If you are looking for a warm-up NBA bet on Super Bowl Sunday your choice is limited to one game: Orlando at Boston, not exactly an Eastern Conference Finals preview. On the bright side, there are a few cross-sport props with a certain NFL game. Boston opened as a 5-point favorite on NBA odds with a total of 191.5.
Not Your Father's Celtics
The C's have been one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference in the New Year with all of two wins: Jan. 15 at home against Toronto and Jan. 22 at Washington. Boston enters this one having lost four straight, the last 95-94 on Wednesday at home against Philadelphia. The Sixers won on Evan Turner's buzzer-beater. It ruined a monster game from the Celtics' Jared Sullinger as he had 24 points and 17 rebounds. He's been a rare bright spot and is the only regular who has a positive plus/minus with Sullinger's at plus-7.
Rajon Rondo didn't play against the Sixers as it was the second of a back-to-back and the team is playing it very cautious as its top asset returns from ACL surgery. The Celtics (22-25-1 ATS, 19-29 O/U at sportsbooks) still haven't won a game in which Rondo has played and he has predictably been rusty, averaging 6.7 points -- on horrid .279 from the field -- and 5.7 assists per game. Even if Boston wanted to deal him by the Feb. 20 trade deadline, his value is so low right now that it eliminates that possibility.
Fellow starting guard Avery Bradley, a stellar defender, hasn't played since spraining an ankle Jan. 21 against Miami but will return for this one. Bradley probably would have guarded Turner on that final Philly play.
Not-So Magic Kingdom
Orlando (20-28 ATS, 21-27 O/U at sportsbooks) got its third win of 2014 on Friday night, beating the visiting Bucks 113-102. The Magic were -6, their biggest favored spread of the season for sports bettors. Just tells you how bad Milwaukee is. Arron Afflalo, who was an All-Star snub, scored 21 points in three quarters before taking a seat with the game in hand. Center Nikola Vucevic had 12 points and six rebounds. It was his second game back from a concussion that cost him the previous 12 games. Point guard Jameer Nelson left the game with sore knee and is iffy for this one.
The Magic are actually not awful at home with a 10-14 record. They have the worst road record in the NBA at 3-21 (11-13 ATS) and have lost 10 straight outside of central Florida.
BetOnline has five NBA props for this game with the Super Bowl. First is the number of rebounds by Magic rookie Victor Oladipo is -160 against the number of catches for Seattle's Golden Tate. Since this is an NBA story, I'll limit my stats to that. Oladipo averages 4.4 boards per game and in three games vs. the Celtics this season is averaging 3.7. There's also Celtics leading scorer Jeff Green (-130) and his points against completions for Russell Wilson (+100). Green averages 16.0 per game and is exactly on that number in the three previous matchups against Orlando.
Team-wise you can get Magic total points at -23.5 against the number of receiving yards for Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas (both -115). Orlando is 23rd in the NBA in averaging 96.0 points a game. Its high against Boston this season is 105. Boston's total points are -8.5 against the rushing yardage for Seattle's Marshawn Lynch (both -115). The Celtics are 27th in the league at 94.6 points per game and have a high vs. Orlando of 120. Finally there is the total points for both teams at +16.5 against Wilson's passing yards (-115). The high this season between the C's and Magic is 225 and the low 180.
This is the last of four matchups with Boston leading 2-1. The Celtics won the first two near the beginning of the season, 91-89 in Orlando and 120-105 in Beantown. The most recent was Jan. 19 in Orlando when the Magic won 93-91 as 3-point underdogs for sports bettors. That ended Orlando's 10-game losing streak this season and 10-game skid to Boston. Afflalo, who probably is dealt by the Magic by the deadline, led the way with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Vucevic missed that game and Orlando played only two bench guys. Green led Boston with 22 but the Celtics shot just .367 from the field.
Free NBA picks: We'll take the Celtics -5 and the over for our NBA picks. Orlando has covered one of its past 11 road games. On the cross-sport props go with Oladipo against Tate, Green against Wilson, Thomas against the Magic, Celtics against Lynch, and NBA total points against Wilson's yardage.