With Boston missing their best interior defender, the C’s could be vulnerable tonight when attempting to defend center Walker Kessler. Find out more about this mismatch by reading our Celtics vs. Jazz betting picks.
The Boston Celtics enter tonight in hot pursuit of the top spot in the Eastern Conference, sitting just a game and a half back of Milwaukee as we come down to the final stretch of the regular season.
Meanwhile, the Jazz seem to be safely in the play-in tournament but also must avoid a late-season collapse. This will be the second time Utah has met Boston since former Celtics president Danny Ainge came out of retirement to become the CEO of the Jazz.
Let’s break down how this one should go in our free NBA picks and predictions for Celtics vs. Jazz on March 18.
We don’t have the full injury report here for the Boston Celtics since they are on a back-to-back, but we do know Robert Williams III will miss this one yet again. It’ll mark his eighth straight absence due to injury, and Boston has really missed his presence inside.
The Celtics have allowed just 62.1% shooting on guarded looks inside of six feet this season, but that number has ballooned to 65.6% since Williams went down seven games ago.
Surprisingly, the team has leveled itself in the rebounding department, which means I don’t necessarily want to attack Boston with a player combo or rebounding prop. I want to find a way to profit from its inability to guard the paint.
Enter Utah Jazz center, Walker Kessler.
Kessler has averaged 12.3 points per game over his last six and has played north of 30 minutes on average. The big man has also hit this Over in three of his last four, so I’ll go ahead and back him for a big night.
My best bet: Walker Kessler Over 10.5 points (-115)
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The Celtics are a hot bet in this one, garnering 82% of the spread tickets. With that said, only 74% of the handle is on Boston over at DraftKings. This means we’re seeing a bit of sharp action on the other side here.
That makes sense, as Boston hasn’t really been itself the last month, going 4-6 against the spread as it hits a bit of a wall. A four-point spread may seem short, but this team will be hurting with Williams out and the duo of Malcolm Brogdon and Payton Pritchard looking unlikely to play. That’s not even mentioning the fact that the Celtics are on the second night of a back-to-back here, and shorthanded on top of that.
Unfortunately for Utah, this is where the team has thrived all year. The Celtics are 8-2 ATS on no rest and a decent enough 19-17 ATS on the road. The Jazz have been coming on strong lately with four straight wins ATS, though it should be said they’ve lost five of seven and have been covering against some underachieving teams.
As unappealing as it sounds, I would lean towards laying the points here with the Celtics. Their defense is still second-best in the NBA over the last seven games and should have no problems handling Utah.
The Over has now hit in five of the last six for Utah and is 5-4 in Boston’s last nine.
I’d lean towards backing another high-scoring game here, considering Boston hasn’t been the same defensively with Williams sidelined.
Utah ranks 12th in Pace for the season but comes in at fourth over its last seven games. This is going to be a pace-up spot for an offense that has been historically very strong on the second night of back-to-backs.
For the Celtics, Jayson Tatum is also coming off a scorching-hot shooting performance and can go off on any given night.
The Over is 11-5 this season when Boston is at a rest disadvantage. Find more NBA betting trends for Celtics vs. Jazz.
|Location:||Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT|
|Date:||Saturday, March 18, 2023|
|Tip-off:||9:00 p.m. ET|
|TV:||AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountains, NBC Sports Boston|
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