Celtics, 20-0 at Home, Host Nuggets in Potential Finals Preview

Nuggets vs Celtics Preview: Boston NBA Title Favorites at +320

The Boston Celtics will host the Denver Nuggets on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET) in a potential NBA Finals preview. Nearing the midway point of the regular season, both teams are the betting favorites in their respective conferences.

Boston is a 4.5-point favorite and -198 on the moneyline, with Denver priced +164 to win outright. The projected total is 232.5.

What should bettors expect? Read on as we break down the odds in our Nuggets vs Celtics preview.

Nuggets logo Denver Nuggets at Boston Celtics Celtics logo

Location: TD Garden; Boston
TV & Live Stream: ESPN, ESPN+

Betting Trends

The Denver Nuggets are 18-23-1 ATS, including just 7-14 away from home. It’s also only 18-23-1 against the Over/Under, although the total has gone Over in five of Denver’s last seven games. Conversely, the Boston Celtics are 21-18-2 ATS, including 13-7 at home. The Celtics have covered in 22 of their 41 games.

Be sure to remember these trends when assessing the odds in our Nuggets vs Celtics preview.

Jokic Heading MVP Race

Denver owns the third-best record in the Western Conference NBA standings at 28-14 but is just 3-3 over its last six games. It’s coming off a 126-121 loss to Philadelphia on Monday in which it was a 2-point underdog.

Nikola Jokic led Denver in scoring for the eighth time in 10 games, finishing with 25 points and 19 rebounds. Jokic leads the NBA with 12 triple-doubles and has overtaken Joel Embiid as the MVP favorite at +240. The Serbian center previously won the award in 2021 and 2022.

Oddsmakers remain bullish on the Nuggets, pricing them as +200 favorites to win the West. The defending champions also continue to own the second-shortest title odds, climbing to +450 from their opening price of +550. At the moment, only Boston (+320) is considered a bigger favorite.

Denver is 11-10 away from home but has covered in just 33% of those games. In fact, it hasn’t covered on the road since Dec. 22 against Brooklyn, a span of five games. The Nuggets’ cover rate of 43.9% is the sixth lowest in the NBA.

As an underdog, Denver is 1-3 ATS and OU. Its only win in that role came Nov. 27 against the Clippers, 113-104. Keep that in mind when analyzing the odds in our Nuggets vs Celtics preview.

Boston the Presumptive Title Favorite

The Celtics have positioned themselves as the NBA’s team-to-beat. Their league-best 32-9 start includes a spectacular 20-0 mark at home. They’re coming off a 117-98 win over San Antonio on Wednesday in which they covered as 14.5-point favorites.

Oddsmakers have reacted accordingly to the Celtics’ torrid start. They’re priced as +130 favorites in the Eastern Conference and +320 to win the NBA Finals, up from +400.

Jayson Tatum leads the Celtics in both scoring (27.1) and rebounding (8.4). They’re also getting solid production from Jaylen Brown, who is averaging 23.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals. But they could be without two other key starters in Kristaps Porzingis (knee) and Derrick White (ankle). Both missed Wednesday’s game with injuries and are listed as questionable to face the Nuggets.

The Celtics have been favored in 39 of their first 41 games, with the exception of a 144-119 win over Sacramento on Dec. 20 and a 135-102 loss to Milwaukee on Jan. 11. They’ve covered in three of their last four home games and are 13-7 ATS at TD Garden. The Celtics’ last home loss came in the 2023 NBA playoffs, Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to Miami.

Boston is 21-18-2 ATS and has also been profitable against the Over/Under with a mark of 22-19. It’s gone Over the total in 11 of its 20 home games.

Handicapping the Game

Over the last four seasons, Denver is 2-6 against Boston and has covered just twice. It’s hard to put too much stock into results from one year to the next, but it’s clear the Celtics have had their number.

The Nuggets are averaging a conference-high 54.8 points in the paint, and they could look to exploit that if the 7-foot-2 Porzingis, the Celtics’ top shot blocker, misses another game.

That said, the Celtics’ dominance at TD Garden can’t be ignored. In the Celtics’ last four home wins, they’ve outscored the opposition by an average of 21.7 points. This game is sure to be closer, but the Nuggets will still have their work cut out for themselves.

For betting news and analysis for NBA games today, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine

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