Boston Celtics vs. Houston Rockets Prediction

by | Dec 27, 2018 | nba

Boston Celtics (20-13 SU, 17-16 ATS) vs. Houston Rockets (18-15 SU, 15-17-1 ATS)
When: Thursday, December 27th, 2018 – 8:00 PM ET
Where: Toyota Center – Houston, TX
TV: TNT
By: Keith Franks, Basketball Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: BOS +1 / HOU -1 (MyBookie)
Total: 215.5
Power Rankings: Houston -2

Takeaways From Boston and Houston’s Most Recent Games

The Celtics continue to roll as they have now extended their winning-streak to two games after enduring a three-game skid previous to this. Boston was last on the court on Christmas Day when they hosted rival Philadelphia on their own floor in Beantown. Despite overtime being required, the Celtics would notch the win against the Sixers by a score of 121-114 fostering a cover as a five-point favorite.

The Rockets also enter into this contest in stellar form as they have won seven of their last eight outings. Over this span, Houston has played six home games and did not lose one fixture on their own floor. In fact, the Rockets have not lost a game at home in nearly a month as their last home defeat was on November 28th against cross-state rival Dallas. In their most recent outing, Houston edged out Oklahoma City by a score of 113-109 to win outright as a one-point underdog.

How the Public is Betting the Boston-Houston Game

At the moment 61% of the betting public are diving into the low-hanging fruit next to Houston as the home favorite. Despite what appears to be a significant lean by the consensus on Clutch City, the line has descended by a point from the opening figure of Houston -2 to its present station.

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The Historicals

This has been a well-balanced series as a whole with each team winning three of the last six meetings overall. In the most recent episode in March, the Rockets defeated the Celtics 123-120 when they curated hosting duties. The Rockets failed to cover in this spot as an 8.5-point favorite.

Injury Concerns

There are significant concerns for Houston heading into this affair in the injury department. First off, the Rockets will be without the services of their franchise point guard Chris Paul but that injury dates back to last year’s playoffs. Secondly, the man Houston picked up in the off-season to render the Rockets a “super-team” forward Carmelo Anthony is also out due to an illness. Lastly, impact player shooting guard James Harden is listed as questionable with a calf injury. “The Beard” needs no introduction as he is capable of putting up MVP-like numbers on any given night.

Defense Wins Championships and the Celtics Buy In

The Celtics continue to play world-class defense without missing a beat. Boston are owners of the fourth-ranked scoring defense (105 points per game) that allows opponents to shoot just 44% from the field (4th in the NBA). Most significantly, the Celtics are third against the three-pointer as the opposition hits just 33% of their attempts from beyond the arc. This is a point of emphasis for Boston’s strategy as the Rockets love to unload from the perimeter with both Eric Gordon and James Harden if he suits up.

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Can The Sixth Man of The Year Continue To Be The Hero?

In 2017, Eric Gordon won the NBA’s Sixth Man of The Year Award thanks to his exceptional play off the bench in relief of both Paul and Harden. So far, Gordon has played an instrumental role in keeping this squad afloat. In his last three fixtures, EG has played exceptional averaging 18.3 points, 4.3 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and a block. He will once again have to step up if Houston wants to continue their winning ways. Be that as it may, Houston’s offense has seemingly missed a step in 2018 thanks to the injuries they sustained to key personnel. The Rockets sit 19th in scoring (109.3 points per game) and 24th overall in field goal percentage (44.7%).

Betting Trends

In particular, there is one trend that sticks out here in this match-up. The Celtics are 4-0 ATS in their previous four meetings with Houston. Overall, Boston is 6-1 ATS in the last seven contests between these two franchises. On the contrary, Houston takers may bank on the Home Team winning the last four games between these two parties.

Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Boston -106

Given the quality of Boston’s team, there are way too many variables working against Clutch City here to justify spotting the bucket with the Rockets. When comparing the two teams on paper, the Celtics are simply the better team if Houston is without Paul and Anthony even if Harden was at full health. This is because the Celtics feature five players that can score 20-plus points on any-given night (Irving, Hayward, Brown, Morris, and Tatum) and this is a tough test for any to tackle. However, this becomes an issue of depth now for Houston as their primary scoring weapons are either out indefinitely or in Harden’s case playing less than 100% or possibly taking a seat as well for this game. No matter how it sliced, Eric Gordon cannot get it done on his own if it ends up falling on him; especially against a team with as good a defense as Boston’s that will stick him like glue. Celtics win big here.

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