Celtics Win, But OKC Covers The Spread

Saturday, February 2, 2019 1:35 PM UTC

Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 1:35 PM UTC

The NBA will utilize part of the time in the run-up to the Super Bowl with a quality conflict between the Thunder and the Celtics on ABC. Here are points of interest.

Doug's NBA Picks: 9-7-1

Oklahoma City (33-18 SU, 29-22 ATS) at Boston (33-19 SU, 26-25-1 ATS)Sunday, 2:05 p.m. (ABC)Free NBA Pick: Thunder ATSBest Line Offered: Sports Betting

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Oklahoma City wraps up their three-game road trip and is feeling good about themselves these days. After losing five of six in the early part of January (matching ATS record), the Thunder have rebounded by winning seven straight (6-1 ATS).

Boston also lost their way in the middle of January, failing to win and cover in three away contests. But thanks to improved play and a home-friendly schedule (seven of late nine), the Celtics have won eight of nine (4-4-1 ATS).

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7 straight W’s. Let’s go to Boston. pic.twitter.com/CVgiVxLXWd

— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) February 2, 2019
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My various power ratings to create NBA odds show Boston should be a four to five-point favorite.

Thunder Thoughts

This might be Russell Westbrook's team, but Paul George is now the one in charge of Oklahoma City. George is back to playing like the All-Star he was in Indiana and he's recently been all but unstoppable driving to the basket, pulling up for jumpers or draining shots behind the arc.

Westbrook's shooting woes continue to be a thing, yet his game to game effort is never questioned. Dennis Schroder is playing with great confidence and is instant offense off the bench for coach Billy Donovan.

At this time, we do not know the exact status of shooting guard Terrance Ferguson (back spasms), however, OKC has overcome their recent pine time thanks to Jermani Grant and Nerlens Noel contributions on both ends of the floor.

Celtics' Salutations

When Boston fell to Orlando on Jan. 12th, Kyrie Irving called out his younger talented teammates and expressed his frustration publicly about them not playing like a team wanting to win a championship. He later said his methods were not the best, yet, it has lit a fire under Terry Rozier and Jayson Tatum in particular.

With Irving in and out of the lineup recently, Rozier and Tatum are to the level of how they performed in the NBA Playoffs last spring. Both have admitted they sometimes just watch Irving when he has the ball and are realizing they need to stay in the flow of the game and let Kyrie get them the ball for open shots.

During this stretch of strong play, the Celtics shot selection has been much better and their offensive efficiency has improved, which has translated to the defensive end as well.

The Outcome

For NBA picks, both teams are playing exceptional basketball. In situations like this, when the game appears highly competitive, it is usually best to take the points and that is what we will do here.

While we do have to pump the breaks a little with Boston 15-5 ATS at home against teams with a winning road record, we do note the Thunder have put up the better ATS record of late and the underdog is 6-2-1 ATS in these teams last nine matchups. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the road club is 8-1-1 ATS. Take Oklahoma City to cover the spread.

Prediction: Celtics 109, Thunder 108
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