San Antonio Spurs vs. Boston Celtics Pick
San Antonio Spurs (42-31 SU, 40-31-2 ATS) vs. Boston Celtics (43-30 SU, 35-37-1 ATS)
When: Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 7:30 PM ET
Where: TD Garden – Boston, MA
Point Spread: SA +2 / BOS -2
Power Rankings: Boston -3
Takeaways from San Antonio and Boston’s Most Recent Games
The Spurs were defeated on the road Friday when they were action against their arch-rivals the Houston Rockets. San Antonio fell to Houston by a score of 111-105. In against the spread markets, a push came as a result of the Spurs closing as a six-point underdog.
The Celtics losing streak extended to three games after losing last night to the Charlotte Hornets in the Queen City. The Celtics were defeated 124-117 as a four-point favorite.
How the Public is Betting the San Antonio-Boston Game
As a result of action coming in early on the Spurs, we have seen this market move downward by half of a point from the Celtics opening as a 2.5-point favorite. Despite the line movement, 70% of the consensus like Boston as the favorite.
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The Spurs and Celtics last met on New Year’s Eve in San Antonio with the Spurs winning 120-111. San Antonio closed as a 1.5-point underdog and extended their win and cover streak against Boston to two games.
Neither side has expressed any injury concerns to key personnel heading into this cross-conference collision.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
San Antonio will be playing this game on two days’ rest as this contest is the second match within a three-game road trip that wraps up in Charlotte on Tuesday. On the flip side, Boston is back home for one game before they journey back at to Cleveland on Tuesday. The Celtics will be playing this contest on one day’s rest. In back-to-backs, the Celtics have gone 5-5 SU on the season, but they have been quite overvalued in these games as they are 3-6-1 ATS.
How Will San Antonio’s Shooting Game Fare Against Boston’s Solid D?
San Antonio is garnered as one of the better shooting teams in all of the NBA. The Spurs sit second in the NBA in field goal efficiency (47.8%) and they are the best team in the league in hitting three-point shots (39.7%) and free throw percentage (82.3%). The problem for San Antonio is that they are going up against a Boston team that creates all kind of issues for the shooting operations of their opponents. Boston sits fourth in opponent field goal percentage (44.8%) and opponent three-point percentage (34.1%). Needless to say, the Celtics are not going to let the Spurs dial-up so easy. Moreover, Boston sits 11th in the NBA in opponent free throw percentage (76.4%), so they won’t be quick to give away free points either. This can play a huge detriment to San Antonio’s game plan.
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Can Boston Take Advantage of Perimeter Possibilities?
A key advantage for Boston to exploit offensively will be their three-point game against San Antonio’s perimeter defense. The Spurs sit 25th in the NBA in opponent three-point percentage (36.4%) which bodes well for Boston as they sit sixth in the league in three-point percentage themselves (36.4%). The C’s will go their three-point game to get to the front and should have no trouble doing so. Boston will also lean on their seventh-ranked scoring defense (107.7 points per contest) to mitigate the Spurs’ offensive operations. Overall, San Antonio’s scoring ability could be classed as pedestrian as they average a 16th-ranked 111.7 points per match. So needless to say Boston doesn’t have a tall order ahead of it. Moreover, Boston will attempt to hold any lead it builds by utilizing the highlighted advantages I mentioned above in limiting opponent shooting success to slow down San Antonio. In the event Boston gets hot from three-point range, the Spurs could be in for a long night.
Overall San Antonio has been a cash cow against Boston as they are 8-2 ATS in the previous ten matches between these two teams. For Over/Under plays, the Over is 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings between these two combatants.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Boston -2
San Antonio’s spate of success against Boston in point spread markets may make them appear as a commodity, but it only sets them up to be overvalued. Backing an overvalued team with a poor 13-23 SU road record is not a good position to find oneself when the line is merely a bucket. Furthermore, I wonder how San Antonio’s psyche will be heading into Boston after what transpired in Houston. The Spurs trailed the Rockets by as much as 19 in the earlier stages of the game. Then San Antonio would respond and surge forward to lead by as much as six points with just over four minutes remaining in the contest before undisciplined defense led them to collapse and lose by six points. Emotionally this could be a draining experience that could lead to San Antonio to come in flat.
Nevertheless, the end result in Houston would be classed as a run of the mill performance for San Antonio as they are outscored by 4.6 points on average this season when they are away from home. Unfortunately for the Spurs, they are facing a Boston team that is staunch on their own court. The C’s are 26-11 SU in Boston, and they outscore opponents by 8.1 points on average in the TD Garden. Both of these narratives will put a San Antonio cover out of reach should this game go according to the averages as the Spurs are only taking back a bucket here. This makes Boston a must-play. Be that as it may, I am firm that the Celtics will win this one by perhaps ten or more points.