On the heels of a relatively boring two-game Thursday slate, the NBA is back in a big way with a 10-game extravaganza on Friday night. With March Madness set to get underway next week, this is officially the best time of the year for basketball bettors.
Oddsmakers certainly like the Celtics to notch a third victory of the year of the Pistons in the season finale. Per the latest odds from BetOnline, Boston is favored by a whopping 14.5 points.
This season has been a hard one for the Pistons, but they’re starting to show some signs of life. Dwane Casey’s squad is still only 18-48 on the year, good for the second-worst record in the East. However, they come into this one 6-4 over their last 10 games.
While a record 30 games south of the .500 mark is certainly dismal, there are some building blocks here. Cade Cunningham, last year’s No. 1 overall pick, is getting better and better with each passing game. Cunningham is averaging 16.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game on the year. Through five games in March, however, he has upped those averages to 22.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, and nearly six assists per game. He’s also shooting better than 38 percent from three-point range this month.
Detroit has also gotten a boost from newcomer Marvin Bagley. The former No. 2 overall pick, who fell out of favor in Sacramento, has looked rejuvenated since arriving in Detroit last month. In seven games with the Pistons, Bagley is averaging 13.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. In 30 total games with the Kings, the 22-year-old was averaging just 9.3 points per game. Bagley’s playing time has increased since the trade, and he started the last game for Detroit in place of the injured Isaiah Stewart.
So, Detroit has yet to fail to cover in any game against the Celtics this season. They’ll look to even the season series from a win/loss perspective on Friday night in Boston.
The Eastern Conference playoffs are going to be must-see TV later this spring. Teams like the Heat, Nets, Bulls, Bucks, andn 76ers are all firmly in the championship mix. One team that constantly goes overlooked is the Celtics, who are in the hunt themselves.
Boston got off to a shaky start this season under first-year head coach Ime Udoka, but they’ve righted the ship ever since. Boston enters tonight’s game ranked fifth in the East at 40-27 on the year. They’ve won each of their last four games overall with an impressive 8-2 mark over their last 10 games. Just four games separate the surging Celtics from the top-seeded Heat going into Friday’s action.
Jayson Tatum has been at the heart of the Celtics’ recent run. Boston’s All-Star forward is quietly playing his way into the MVP conversation. On the year, the 24-year-old is averaging a career-best 26.8 points per game along with more than eight rebounds and four assists. He’s been in particularly impressive form of late, with four consecutive games of at least 33 points. That includes a 54-point explosion in a solid win over the Nets last Sunday afternoon. He followed that up with a 44-point outburst in a 14-point win over the Hornets on Wednesday.
Tatum is averaging 24 points, six rebounds, and five assists per game through the first three head-to-head meetings with the Pistons, as well. Jaylen Brown, meanwhile is averaging 23.7 points and about four rebounds per game against Detroit so far this year.
Defense has been the Celtics’ calling card since they turned things around earlier in the year. Since January 1, Boston leads the NBA in defensive efficiency, allowing only 105.1 points per 100 possessions. That puts them more than three points in front of the second-ranked Dallas Mavericks in that category.
Detroit Pistons vs. Boston Celtics NBA Game Pick
Despite the Celtics’ recent torrid stretch, the Pistons have given them some competitive games already this season. Detroit actually snapped Boston’s nine-game winning streak with a victory at the TD Garden just before the All-Star break. That triumph actually ended Detroit’s own eight-game losing skid, as well.
The Pistons are a bad enough team to get blown out on any given night, but I’m encouraged by their recently-improved play. A 14.5-point spread is massive by the NBA’s standards. There’s a gulf in talent between these teams, but you wouldn’t know it based on how well the Pistons have fared against the Celts through their first three meetings. I like the value on Detroit to cover that huge margin on the road tonight.
Detroit Pistons vs. Boston Celtics Betting Recap
- Moneyline: Pistons +825, Celtics -1400
- Point Spread: Pistons +14.5 (-110), Celtics -14.5 (-110)
- Over/Under: Over 215.5 points (-110), Under 215.5 points (-110)
- Pick: Pistons +14.5 (-110)