Neither one of these teams are all that trustworthy when it comes down to it, but we do believe we've found a good spot to take advantage of with our NBA picks. Are we backing Utah or Boston?
The Jazz, despite not having all that great of a record, are still reasonably big favorites for this home game against the Celtics, who will be playing on the tailend of a back to back tonight.
The record (16-28) isn't very good, but the Jazz will at least enter tonight's game having won consecutive games, a feat that hasn't come all that often this season. Utah's recent victories came at home over Brooklyn in a rout and on the road in Milwaukee in a very competitive and well-earned win.
Gordon Hayward has been playing lights out basketball recently, as he scored 24 points in each of those two wins. Trey Burke remains on the bench after he was replaced by rookie Dante Exum, while Derrick Favors has returned to join Enes Kanter back in the starting five. Rudy Gobert has shifted back to the second unit but is still getting plenty of run. He's definitely made the most of his game exposure over the last few weeks.
But, there are still some question marks with this Utah team, and we just don't think their talent is being maximized. Alec Burks is out too, and that's a spot that's prove tough to replace.
It's going to be interesting to see how much gas the Celtics have left in the tank tonight. After all, they were involved in a highly competitive, back-and-forth game against the Golden State Warriors. It was a matchup that was played at a frantic pace, so we are a little worried about tired legs.
That being said, there are other factors we need to consider. Firstly, that's the kind of pace Boston is used to play at. The Celtics have been playing at a high tempo all season long, so it's not like last night was a shock to the system. Brad Stevens has his guys ready to push the pace whenever needed. Then, we should also note that there wasn't a single Celtic that played more than 30 points in the loss to Golden State. Stevens hasn't been afraid to go deep into his bench in the past, so those extra resources could come in handy tonight.
However you want to spin it, the fact Boston was able to give the Warriors everything they had last night is impressive for a team so young.
Read our NBA Picks of the Day for tonight's top plays.
We know the Celtics have gotten a lot of hate from us in the past, but we try not to let that cloud our better judgement. Simply put, we think this is too many points for Utah to be laying, so we're going to be backing the underdogs with our NBA picks here on Monday.
Though Boston fell short in Golden State last night and may be tired, we were very impressed with the effort and intensity shown. The Celtics didn't back down from the Warriors and certainly made things interesting. There's obviously a chance they could suffer a letdown after such a hard-fought performance, but we're taking the "glass half full" approach and thinking they can carry that over into tonight's game against a weaker opponent in Utah.
Basically, that was a long-winded way of saying the value appears to be hiding with the inconsistent Celtics. When it comes down to it, we don't love either one of these teams, so we don't mind grabbing all of those points and hoping for a competitive effort from Boston. Back the Celtics this evening.
Pick: Boston Celtics +8