged over 40% shooting against the Celtics this season. If that trend holds true tonight, then the Celtics are once again a solid bet to cover against the Knicks. Even though Boston is only 7-10-1 ATS as home underdogs this season, they should keep this one close despite probably being without Rondo.
My Pick: Celtics +4 ½