NBA Pick: Underdog Value Play Friday

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, March 21, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay underdog that has a better chance of cashing than its odds, offering long term value. Here is their Underdog Value Play for Friday.

The pesky road underdog could hold value vs. the hot playoff contender Friday night when the Boston Celtics (23-46, 8-25 away) pay a visit to the Brooklyn Nets (35-31, 22-11 home) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY at 7:35 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Boston as a big underdog for this contest with the current line at +9 with odds of -108.

The Celtics may have one of the least talented rosters in the NBA, but rookie NBA head coach Brad Stevens has them playing hard every single night and the Celts were rewarded with a 101-96 upset of the Miami Heat on Wednesday. That snapped a five-game losing streak for Boston, but the Celtics have still been pesky while going 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games, again a testament to Stevens as he has then hustling every minute of every game.

The Nets have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA since the calendar flipped over on January 1st, going 25-10 straight up during that time. Still, Brooklyn’s style of play is really not conducive with blowing people out as the Nets are very deliberate and methodical on offense, making it quite difficult to give this many points with them.

The Nets have remained hot despite ranking just 22nd in the league in scoring with 97.7 points per game, and in fact Brooklyn has actually been outscored this season as it allowing 98.8 points per contest! That latter figure is good enough to rank eighth in the league in points against though, but even with that, the Nets will not blow many teams away with their offense.

Furthermore, Brooklyn’s very good defensive numbers have as much to do with playing at a slow pace as they do with actually playing stiff defense, as the Nets rank 26th in the NBA in pace rating, which is really not all that surprising when you consider that they have such a veteran ball club.

Lower scoring games are usually conducive to playing the underdogs, especially with larger spreads like this one, and although the hot Nets have now improved to 22-11 at home this season, consider that their average winning margin has been only +2.3 points in Brooklyn.

The Celtics may be lacking in talent, but Stevens has put an emphasis on defense just like he did in college while taking his Butler teams to points probably beyond those teams’ talent levels such as back-to-back NCAA National Championship Games, and with Boston now having just a young team with Rajon Rondo, only 28 years old himself, being the only holdover from the recent glory years, the Celtics have bought into Stevens’ system.

Thus, while the Celts remain offensively challenged at 95.5 points per game, they have been able to stay in games and cover underdog spreads with the defense allowing just 99.4 points per contest, good for 11th in the league. Therefore, Boston is a sparkling 18-12, 60.0 percent ATS as a road underdog this season including 13-5, 72.2 percent when getting eight points or more away from home!

With all of this in mind, take the big points with Boston in Brooklyn on Friday.

[gameodds]5/259368/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Celtics +9 (-108)