Boston Celtics (29-12) at Brooklyn Nets (27-13)
Game Info: Thursday, January 12, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. EST (Barclays Center)
Betting Odds: Celtics (-3) / Over/Under (227.5)
Pick: Celtics (-3)
In a battle between the two top seeds in the East, we are going to dive into the Boston Celtics taking on the Brooklyn Nets in Barclays Center on TNT at 7:30 p.m. EST. Although Kevin Durant will be out in this game, it should be an intense battle between powerhouses in the league with multiple stars on the court at all times.
Boston has the best record in the NBA so far this year, and it all starts with their superstar duo in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. After coming off a Final appearance last year, one thought that maybe they would slump to start the season after such a long postseason run, but this hasn't been the case at all. Tatum has put up MVP numbers, with 30.8 PTS, 8.1 REB, and 4.2 AST on almost 50% shooting, while Brown is not far behind averaging 26.8 PTS, 6.9 REB, and 3.3 AST. They are truly an outstanding one-two punch. Having won 7 out of their last 9 games (4-5 ATS in that span), they will love their chances in defeating the Nets to extend their lead to 2.5 games up in the East as they are without Durant. If they can get Tatum and Brown going early, they may have too much firepower for the Nets to come back late in the game.
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Brooklyn has been sensational of late. After several questions surrounding the team earlier in the year, they have been squashed all of the outside talk by winning 14 out of their last 15 games (9-6 ATS in that span). They have dramatically improved their defensive play over this time, which has allowed for their stars to not have as much pressure to put the ball in the bucket on every possession as they have had to in the past. With Durant out, Kyrie Irving will have the bulk of the duty on the offensive end, which he has thrived on in the past. If Marcus Smart can't go in this one (currently listed as questionable), he will have a good chance of putting up big numbers as he would be their primary on-ball defender against Irving. They are 0-2 ATS this year as a home underdog; will Irving get enough help from Brooklyn's complementary players to get a win at home to cut the deficit at the top of the East to 0.5 game.
A few betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- Boston is 6-1 ATS with a rest disadvantage
- Boston is 4-0 ATS in division games
- The Nets are 0-2 ATS as a home underdog
If Durant was healthy in this one, I would most likely stay away from picking the Celtics away from home against such a hot team. But, even though they are on such a hot streak, I don't see them being able to get enough offense from their secondary pieces to cover this short spread. Irving will most likely get his 25-30 points, but I don't know where the other scoring is going to come from to keep up with this potent Boston offense. Give me the Celtics to stay hot atop the Eastern Conference as we get closer and closer towards the All-Star break.
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