Trail Blazers vs. Celtics NBA Preview and Pick For 2/4

by Kevin Roberts
on February 4, 2018

All odds that are referenced in this article were taken from BetOnline at 6:34 pm CT on 2/3/2018. These odds may have changed since the time of this writing.

Sunday offers an interesting NBA betting slate, as there will be six games up for grabs, but each of them top off before 3:00 pm ET. Perhaps it has something to do with a game in another league.

Yes, the Super Bowl arrives on Sunday finally, so I can understand the focus being shifted, both in the minds of NBA advertisers and sports bettors. This is the perfect time to hunt down some killer Super Bowl 52 bets and if you’re at all distracted, taking the day off from basketball wagering may not be the worst idea.

Should you dip your toe in the vibrant NBA waters, however, there’s still a lot to like. I’ll put my strong NBA picks season record (45-34-2) on the line as I target my favorite game.

For me, that’s the showdown between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Most bettors will probably run for the hills here, as star point guard Kyrie Irving (quad) has actually already been ruled out for this contest.

However, the value is quite appealing if you want to get some money on the line right away, as the Celtics open as mild -2 home favorites (-107) at BetOnline.

Portland isn’t some trash team, however. Damian Lillard and company did just get housed in Toronto, but they’ve been good lately (7-3 over their last 10 games) and are in a race for the top of the Northwest Division.

Boston, meanwhile, has been working through a small rut, while also thwarting off the negative impact of injuries to key guards such as Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart.

They’ve actually done a fantastic job in the process, overcoming a small rough patch and ripping off three straight wins. They’ll look to make it four in a row on Sunday, even though they’ll be without Irving.

Portland Trail Blazers (+2, -113)
Boston Celtics (-2, -107)
Total: 201

The first thing that jumps out at me is what feels like a very low Total. The Blazers and Celtics both have strong defenses (#9 and #1, respectively), but they also produce 103 and 104 points per game.

I tend to favor the home team when it comes to pace, the crowd and defensive edge. Still, I feel like the Total bettors are working with when wagering on either of these teams is a lot higher. You might be in for something closer to a defensive battle, but 201 still feels too low.

If I’m making a play on the points in this game, I’m betting on the Over. There’s just a lot of firepower here. With both Irving and Smart sitting, it’s hard to imagine Boston’s defense being it’s elite self, either.

With both guys out, the most obvious bet for me here is the Over.

Perhaps more than anything, the rise of Terry Rozier keeps me confident in the Celtics.

He could carry the torch as he has been if Irving continues to sit out. He joked that he’d give Irving his job back in the near future, but for the weekend it’s still his:

The Celtics have been tough to beat in general this year (38-15), but good luck taking them down at home (20-8). If not for a recent slide, that record would look even better, while they’re a respectable 12-11-1 against the spread at home when favored.

That admittedly isn’t staggering, but the Blazers also seem to regress when they go out on the road. Bettors certainly saw that during their most recent bout with the Raptors, while Portland is just 14-13 away from home this year, overall.

Portland isn’t any better ATS. They’re a decent 26-22-2 against the spread from an overall perspective, but when dogged by Vegas on the road they post a middling 8-7-2 mark.

Ultimately, I think the ATS data is a wash. These are two hot teams that have similar styles of play. They have dynamic yet methodical offenses and they know how to grind games out defensively.

I think bettors get a tight game here even with Irving is on the shelf, as Rozier has quickly proven to be a pretty dynamic and explosive lead guard. He’s also got plenty of help, with Al Horford, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum all chipping in.

Irving and Smart playing would actually force me to consider the Under here, but without them I think this game is a little more open for points. Given the low Total, I’ll bite that bettors get a faster-paced game with some solid scoring. Aim high and take the Over.

Pick: Over
201 (-113)

$100 Stake Wins......

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