They had to stay late at the office, but the Boston Celtics beat the NBA odds Tuesday night. Did they leave enough mojo for Thursday’s Game 3 with the Washington Wizards?
Every once in a while, Seven-Deuce cracks pocket Aces. We recommended the Boston Celtics for Wednesday’s NBA picks; they were hosting the Washington Wizards (+5.5) in Game 2 of their second-round series, and it looked like Markieff Morris was in trouble after spraining his ankle in Game 1. Go figure, Morris suited up, played hard, and the Wizards went up big early – only to lose 129-119 in overtime.
It might take a while to sort out all the injuries from Game 2. This series, as expected, has turned into a hockey game, and there are going to be a lot of sore players on the court Thursday night (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN) when this series shifts to Washington for Game 3. Interestingly, the Wizards have opened as 5-point favorites on the NBA odds board, so maybe we should stick with Boston after all. Hmmm.
It does look like the books are already one step ahead of the market. Our friendly friends at FiveThirtyEight have this game pegged at Washington –1.5 using their Elo-based stats. Seems fair enough. During the regular season, Boston had a point differential of plus-2.7, while the Wizards were plus-1.8. If we give Washington 3.5 points for home court advantage, then we’re in the right zip code.
However, Isaiah Thomas notwithstanding, the Celtics haven’t played their best basketball during this postseason. And they’ll go into Thursday’s game with Avery Bradley (–0.5 BPM) having suffered a hip pointer in Game 2. Bradley did return, though, and it looks like everyone else made it through Tuesday’s cage match relatively intact.
Stevens: "I don't know if we figured anything out tonight. We were lucky to win."— Brian Robb (@CelticsHub) May 3, 2017
There’s a compelling argument to be made for getting back on the Wiz Train now that Morris appears healthy-ish. But the betting market has rendered that argument moot. We can’t justify betting on Washington at –5 in this situation. The Celtics will be the ones making adjustments after nearly losing Game 2; taking Amir Johnson (minus-8 in five minutes) out of the equation seems like a no-brainer. So does this pick.