NBA Picks: Celtics vs. Jazz

Joe Freda

Monday, February 25, 2013 1:38 PM GMT

Will the Boston Celtics bounce back with a cashed ticket or are the Utah Jazz worth their premium in this spot as ‘chalk?’ Find out which team we are backing with our NBA picks tonight.

The Boston Celtics moved to 2-2 ATS in the first four games of their present road trip, with Sunday’s 92-86 defeat as a two-point dog against the Portland Trail Blazers. Doc Rivers’ club finishes the journey on no rest with Monday’s matchup with the Utah Jazz, who have a 3-1 spread record in their last four games.

Celtics, Pierce edged out in Portland

Boston trailed by as many as 11 points in Sunday’s setback to Portland, while outrebounded by the Trail Blazers, 47-36. Celtics forward Paul Pierce came away with team-highs of 23 points and eight assists, knocking down 9-of-16 field buckets.

Boston’s Kevin Garnett grabbed nine boards en route to 20 points, uniting with Pierce for one block each. The Celtics logged a 12-for-15 night at the foul line, while held to a 2-for-13 mark beyond the arc.

The duel’s combined 178 points plunged beneath the ‘total’ of 192, moving the UNDER to 4-2 in the Celtics’ last six games. Boston’s Jeff Green led the team’s bench scoring with 11 points in 31 minutes of action, while mate Chris Wilcox logged two of his side’s nine steals. 

Jazz, Hayward fall short in L.A. 

Utah ended a three-game winning streak with Saturday’s 107-94 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers, failing to collect as a 9 ½-point road dog. The Jazz went 1-for-15 from three-point land, while allowing the Clippers to hit 51.3 percent of their field buckets.

Jazz guard Gordon Hayward notched team-highs of 23 points and eight boards, with 34 minutes of action off the bench. Utah’s Earl Watson and Derrick Favors logged eight assists and three blocks, respectively, while the Jazz were outrebounded, 46-39.

The battle’s combined 201 points leaped above the ‘total’ of 198, lifting the OVER to 4-1 in the Jazz’ last five contests. Utah hit 23-of-28 free throws, while being outscored in paint points, 48-42.

[gameodds]5/219464/43/us[/gameodds]

Back the Jazz as home ‘chalk’

The NBA odds makers opened Utah as a 6 ½-point home favorite, while first setting the ‘total’ at 191 ½. The Jazz will have one day off before hosting the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday’s league slate, while Boston returns home for Friday’s meeting with the Golden State Warriors.

I am adding Utah to my night of sports picks, looking for the Tyrone Corbin’s club to come up big as a sizable favorite. The Jazz have held foes to 90.3 PPG in their last six home dates, with a 3-1 spread record in the span’s most recent four duels.

Utah is also in a revenge spot here after falling short to Boston in November’s 98-93 defeat at TD Garden, pushing as a five-point dog. The Jazz were able to stay close thanks to outrebounding the Celtics, 48-29, and will not face Rajon Rondo this time around.

The shift to Salt Lake City should help Utah regain its share of octane, while catching the Celtics playing their fifth game in seven days. Boston is 4-10 ATS in its last 14 road spots against clubs with winning home records, while the home team is 5-1-1 ATS in the last seven meetings between these foes.

Look for Utah to pile on late points as the Celtics run out of gas down the stretch, adding a cashed ticket to the Jazz’ 5-2 spread record in their last seven matchups against Eastern Conference foes.