Celtics vs Thunder – NBA Picks and Parlays 10/25/18
Welcome back to LazyBets NBA picks and parlays! It’s been a bit of a hiatus for us on the NBA side. We’re back in action tonight and we're excited about it. We're off to a 3-0 start on the year and we're red hot. Tonight’s NBA schedule is a light one. With an NFL game and a host of college football to be played tonight, there are only 4 games on the NBA slate. Tonight we are focused on the Celtics vs. Thunder in an early season matchup that features two of the better teams on paper in the NBA.
Each team needs this equally badly to start the year, The Celtics are off to a middling start on the year at 2-2. With an early deficit to the Raptors, they are quickly losing pace on the top seed in the East. The Thunder are in early season disarray. They are 0-3 on the year as Russel Westbrook struggles to get back into the action. An 0-4 start would be cause for major panic. Let’s jump right in to today’s free NBA pick with odds provided with one of our favorite online sportsbooks: MyBookie.ag.
The Celtics started off the season in impressive fashion. They dismantled the 76ers at home in Gordan Haywards long awaited return. Emotions were hot. Intensity that was there. The swagger that the Celtics had in the playoffs carried into the first game of the season as the young Celtics smack talked there way to an 18-point win over Joel Embiid and his constituents.
Since their opening win the Celtics have been nothing but disappointing. They dropped a game to the Raptors 113-101 in the second game of the season and proceed to barely beat the Knicks by 2 on the second night of a road back to back. The Celtics then went on to lose to the Magic 93-90 at home.
It’s been a rough start for the Celtics. The Magic and Knicks are teams you would expect Brad Stevens to dismantle easily. His quality over the last few seasons has been undeniable. That same quality hasn’t continued early this year. It’s nothing but surprising considering how deep this Celtics team is.
It’s hard to say why the Celtics are stuck in neutral. Perhaps its having too much quality. The likes of Morris, Rozier, Brown, Smart, and other role players are looking to be fed after last year’s successful playoff run.
The Celtics may just have too many mouths to feed. While the quality of Boston’s role players is staggering, they may feel slighted. They will never get a higher volume of shots than the likes of Gordan Hayward, Al Horford, Jason Tatum and Kyrie Irving despite their quality. In a star oriented league, you can see how that might be an issue. The Celtics are running 10 players consistently around 10 minutes a game. That might be causing chemistry problems offensively.
The Celtics are 29th in the league in scoring this season. Their 99.8 points per game are .3 points higher than the league’s worst offensive team, the Memphis Grizzlies. Their 31.2% 3-point percentage early in the season is good enough for 26th in the league. Boston has shot just 41.2% from the floor this year. At third worst in the league, this offense is just not the same as it was last year. It has a lot to get together.
While the Celtics have been awful on offense, they have been absolute hell on defense. They’re giving up 98.5 points per game which is first in the NBA. They’re rebounding the ball 50.5 times per game. That’s good enough for 6th in the league. The Celtics are third in the league in limiting second chance points. That will be a big factor in this one against the Thunder.
One thing Brad Stevens has proved over the years is his ability to coach through adversity both on the college and pro levels. While the Celtics may be struggling early, it is safe to say that Stevens will figure this out sooner than later. In an NBA where points seem to be coming for free, figuring out your defense is a lot harder to do than figuring out your offense.
For the first time since moving to the state of Oklahoma, the Thunder are 0-3. It’s been a rough start for the Thunder, but it hasn’t entirely been in their control. Russel Westbrook hasn’t been available much this year. When he has, he’s been rusty.
Westbrook missed the first two games of the season. His struggles in game 3 were obvious and indicative of rust. He had 5 turnovers in his 1st game against the Kings. They’re not known for forcing turnovers and are probably the worst team in the West. Following the embarrassing loss, Westbrook has little time to round into shape before the Thunder are well behind the pace. Kyrie Irving in tonight’s matchup should test him.
Irving’s defense has been criticized throughout his career. It may be just what the Thunder ordered for Westbrook. The Thunder’s offensive struggles have been well documented. The Thunder are in the same conversation as the Celtics when it comes to offensive efficiency this season. OKC is scoring just 104 points a game in their first three contests. Their 39% field goal percentage is worst in the league.
The grossest part of the Thunder’s early season has been their three point percentage. The Thunder are 7% behind the pace of the rest of the league and are shooting a league worst 23.9%. That’s truly awful. In a game that is centered around the long distance shot in 2018, you will not win if you cannot shoot the three. So far, OKC hasn’t been able to and they haven’t won as a result.
The one positive aspect of the Thunder season on offense has been their work on the glass. With so many missed three pointers as a team, long rebounds have been coming to OKC quite easily. The team is averaging 16.3 offensive rebounds a game, many of which have come to Steven Adams. That’s where the game tonight will be decided on the point spread.
Defensively the Thunder have been middling. They did have one game against the Warriors. That can flaw a small sample size of scores. It is encouraging that OKC is only giving up 115 per game. It sounds high but isn’t in today’s league.
With one of their three games on the road against the leagues highest scoring team, OKC has held up to the defensive end of the bargain which may help them keep this game close. Boston hasn’t been world beating on offense. They’ll also be on the road here at Chesapeake Arena.
Celtics vs Thunder Trends
The Celtics are 4-1 against the spread in their last 5 games against the Western conference. Boston is 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games against a team with a losing record. The Celtics are 8-3 against the spread in their last 11 games.
The Thunder are 3-1-1 against the spread in their last 5 games against the Eastern conference. The Thunder are 23-9-1 ATS in their last 33 games following a double-digit loss.
The under is 4-0 in the Celtics last 4 games following a loss. The under is 5-0 in the Celtics last 5 following a game with a straight up loss as the result. The under is 4-0 in the Celtics last 4 games vs a team with a losing home record.
The under is 6-0 in the Thunders last 6 games following a double-digit home loss. The under is 4-1 in the Thunder’s last 5 overall. The under is 17-4 in the Thunder’s last 21 games when they allowed 125 points or more in the previous contest.
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Bet the Under 217.5 (-110)
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This has been the highest scoring start to an NBA season ever. It might be surprising that we’re leaning under here, but the circumstances and the trends suggest strongly that it will hit here. Not only does the math makes sense, but the situation does too.
Oklahoma City and Boston have been equally inadequate on offense. Boston is the stronger team on paper, but they’re on the road in this one. That means they likely will be grinding for a win against a pumped up OKC crowd.
The Thunder will still be getting used to the new offense. They’ve changed a ton with Dennis Schroeder and the loss of Andre Roberson and Carmelo Anthony. This is only Westbrook's second game back and it will be against the league’s best defense. That doesn’t spell an abundance of points to us.
This one likely stays in the 190-200 level. These teams have seen the 90’s in their first few games. That’s not something every team can say.