I took a break from my daily NBA picks over the weekend, but the last time I saw you I delivered a winner. I backed the 76ers to cover a small -3 point spread at home against the Jazz, and while Philly made me sweat a bit, they pulled it off in the end.
That handed me my second win in a row and also pushed me to 5-1 over my last six tries and 16-5 on the year. I’ve been running hot pretty much all year and if you’ve wagered with me leading the way you’ve come away very much in the green.
There is some awesome value starting at bettors on Monday night, as the Boston Celtics head to Charlotte and will be very mild road favorites. I tend to stray from betting against the Hornets when they’re at home, but this is a spot where I’ll throw caution to the wind.
Boston Celtics (-1.5, -115) @ Charlotte Hornets (+1.5, -105) Total: 219 (-110)
Normally I’d wait a bit longer into the morning to unleash my pick, but the price for the Celtics is pretty unbeatable over at Sportsbetting.ag. You always want to consider home underdogs and it’s worth noting the Hornets have actually been great (9-6) against the spread, while Boston (6-10) has not been very good.
It’s early in the year and the sample size is fairly small, though, so I’m betting more on Boston’s depth and upside here. I’m also banking on the Celtics offering more value and coming with a little more urgency.
The price is very key for me here. This is a tiny spread and -115 for Boston to win by two is a fine value play. You can just hop on their moneyline and feel just as good, but the value won’t be as striking. The Celtics are just 4-5 on the road and 1-3 ATS as road favorites, but they haven’t had much time to really jell as a unit.
Let’s keep in mind this team made a deep playoff run with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward sidelined the entire time. Irving is finally getting his legs back under him and thriving as a go-to scorer again, while Hayward only recently topped the 30+ minute threshold.
I see these as two huge positives, while the urgency effect is also important. Boston is third in the ultra competitive Atlantic Division right now, sinking behind Toronto and Philadelphia. If they have any hopes of keeping pace or ultimately actually gaining ground, they have to beat the teams they’re supposed to beat.
The Hornets are such a team. This is not a matchup that has been problematic for Boston in the past (7 wins in a row over the Hornets) and they absolutely have the wing defenders to give Kemba Walker and Charlotte’s perimeter scorers fits. Charlotte, on the other hand, doesn’t really have anyone fully capable of shutting Irving down.
Boston has struggled to figure out how all of their many pieces will “get theirs” but the good news is they have a slew of scorers that can play within their system. Jayson Tatum is emerging again for them and Hayward has looked more engaged lately. If that keeps up, the Celtics are going to be churning out more wins and a nice road win in Charlotte should be part of that process.
The Celtics are 7-3 inside the conference and for all of their early season struggles, still boast the league’s most efficient defense. They don’t play fast and have a ways to go in terms of offensive efficiency, but eventually things are going to start breaking their way.
Boston’s perimeter defense (#1 in the NBA) is the big selling point for me in this matchup. The Hornets are not a team that is going to kill you down low (15th in inside scoring, 5th in 3-pointers made), so Boston’s ability to close out on the outside is going to be huge for them.
Is Kemba Walker comes out and goes nuts, the Hornets will surely have a chance. But Charlotte is erratic. If you recall, they burned me badly not too long ago when they got housed by the Cavaliers. It was embarrassing and on the road, but it was classic Charlotte.
I don’t trust the Hornets, the Celtics are the better team and offer superior value and their stinginess on the outside could negate what Charlotte is really good at. The Celtics at -1.5 (-115) against the spread is a great price and they can’t afford to lose these types of games. They’re my favorite pick to start a new week of NBA betting.