Even the NBA cowers in the mighty shadow of the NFL. There are only three games today, and they are all early, but if you are looking for some nice wagering action before the Super Bowl coin flip, look no further that the 1PM EST time block for a couple of interesting NBA matchups. We went 3-0 ATS on Friday and have won 5 of 6 NBA games overall, so let’s cap off the week with another nice winner before you and the rest of the world head over for the Super Bowl…
Los Angeles Clippers -1.5 at Boston Celtics (Total: 183.5)
The Clippers are a walking enigma right now; they are partially “best team in the NBA” and part “walking MASH unit of ridiculous injuries.” It makes projecting whether or not they are legitimate title contenders very difficult. Personally, I think this team is a tough matchup for San Antonio and that they’ll beat them in the Playoffs if fully healthy, and that they are the one team OKC least wants to see in May.
However, in the here and now, this team is really banged up. Chris Paul will again be out today, and anything that happens without their leader and best point guard in the NBA (seriously, I saw someone arguing for Kyrie Irving over Paul on TV this week. Are you insane??) is kind of null and void. Same goes for today. If they win in Boston it will be a nice win for sure, but a loss doesn’t change my opinion of the Clipps.
Especially considering Paul isn’t the only one out or banged up. Blake Griffin is expected to play, but will be slowed by a nagging ankle injury. Likewise for super-sub Jamal Crawford who has a broken nose. Chauncey Billups has been cleared for full practice, but is not likely to return to the lineup today, though his addition will be HUGE when he arrives; making the deepest team in the NBA even deeper.
The Clippers are just 2-4 since Paul’s injury. That’s a far cry from the 80% winning percentage they were ripping off with him. Meanwhile, the Celtics are also dealing with the loss of their point guard and best player, Rajon Rondo. The difference is the Celtics won’t be getting Rondo back for the Playoffs. In fact, they are set to show they can even MAKE the Playoffs without him.
The early returns have been impressive. The Celtics are 3-0 since Rondo went down, including a double overtime win over the Heat and back-to-back dominating performances agaist lesser foes, Sacramento and Orlando. Their ball movement has been crisp and their defensive effort has been fantastic. I don’t underestimate the emotional factor of “we’ll show you it’s not time to break this team up” from Garnett and Pierce. Both have played fantastic this week, and I think you’ll see their max effort at home in another nationally televised game.
I like Boston to beat a depleted Clippers team at home today. At full strength? Los Angeles all day. But with all the injuries and a cross-country flight to play an inspired team in their gym? Give me Boston.
Free Pick: Boston Celtics +1.5