NBA Odds: Celtics vs. Clippers Prediction, Odds and Picks

The Boston Celtics (21-6) visit the Los Angeles Clippers (15-13) on Monday. Promotion ends at 10:40pm ET. Below we continue our NBA odds series with a Celtics Clippers prediction and selection.

Boston has won three of its last four games and has the best record in the NBA. The Celtics are 17-10 against the spread while 54 percent of their games have exceeded predicted total points. LA has lost two of its last three but still sits seventh in the Western Conference. The Clippers are 13-15 against the spread while 61 percent of their games are under the projected total. This will be the first of two meetings between the teams this season. The Clippers won both games against the Celtics last year.

Here are the Celtics-Clippers NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel

NBA Odds: Celtics Clippers Odds

Boston Celtics: -3.5 (-112)

Los Angeles Clippers: +3.5 (-108)

Above: 224.5 (-110)

Below: 224.5 (-110)

Why the Celtics could cover the spread

Boston was by far the best team in basketball this season. The Celtics offense was incredible as they are top in both points standings and offense standings. Their defense was also solid, ranking 13th in points allowed and 8th in defensive scoring. The Celtics are vulnerable on the glass, however, as they rank 20th in rebound difference and 21st in rebound rate. Remarkably, Boston will be without big man Al Hereford tonight due to personal reasons.

Boston’s historic offense is led by arguably the best duo in the NBA: Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Both forwards have incredible seasons. Tatum averages 30 PPG and 8.1 RPG while shooting 47 percent from the field. Brown, on the other hand, has an average of 26.8 PPG and 7.2 RPG at 50 percent shooting. They’re the focal points of every possible Boston cover, but they become even more important tonight for two reasons. The Clippers have excellent defense, which means they’ll likely have to carry the offensive load even more than usual. Additionally, they are the team’s top two rebounders. With Al Horford out, they need to make an even bigger impact on the glass against LA’s powerful rebound team.

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While Tatum and Brown provide Boston with an incredible stage, in the absence of Al Horford they need another big man to step up. The Clippers are a solid rebound team, which means big man Luke Kornet will need to step up if the Celtics are to appear as street favorites. Kornet’s numbers are nothing special – he averages just 4.8 PPG and 3.5 RPG. However, his playing time fluctuated throughout the season and he was solid when an opportunity presented itself. Best known for being interesting perimeter competitions, Kornet is a deep mammoth. The 7’2″ center will likely see longer minutes and is someone to keep in mind before making a Celtics-Clippers prediction.

Why the Clippers could cover the spread

The Clippers have stayed in playoff talks in no small part thanks to their offense. Los Angeles ranks last in the standings and 28th in the offensive standings. However, they are backed by their stellar defense, which ranks fourth in terms of points allowed and fifth in defensive standings. They are also a strong rebound team, ranking 15th in rebound difference and 10th in rebound rate. The Clippers will be without forward Norman Powell tonight through injury.

As is so often the case with The Clippers, their cover hopes live and die at the hands of their dynamic duo of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. George leads the team with an average of 23.7 PPG. He shoots an efficient 46 percent from the field and 38 percent from beyond the arc. George is coming off one of his best games of the season – a 36-point away game in the win over Washington. He will likely have extra motivation coming up against two of the league’s best young wingers.

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Kawhi Leonard is the ultimate X factor. After some serious stress management earlier in the season, he has finally started playing regularly. That being said, he has yet to really get back to his form. He has flashed spots but only averaged 11.6 PPG for the season. Kawhi hasn’t eclipsed 16 points in any game this year but is known for stepping up in big moments.

With Boston missing Al Horford, Clippers center Ivica Zubac will be a big factor in whether LA covers or not. Zubac is one of the best rebounders and shot blockers in the league averaging 11.2 RPG and 1.6 BPG. He will have his work cut out against Boston’s number one offensive line, but if he’s able to control the color it would go a long way in covering the Clippers as a home underdog.

Final Celtics-Clippers Prediction & Selection

Horford’s absence hurts and the Clippers could dominate the glass tonight, but I want Boston to bounce back from a poor showing at Golden State.

Final Celtics-Clippers Prediction & Pick: Boston Celtics -3.5 (-112)

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