Free NBA Picks: Take Visiting Celtics To Cover ATS Against Knicks

Charles Stark

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 12:03 PM GMT

Despite losing the last time they visited New York, it makes sense for Boston to be the small road favorite in this spot. So let's make our sharp NBA pick for tonight's game.

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NBA Pick: Celtics -2.5
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

NBA odds experts have come out making Boston of -2 favorite and the total around 207. For one of my selections I like the Celtics to handle business tonight as they have been playing well the past couple of weeks. Statistically they are the better team and they will play hard from the opening tip until the final buzzer.

 

Boston Celtics
Boston is averaging 104.8 points per game while shooting 43.6% from the field, and allowing 100.7 points per game on 43.2% shooting from the field. On the season they are 26-22-1 overall against the spread, and 14-11 on the road. It seems like they are ahead of the rebuilding mode and already starting to look like the kind of team you don't want to face in the playoffs. Offensively what they lack in percentages they make up for in pace and production. Currently the Celtics rank 24th in the NBA in overall shooting percentage, 23rd in shooting efficiency, and rank 25th only hitting 33.5% from distance. However, they rank fifth averaging 39 field goals made per game and ninth averaging 9.2 three-pointers per game. They also average 24.3 assists per game, an average 53.5 total rebounds per game ranking them fifth and seventh respectively. All this can be attributed to a team that is not only deep but runs a lot of good sets and pushes tempo averaging 89.4 field goal attempts per game which ranks first in the NBA. On the defensive side they have improved a lot from last year and rank in the top 10 in some of the most important categories. Boston ranks sixth in the NBA and opponent shooting efficiency, fourth in both opponent shooting and effective field-goal percentage, and third allowing opponents just 32.3% shooting from distance. They also defend from the inside out really well and only allow opponents 20.2 assists per game which ranks second in the league. Up and down the stat sheet Boston ranks as a top level team, and it is exactly what I would expect from a Brad Stevens coached team.

 

New York Knicks
New York is averaging 99.4 points per game while shooting 43.9% from the field, and allowing 101.2 points per game on 44.1% shooting from the field. On the season they have been good going 29-21 overall against the spread and 14-11 at home. Recently they faced a really tough stretch of games losing five of their last six games to some of the best teams in the league in the Clippers, OKC, Toronto, and the Warriors. At 23-27 overall and a winning record at home they have rebounded a lot from last season's debacle, but they are still far removed from their 2012-13 team. Offensively they are still a bit too stagnant, but better than last year as they average 84.3 field-goal attempts per game which ranks right in the middle of the league. For the most part they rank in the middle or towards the bottom in most of their offensive statistics for example ranking 22nd and 25th in shooting efficiency, and effective field-goal percentage respectively. Defensively is where they're getting it done this season but even on this side of the ball I don't believe they are as good as the Celtics. Still, they have some nice statistics allowing opponents to shoot just 47.6% on their two-point shots, and 33.8% from distance ranking them 10th and eighth respectively. They also defend the perimeter quite well and have been good in limiting assists allowing opponents just 20.4 per game which ranks them fifth in the NBA.

These teams know each other pretty well but I like Boston's momentum despite the recent collapse in Orlando. I expect them to bounce back from that tonight and I recommend for one of your NBA picks to back the Celtics minus the small number. New York might be the more desperate team to pick up a win, but Boston is the better one.