The Los Angeles Clippers travel to Massachusetts for their fourth straight road game to take on the Boston Celtics. It’s time to continue our NBA odds series and make a Clippers-Celtics prediction and pick.
The Clippers hold the third-best record in the Western Conference at 24-12, and they are 20-16 against the spread. Their last game resulted in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Celtics stand at 17-17, but they are 16-18 against the spread. They are coming off a close win over the Washington Wizards.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Clippers-Celtics odds.
NBA Odds: Clippers-Celtics Odds
Boston Celtics +4 (-110)
Over 220 Points (-107)
Under 220 Points (-113)
Why The Clippers Could Cover The Spread
While both these teams have been solid on the defensive end, the Clippers hold a slight advantage.
While the Clippers hold the 14th best defensive rating in the league and the Celtics are right behind them at 15, Los Angeles is slightly better in nearly every statistical defensive category.
The Clippers hold opponents to a lower field goal percentage, do a better job on the defensive boards, and have allowed fewer three-point makes.
When Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are on the floor, the Clippers boast two of the best perimeter defenders in the league. Overall, the Clippers have four players who have made the All-Defensive first team.
Against a Boston team that depends on perimeter scorers to get the majority of their points, this could cause a problem for the Celtics.
Offensively, there’s an even bigger gap between these two squads.
The Celtics have struggled to score all year against top-rated defensive squads. In six matchups against the top five rated defensively teams, Boston has only topped 110 points once.
The Clippers have more depth on the offensive end of the floor to combat the duo Boston. While the Celtics have just two double-digit scorers active tonight, the Clips have five.
Los Angeles’ biggest advantage comes from the three-point lines, where they shoot the highest percentage in the league. The last time these two teams met, the Celtics actually outshot the Clips, hitting 16 three’s to the Clippers 14. It’s doubtful they repeat the feat tonight.
While these two teams are closer statistically than one would think, Los Angeles holds a slim to medium lead in nearly every important stat.
Why The Celtics Could Cover The Spread
Since Leonard and George joined the Clippers, this Los Angeles Boston matchup has come down to the wire in every game.
Last year, the two played a total of three overtime periods in two games and split the season series 1-1. This year, the Celtics prevailed by four points on the Clippers home floor.
Overall, the margin of victory is a slim 4.7 points over the three games, so we should expect another close one here.
The reason for these razor-thin margins is the similar style of play between the two squads. Both play at a high pace, thrive with small-ball lineups, and rely on their stars to shoulder the load offensively.
A fun coincidence coming in to this game: Tatum (25.2 PPG) and Jaylen Brown (25.0 PPG) combine to average 50.2 points per game. The Clippers duo of Leonard (26.8 PPG) and George (23.4) average the exact same figure.
The X-factor in this game for the Celtics will be their third star: Kemba Walker, especially with Brown questionable with knee soreness.
After a freezing cold return from injury, Walker has amped up his production. In his last three matchups, 24.7 points on 46% shooting from the field and 39% from deep.
Kemba has been the make-or-break guy recently for Boston. When he scores 15 points or less, the Celtics are 0-3. When he goes over that sum, the Celtics are 5-2.
Walker will have his hands full tonight with Patrick Beverley. Boston’s eyes will be on this matchup. If Walker can win it, I like the Celtics odds to take this down to the wire and make it yet another nail-biter.
Final Clippers-Celtics Prediction & Pick
The Celtics have been excellent at covering the spread in TD Garden, with a home against the spread record of 10-5. The Clippers have been almost as good on the road, going 11-7 ATS away from the friendly confines of Staples Center. While this should be a close game all the way to the buzzer, I can’t see the Clippers taking a third loss in four games. L.A. should be doubly motivated to avenge their loss to Boston earlier this season and get back in the winning column. I’ll back the Clippers to pull away late here and cover.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: LAC 115, BOS 108 (LAC -4)