NBA Pick: Underdog Value Play Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, November 11, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

The Boston Celtics have won three straight following an 0-4 start, but they could have a letdown here after an exhilarating win over Miami vs. the improving Magic Monday.

A team in transition could be vulnerable on Monday night after knocking off the NBA Champions last game as the improved Orlando Magic (3-4, 0-3 away) pay a visit to those Boston Celtics (3-4, 1-1 home) at TD Garden in Boston, MA at 7:35 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Orlando as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +2½ with odds of -103.

The Celtics had a very slow start losing their first four games, but that is not surprising for a team with a virtually new roster this year. To their credit, the Celtics have rebounded to win three straight games highlighted by a shocking 111-110 upset of the NBA Champion Miami Heat on the road as 13-point underdogs on Saturday. However, that could make this a huge letdown spot, especially since they beat this Magic team in Orlando last week.

Orlando has lost two straight since a 3-2 start, but this young team ranks in the top half of the league so far in both points scored (14th at 100.0 per game) and points against (11th at 96.9), a stark improvement from the awful team that finished with the worst record in the NBA last season at 20-62.

The Celtics were annual championship contenders with their “Big Four” a couple of years ago, but only Rajon Rondo remains from that group and he is not even active right now as he recuperates from an ACL injury. First Boston lost Ray Allen to free agency last year, and then during this off-season they traded the other two members of the Big Four Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, as well as Jason Terry, to the Brooklyn Nets.

Furthermore the Celtics even traded their head coach Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers for a first round draft pick and brought in the now youngest coach in the NBA Brad Stevens in for his first NBA experience after a wildly successful NCAA Basketball career at Butler.

Yet this new cast of characters has blended together nicely the last three games, culminating with Jeff Green hitting a three-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Heat. Still, the Celtics figure to be inconsistent this year with so many new faces and a win like that could put them in a prime letdown spot here. Besides, it is not as if the Celtics blew the Magic away last week, as they prevailed just 91-89 while shooting only 35.8 percent in Orlando.

The Magic sat at 3-2 after winning three straight games with two of the wins coming vs. playoff teams from last year in the Los Angeles Clippers and the Brooklyn Nets, before losing their last two games as they followed up that home loss to the Celtics with a 10-point road loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

The Magic do have some nice young talent that is developing nicely, such as leading scorer Arron Afflalo (19.7 PPG), first round draft pick Victor Oladipo (11.4) out of Indiana, and two of the players acquired in the Dwight Howard trade, Nikola Vucevic (averaging a double-double with 15.7 points and 12.1 rebounds) and Moe Harkless. Finally, point guard Jameer Nelson lends veteran leadership to a young team that has five players averaging double-digits.

Look for Orlando to continue its improvement and get some revenge with a mild straight-up upset in Boston Monday.

[gameodds]5/247303/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Magic +2½ (-103)