I got burned by the Detroit Pistons on Friday night. I went with them in a virtual pick’em against the Indiana Pacers and felt they could get the job done on the road. They actually led for almost the entire game, only to cave in the final moments.
That was disappointing, but with the Boston Celtics getting me a win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, I still come into the weekend at 1-1.
To be frank, though, last night was nuts. The Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls combined for 143 points (the Bulls won!), the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers went into overtime, the Brooklyn Nets beat the Utah Jazz by 11, Miami won in D.C. and the Denver Nuggets scored an insane 146 points in a 32-point thrashing of the New Orleans Pelicans.
I’m not sure many of us stood a chance last night. Oh, and the Sacrmaneto Kings held the Portland Trail Blazers to 82 points and won by four. Yeah, it was a weird NBA betting slate.
Things cool down on Saturday, but you still get 7 games to work with. This has the looks of another tricky slate, so I’m taking the only bet I really love and that lands in Atlanta where the Boston Celtics battle the Hawks.
Boston Celtics (-6.5) @ Atlanta Hawks (+6.5) Total: 202.5
This is not the slate to take stabs at Money Lines. The favorites offer almost no value across the board and the underdogs worth a look are in some sticky situations.
The Clippers are dead tired after their battle with the Cavs, I can’t imagine the Kings winning again and if you look elsewhere, you’ll quickly find yourself placing money down against the Warriors and Rockets, or you’d be backing the Mavericks.
None of that sounds promising to me, so I’m going right back to the well with Boston, who heads to ATL to battle the 3-12 Hawks. I’m totally fine with playing it safe and just going hard at Boston’s Money Line (-265), but that’s not enough betting value for me. It’s probably the safest bet on the board tonight and in terms of straight up bets, it might be about as good as it gets.
I think targeting the point spread is the way to go here, though. If you’re not used to hunting for value, be sure to take the right site with this bet. Bovada has the Celtics as -7 favorites, but I want that -0.5 advantage with BetOnline and anywhere else you can get it. The Celtics are the logical picks here and if they can cover, we get a really nice -110 to work with.
I’m sure there is potential for Boston to fail to cover. They’re on the road and after winning a 14th straight game (against the defending champions, no less), they could be vulnerable to a trap game. Even the best NBA teams deal with it, so it’s absolutely possible.
That won’t talk me out of this pick, however. If we’re betting on Saturday, this is the NBA pick I want above all others. To put it bluntly, the Hawks are just terrible. There isn’t much of an argument that suggests they really should stage the upset, much less even keep this competitive.
Atlanta started the year off at 1-0 with a win over the equally horrendous Mavericks (2-14!), but have since gone 2-12. The Hawks haven’t found their home base to be a safe haven, either, as they are just 1-4 on their home floor. The Hawks aren’t finding any kind of groove, either, as they’ve lost 8 of their last 10 games and also enter this showdown with a 1-9 record against the Eastern Conference.
That all sounds just awful and they’ll be hosting arguably one of the best teams in the entire NBA. Even if you don’t believe that, it’s impossible to deny the Celtics are pretty good and at worst insanely ablaze right now. The Celtics got off to a rough 0-2 start, but have now won 14 straight. They have identical home/road records (7-1) and have had little issue getting bettors to cash with an elite 13-2-1 against the spread record.
On top of all of that, Boston has the foundation of an elite pick. They possess the league’s top overall defense and are so good in that regard that they held Stephen Curry to just 9 points.
Boston’s one glaring issue is a less than elite offense. Their unit can often provide a slow burn, but they’re loaded with versatile players, Kyrie Irving can still set the tone and in this particular matchup big man Al Horford could seek a little revenge against his former Hawks squad.
Narratives aside, I wouldn’t be worried too much about Boston’s offense. The Hawks rank just 19th in defensive efficiency and aren’t any better offensively (22nd). Atlanta’s key player is Dennis Schroder, who could be slowed down by Kyrie Irving’s improved defensive play and in turn, has zero chance in stopping Irving.
On paper, the Celtics get the win and make it 15 in a row. That’ll get them one step closer to potentially setting a franchise winning streak record. They’re clearly taking it one game at a time, which is another reason I don’t really fear them overlooking a weak opponent. The streak can’t end like this and given the talent gap and data at hand, Boston’s staggering ATS record should extend itself further tonight, as well.