Celtics Heavily Undermanned vs. Thunder

celtics thunder

Jason Lake

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 11:18 AM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2018 11:18 AM UTC

Injuries have defined the Boston Celtics this season, but they’ll have trouble beating the NBA odds and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday will all these missing persons.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Boston CelticsNBA Free Pick: UnderBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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It’s been over five months now, and the Boston Celtics (47-23 SU, 42-26-2 ATS) are still the most profitable team on the NBA odds board. They surprised the betting market by taking an early lead in the Eastern Conference despite losing Gordon Hayward after just five minutes of their very first game. And Boston has kept on winning, even as other important players have fallen by the wayside.

They may have finally reached the tipping point. With five players now on the injured list, the Celtics have lost three of their last four games, and they’ve got a challenge coming up Tuesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder (43-29 SU, 31-41 ATS), winners of six straight at 5-1 ATS. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. Eastern on TNT. Who belongs in our NBA picks this time?

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Brad Stevens on Kyrie Irving (out - knee soreness): “I think he’s feeling better and better. He just doesn’t feel 100%. Until then, he’ll remain out.”

— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 18, 2018
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In the Flat Field

Until they post the lines for Tuesday’s matchup, we’ll never know. PG Kyrie Irving (plus-6.3 BPM) was listed as questionable after missing three games with a sore left knee, but we’ve just gotten word at press time that Irving will indeed sit out against the Thunder, so the basketball odds should be up by the time you read this. Also missing for the Celtics: guard Marcus Smart (minus-0.4 BPM), swingman Jaylen Brown (minus-0.2 BPM) and center Daniel Theis (plus-2.7 BPM).

Theis could actually be their biggest problem against the Thunder. Their so-called Big Three of PG Russell Westbrook (plus-8.0 BPM), SG Paul George (plus-2.7 BPM) and PF Carmelo Anthony (minus-3.8 BPM) hasn’t come to fruition, but center Steven Adams (plus-3.5 BPM) has been an absolute beast this year – especially since the end of November. Adams was mostly a non-factor when the Celtics beat Oklahoma City 101-94 on Nov. 3 as 6.5-point road dogs. Don’t expect the same on Tuesday now that he’s getting some of Anthony’s touches on offense.

This is still a flawed Oklahoma City team in many respects, and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens is so good at what he does, his players have exceeded both their market expectation and their plus-3.9 point differential, which is barely ahead of the Thunder at plus-3.3. However the NBA odds shake out, don’t bet the farm on Tuesday’s game – keep it modest, consider the UNDER with so many players missing, and may the sphere be with you.

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