Free NBA Picks: Celtics at Clippers Odds
by Aaron Smith - 1/7/2014
The Boston Celtics head to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers Wednesday night. Boston has been slumping lately, while the Clippers have been up and down of late. Expectations are obviously much higher for the Clippers, and they are a sizeable favorite in this one.
Boston actually led the NBA Atlantic Division with a losing record for quite a while, but the Raptors recent hot streak has them in first place in the division. The Celtics are now tied in second place with the Brooklyn Nets. No doubt the Atlantic Division is open for the taking this year, but the Celtics are a couple years away from being a good team.
The Clippers lead the NBA Pacific, but their lead is down to just half of a game. The Golden State Warriors are rolling of late, and the Clippers are going to have to raise their game to stay in first place in the Pacific.
Celtics at Clippers Betting Story Lines
What is the Celtics goal for this season? Their most recent move clued us in even more to what the Celtics are trying to do. Boston traded away Courtney Lee this week and got Jerryd Bayless back in return. Lee is 28 years old and was in the middle of his best season as an NBA player. Why would the Celtics get rid of him? Boston is looking toward the future, and they needed some financial flexibility.
At this point, Lee is playing better than Bayless. Bayless has shot less than 40 percent from the floor so far this year. It’s certainly possibly that Bayless will do better in the Celtics system, and he is still young. That really isn’t the point of this trade, though. Lee was owed $11 million over the next two years, while Bayless will be a free agent after this season. Clearly, the Celtics are looking to dump payroll and prepare for the upcoming seasons.
While some may believe the Celtics shouldn’t be selling when the Atlantic Division is so attainable, it makes a ton of sense to me. Boston could probably be buyers and make the playoffs, but they wouldn’t go anywhere in the postseason this year. Alternatively, by selling and working toward the future, they’ll have the potential to do something special in a couple years. This year’s draft class is tremendous, and the Celtics will have tons of financial flexibility in the free agent market.
Chris Paul injured his shoulder last week, and he will be out until at least mid-February. Paul is the guy that makes this team go, so it will be up to the rest of the roster to step up their game and fill in as well as possible. Darren Collison should see the majority of the playing time at point guard in Paul’s absence.
The Clippers are 24-13 overall this year, but they have been great at home. Los Angeles is 15-3 at Staples Center. It hasn’t quite gotten the attention of the average fan just yet, but Blake Griffin’s steady improvement with his shot is encouraging for Clippers fans. Griffin shot 52 percent from the free throw line two years ago. He is shooting 70 percent from the stripe this year. He has already matched his career high of seven 3-pointers made so far this season. If Griffin develops an outside shot at all, he’ll become an amazing weapon moving forward.
After starting the season out as the highest-scoring team in the league for the first couple weeks, the Clippers have slipped back to sixth in the league in scoring. They are shooting just 33.3 percent from long range as a team. Conversely, the Clippers defense has gotten much better as the season has progressed. Opponents are shooting just 44.3 percent from the floor against this defense. Rebounding is a bit of a concern as opponents have been grabbing a bunch of offensive rebounds against the Clippers.
Celtics at Clippers NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
Even without Paul, the oddsmakers really like the Clippers in this one. According to odds from BetOnline, the Clippers are posted as 10.5-point favorites in this one. The posted total is set at 194.5 points. Boston is 0-4 ATS in their last four road games. The “under” is 15-4 in the Celtics last 19 road games. The Clippers are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games. The Celtics are just 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games against the Clippers.
Free NBA Picks: Celtics at Clippers Betting Predictions
Los Angeles has a lot of depth, so they should still be a good team without Paul. Still, there’s no doubt that losing arguably the best point guard in the NBA makes this team fall several notches. Boston is slumping as well, but given 10.5 points, I’d lean toward the Celtics in this matchup. However, I think the best way to play this one is the under. The Clippers offense should be down quite a bit without Paul, and the Celtics offense has been struggling in a big way of late. Look for a lower-scoring game than expected.
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