One of the most anticipated matchups of the young NBA season takes place today as the 13-2 Boston Celtics host the 11-3 Golden State Warriors (8pm ET Thursday on TNT).
Both teams are on substantial winning streaks coming into the contest. The Celtics have won 13 in a row after starting 0-2, and the Warriors have now triumphed seven straight times. Boston’s defense has been the main reason behind its streak and the Warriors have been great on both ends in their stretch of dominance.
So which streak will end today? Let’s examine what factors to watch for in the contest before deciding which sides to bet on for the contest’s posted lines from the United States’ oddsmakers. We will give this preview’s picks and betting predictions at the end.
Will Either All-Star Point Guard Show Ill Effects From Their Minor Injuries?
There is a great individual rivalry at the point guard position in this matchup. Kyrie Irving of the Celtics and Stephen Curry of the Warriors have met in the past two NBA Finals while Irving was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Each team won the series one time.
Both point guards should play, but they are dealing with minor injuries. Curry has a thigh injury that kept him out of Monday’s game against the Orlando Magic. Irving suffered a facial fracture that sidelined him for essentially two whole games to start the week, but now he is playing with a mask.
The pair may or may not guard each other, but they do lead their respective offenses with their spectacular skill sets. If either guy is inefficient or just not feeling well enough to dominate, their squad’s offense will suffer.
How Well Will the Warriors Cash in From Three-Point Range?
The Warriors’ three-point shooting versus the Celtics’ three-point defense is a classic “unstoppable force versus immovable object” battle.
Golden State is second in the NBA in threes made per game (13.4) and tops in percentage from out there (41.2). Boston yields the sixth-fewest long-distance makes (8.4) while allowing a fourth-lowest percentage of 32.8.
The Celtics are extremely versatile on the defensive end of the floor and do a great job getting back in transition. However, the Warriors have elite shot-makers like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Nick Young, all of whom can catch fire with or without a contest.
Will Celtics’ Young Bench Step Up Against Warriors’ Battle-Tested Reserves?
There’s a huge difference in age and experience between the two benches in this matchup. Boston plays reserves Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Semi Ojeleye, Daniel Theis and Shane Larkin sizable minutes — all five of them are 25 years old or younger. This is a good bench, but it’s not experienced.
Meanwhile, Golden State utilizes Andre Iguodala, David West, Shaun Livingston, JaVale McGee, Nick Young and Omri Casspi. All six of these players are at least 29 years old and have started more than 100 games in their careers.
The youthful exuberance of the Celtics’ bench could pay dividends in this matchup. However, the Warriors’ experience could also be the deciding factor here.
Our Preview’s Golden State Warriors vs. Boston Celtics Betting Picks & Predictions
This should be a fascinating game. The Celtics’ home crowd will be rowdy in excitement for the squad’s biggest game of the year to date. The Warriors will probably bring intensity and focus to this high-profile matchup.
Golden State should win, but I think the emotion of the Celtics will keep it close.
- Golden State is a 7-point favorite, despite being on the road here. Bet on the Celtics covering here. Bovada, 5Dimes, Bookmaker and BetOnline all are giving best odds of Celtics +7pts @ -110.
- This is a matchup of great defense versus great offense, though the Warriors also have a great defense when locked in. I expect a normal to lower-scoring game here, so go with the under 216pts @ -115 with Bovada. That is currently the highest mark offered by any bookmaker.