NBA Picks Lakers vs. Celtics to go Under

Jeff Grant

Friday, January 17, 2014 2:11 PM GMT

Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 2:11 PM GMT

The Boston Celtics are expecting their star player back on the floor Friday night, as they take on the Los Angeles Lakers at the TD Garden. Let’s take a closer look at the NBA betting lines for this non-conference affair.

Hard times

Los Angeles has lost 12 of 13 with a pair of six-game losing streaks, as it looks to bounce back from a 121-114 defeat to the Phoenix Suns as 10.5-point road underdogs Wednesday.

The Lakers will be playing without the services of leading scorer Nick Young, who was suspended for this game after throwing a punch at Suns point guard Goran Dragic.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the franchise is 28-62 SU and 38-50-2 ATS as underdogs in the NBA betting odds, with the OVER going 51-36-3 in that situation.

Room for improvement

Boston is 1-9 SU and 5-5 ATS over its last 10 games—shooting 40.8 percent from the floor in that span.

The Celtics are still trying to find their way under first-year head coach Brad Stevens, but they may start turning things around with the return of star point guard Rajon Rondo, who is expected to make his season debut in this rivalry game.

Rondo has been out for 29,233,380 seconds since suffering a major knee injury, but he should provide a lift to the team offensively, as he’s averaged 10.2 assists per game since the start of the 2008-09 campaign.

Series history

NBA handicappers will take a look at the road underdog in this affair, considering the Lakers have dropped just two season series against the Celtics since the 1999-2000 campaign.

Los Angeles will need a huge game from forward Pau Gasol to have a chance at picking up an outright victory, as he’s averaging 20.4 points and 10.8 rebounds over his last eight games.

Pounding the glass

The Celtics have done a much better job in being aggressive on the offensive glass, as they rank 15th in the league in rebounding on that end of the floor—just a year removed from being last in the statistical category.

Boston will have the opportunity to improve upon its standing in this affair, as Los Angeles doesn’t offer much resistance in terms of defensive rebounding.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers play the total in tonight's NBA picks, as the UNDER has cashed in the Celtics’ last four home games.

NBA Pick: Under 205.5

[gameodds]5/253045/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

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