After getting beat down last night in Chicago, the Celtics have to come home tonight for their date with Anthony Davis and the Pelicans.
Both of these teams create some bad mismatches for one another, and while normally that would create a larger scoring environment, the mismatches come mostly on defense. Anthony Davis will shut down any post game the Celtics attempt tonight, and even though he is pretty good, Avery Bradley will surely out-defend Jrue Holiday tonight.
Neither one of these teams incorporate the three pointer much either, which makes me consider the total set by sportsbooks. They are both in the bottom quarter of the NBA in three pointers made per game, and I doubt that changes much. Besides Ryan Anderson, the Pelicans shoot almost no threes, and the Celtics are not only in the bottom quarter in three pointers made, but their percentage is there as well.
Without the three ball, there won’t be many huge scoring runs from either team, and even with how bad the Pelicans are on defense on the road, the tired Celtics shouldn’t be able to do much damage on offense. Jeff Green will likely be called upon to slow down either Anderson or Eric Gordon, and despite playing last night, because the game was a blowout for most of the time, the starters did not log big minutes. Besides Jordan Crawford who played 38 minutes, no Celtic player had over 31 minutes last night in Chicago. Crawford will likely be called upon to log big minutes tonight, as will Green.
With the Boston starters somewhat rested, I think their 4th ranked defense will do the trick tonight against the dangerous Pelicans who are favored in the NBA odds. They will keep the score low and the game slow, and the under should be the play. 200 points is just too many for a game in Boston.
The Sharp Pick
Boston has been on a nice under streak recently. Including last night, the under has cashed in six of the last nine games for Boston overall, and it has also cashed in eight of the last nine times these two teams have played. Granted, they don’t play one another often, however if you look back on the past games played between these two, the final scores were almost always still in the 80s for at least on team. I could see a long term trend like that continuing in Boston tonight.
With the Celtics tired coming off of the back to back travel night, the Pelicans will likely be able to improve on their 107 points per game given up on the road average. I doubt Boston is able to go nuts offensively, considering over their last five games the Celtics are shooting only 42% from the floor, and averaging just under 91 points per game.
These two teams matchup pretty well with one another, and despite the Pelicans’ ability to get hot quickly, I don’t see it tonight against the Celtics. Even though they are probably tired, they should still play solid defense tonight. We'll put our money on the Under for our NBA pick in this non-conference affair.
My Pick: UNDER 200