MetroBet tackles a pair of games on the NBA slate for Thursday night.
Boston Celtics (-2.5) at Miami Heat
Moneyline: Celtics -135, Heat +105
Betting Total: 212 points
Time (Eastern), TV: 7 p.m., TNT
The Boston Celtics are riding high into Thursday night’s contest with the Miami Heat as they’ve won four straight, including a Wednesday night thumping of the Indiana Pacers (135-108). By contrast, Miami’s offense has looked lost this week, as they failed to top 100 points in consecutive clashes with the Hawks and Nuggets.
Boston’s offense has exceeded 110 points in nine straight tilts. During this run, the Celtics are 7-2 against the spread. They’ve shot above 48 percent in five of their last six contests despite relying firmly on the three-pointer, as they’ve registered at least 12 makes from beyond the arc in four straight games.
Miami and Boston could not be more different when it comes to free throw shooting. The Heat are 29th in the league by percentage while the Celtics are sixth and have registered 80 percent or better on their free throws in eight of their last nine tilts.
The Heat’s solid defense (sixth by points per game) will keep Boston from running away with this one (and the lack of rest won’t help the Celtics either), but Kyrie Irving and company should prevail by a comfortable margin.
Prediction: Celtics win, 109-101
The play: Celtics -2.5
Los Angeles Clippers at Denver Nuggets (-6)
Moneyline: Clippers +200, Nuggets -240
Betting Total: 226 points
Time (Eastern): 9 p.m.
The Denver Nuggets are not the flashiest team in the stacked Western Conference, but their ability to do the dirty work better than most clubs, the Los Angeles Clippers included, should propel them to victory on Thursday night at the Pepsi Center.
The Nuggets, who are 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 home games, own an outstanding 11.2-point differential as the host team this season. The Clippers’ point differential on the road is minus-0.3.
Denver should dominate in the rebounding department. On average, the Nuggets out-rebound opponents by 7.4 a night. Meanwhile, L.A. is typically out-rebounded by 1.7 a night. Assist-to-turnover ratio is a source of strength for the Nuggets and a serious weak point for the Clippers. Denver’s assist-to-turnover ratio on offense is 2.16, while L.A.’s is just 1.46. On defense, the Nuggets allow just a 1.65 assist-to-turnover ratio, while the Clippers surrender exactly two assists for every turnover they force.
Nikola Jokic, who registered his fourth triple-double of the season when last seen (29 points, 10 assists, 11 rebounds against Miami on Tuesday), should post a solid overall game as the Nuggets’ fourth-ranked defense (105.5 points per game allowed) stymies the Clippers at every turn.
Prediction: Nuggets win, 117-106
The play: Nuggets -6