Detroit Pistons (44-16) +4, 183 at Boston Celtics (46-12), 7:30 pm Eastern Wednesday
by Zman of Predictem.com
In what could very well be a preview of the Eastern Conference finals, the Detroit Pistons visit Beantown for a showdown with the Boston Celtics Wednesday night.
NBA betting boards list Boston as four-point home favorites for Wednesday’s game, with a total of 183. Also, the Celtics are listed at around -220 on the moneyline, with Detroit getting +180 as road underdogs.
Since stumbling through a three-game losing streak in January, the Pistons have won 15 of their last 18 games, and five of their last six. In their most recent outing, Detroit had to rally to beat Seattle Tuesday 100-97 as 15-point home chalk.
Meanwhile, since experiencing a three-game losing streak of its own a couple of weeks ago, Boston has won five straight games, including a 98-88 decision over Atlanta Sunday.
So heading into Wednesday night’s bout, the Pistons lead the Central Division by 10 games over the second-place Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Celtics lead the Atlantic Division by 14 games over the second-place Toronto Raptors. But more importantly, Boston leads the race for the best record in the Eastern Conference by three games over Detroit.
The Pistons swept four games from the Celtics last season, but, of course, that was before Boston picked up Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in off-season trades. This season, these two teams have split two games, with each team winning on the road in low-scoring fashion (Detroit 87-85 and the Celtics 92-85). But Boston has had the upper hand statistically, outshooting the Pistons from the field 46% to 40%, and outrebounding Boston 87-70.
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This is the last of three regular-season meetings between these two teams this season, and could decide home-court advantage in a playoff series should these teams end up tied for the best record in the East.
Both of these teams have been good to their financial backers this season. Detroit is 34-25 against the spread, and 21-11 straight up and 17-14 vs. the numbers on the road, while the Celtics are 33-23 ATS, 26-4 SU and 16-13 vs. the numbers at home.
Boston leads the league in point differential at +9.7 per game, while the Pistons rank 2nd at +8.1.
Detroit is shooting 46% from the field as a team this season, 38% from 3-point range and 76% from the free-throw line. At the other end of the court, the Celts are shooting 48% from the floor, 39% from long range and 77% from the line.
Also, Boston ranks 7th in the league in rebounding at +1.8 boards per game, the Pistons 8th at +1.6. The Celtics lead the league in FG defense at 42%, Detroit 3rd at 44%. And these two teams rank 1-2 in scoring defense.
Boston recently signed veteran guard Sam Cassell, but he won’t join the team until later this week.
The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks Boston 1st at 98.4, the Pistons 2nd at 97.5. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 3.3.
The o/u is 28-31 in Detroit games this season, which are averaging 189 points per game, while the totals are 27-30 in Celtics games, which are averaging 191 points.
Zman’s Pick: Take the Celtics at -4.