Free NBA Picks: Bet Trail Blazers vs. Celtics To Go 'Under' 218

Jason Lake

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 2:44 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2016 2:44 PM UTC

After cruising to victory in New York, the Portland Trail Blazers are off to Boston to play the Celtics on Wednesday. The NBA odds are in Boston's corner this time.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of March 1: 26-30-1 ATS, 5-1-1 Total


Press button, receive dollars. The Portland Trail Blazers paid off handsomely for us Tuesday night, beating the New York Knicks 104-85 as 4.5-point road faves. Cash money, baby. Things went pretty much according to plan; Damian Lillard scored 30 points again, and Carmelo Anthony was a minus-9 for New York despite putting up 23 points and 10 rebounds. Ho-hum.

Now the Blazers are off to the “other” Garden to face the Boston Celtics Wednesday night (7:30 p.m. ET). This should be a much tougher test for our heroes. The Celtics were idle Tuesday, and they've only lost four games since January 20. Boston is a 5.5-point chalk on our NBA odds board as we go to press, with a sky-high total of 219 points.


This will be the fourth game in five days for the Blazers (33-28 SU, 35-26 ATS), and not too many teams have been able to beat the Celtics (36-25 SU, 34-26-1 ATS) lately, so this might be a good opportunity to switch sides and take the Eastern option. Let's consult the hoop nerds first: FiveThirtyEight is in agreement with the books at Boston –5.5, while Basketball-Reference has the C's (+3.54 SRS) roughly 2.5 points better than Portland (+0.95 SRS) on the Simple Rating System, for a kayfabe spread of Boston –6.

It's not like the Blazers are dead tired, though. They built enough of a lead against the Knicks to keep anyone from playing more than 33 minutes Tuesday night, going 10-deep into their bench throughout the game and bringing in the mop-up crew with three minutes remaining. And as impressive as the Celtics have been, they're still missing center Kelly Olynyk (16.8 PER, +1.7 BPM) with a bruised shoulder for at least another week. Hmmmm.


200 Motels
So how about that total? We're inclined to put the UNDER in our NBA picks, just out of principle. Even in today's NBA, it isn't easy for two teams to score 219 points. The UNDER is 30-24 for the Celtics this year with the total pegged at 200 or higher, and 0-7 when facing lower totals. That's despite operating at the third-fastest pace in the NBA. The reason: Boston ranks fourth in the league in defensive efficiency.

The Blazers have split their 200-plus totals at 23-23, and they're in the middle of the pack in both pace and defensive efficiency, so that neither helps nor harms our cause much. But at least we wouldn't be dealing with two teams who are both killing it ATS right now. Let's go ahead and dial up the UNDER; perhaps Portland's heavy schedule and Boston's defense will work together for us. May the sphere be with you, always.

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NBA Pick: UNDER 218
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


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