The Brooklyn Nets were on a tear without their best player before the All-Star Break, and it seems likely that Kevin Durant could miss another game or two as he gets his body back to 100 percent. And why rush the Durantula when you’ve got James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and now Blake Griffin in there to pick up the slack? Head coach Steve Nash is in a good spot here with all of the options at his disposal.
Free Picks: Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics
Brooklyn Begins Second Half With Big Win Over Boston (Season Betting Record: 55-55)
If this was at the TD Garden, we might consider the Boston Celtics spread here, but when these C’s have been travelling they have been terrible, posting an ugly 6-13 mark against the spread on the road this season. The return of Marcus Smart is a plus for the Celtics, but he’ll be limited for the first few games after he’s back.
Brooklyn has dominated this matchup over the past few years, covering the spread in the last four straight at the Barclays Center while doing the same in six of the past eight meetings overall. Since acquiring the Beard on January 13th, the Nets have the second-best record in the NBA at 17-7 despite very rarely sending out a lineup at full strength.
Beardo has been key in unlocking everyone else’s shooting—though he’s been no slouch from downtown either: Harden is among six Nets shooting at 40+ percent from deep while averaging at least one make per game. It would seem that this kind of sharpshooting is not exactly what the Celtics need to be dealing with right now.
Though they have been a solid team defending the three-point line this season, Boston has struggled over the past three weeks, allowing opponents to hit 14.2 threes (27th) at a 38.7 percent clip (21st) over that span. That significant advantage on the three-point should be enough to help the Nets cover on their -2.5 NBA point spread at -114 NBA odds.
Another of our top picks for this matchup is an over play on the game’s 234.5 point total at -111 NBA odds. The total being up that high might scare some people away from the over, but when you look at the over’s 10-5 record in Nets games with a total of 234.5 or more this season, you realize that the lofty number is actually a good omen.
These two teams have been scoring a ton recently as well. The Nets have been scoring 122.9 points per game over their last 10 contests, and the Celtics have been putting up 115.9 over that stretch, numbers that would leave us comfortably over the total on Thursday night. The total has hit the over in seven of Boston’s past nine games while 12 of Brooklyn’s past 16 games against Eastern Conference foes have done the same.
If you’re still hungry for another NBA pick, we’ve got one more little tasty nibble for you. This will be just the second game Irving has played against the Celtics since he left the franchise for Brooklyn’s greener pastures in 2019, and in his first game against his old comrades he put up 37 points at the TD Garden, which included a 7-for-10 mark from deep.
It would be a much less attractive wager if Durant does end up making his return on Thursday, but if the Durantula stays out, expect Uncle Drew to take on a majority of the scoring load. We like the over on his 26.5 points prop at -125 NBA odds to round out our NBA picks for this exciting Eastern Conference clash.
- Brooklyn is 16-4 SU against teams with a winning record this season
- Boston is 6-13 ATS on the road this season
- The total has gone over in 4 of the past 5 meetings
- Boston is 0-6 ATS in their last six road games
More NBA Free Pickssee more
The Los Angeles Clippers will renew hostilities with the Dallas Mavericks, who they dispatched in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
The Denver Nuggets and the league’s presumptive NBA MVP will look to get off to a strong start against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1.
The Golden State Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies in the final play-in game, which will determine the Western Conference’s eighth seed.
The Washington Wizards will host the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night with the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference on the line.
Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve.