NBA Picks: Boston Celtics vs. Dallas Mavericks

Boston Celtics at Dallas Mavericks
Monday, 2/20/12, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  TNT
Opening Point Spread:  Dallas -6
Current Betting Line:  Dallas -6
Opening Total:  181
Current Total:  182
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki has always performed well against the Boston Celtics

Boston will look to snap a three-game losing streak Monday night when taking on the Dallas Mavericks, dropping a 96-81 contest to the Detroit Pistons as 4.5-point road favorites on Sunday.  “We just pretty much gave them everything they wanted tonight,” stated Celtics forward Paul Pierce.  He came into the contest leading four double-digit scorers in the starting lineup, averaging 17.3 points per game.  Offensively, the team has averaged just 84.2 points over the past six games.  Boston is 3-5 ATS when playing on back-to-back days and the “under” is 5-3 in that situation.

The Celtics have played just 10 road games this year, which includes just a single game against a Western Conference opponent.  Boston was handed a 90-85 loss as five-point home favorites in the first series meeting between Dallas this year, while the “under” has cashed in five of the past six games.  Pierce led the team in scoring in dropping both meetings a year ago, averaging 18.0 points.

Dallas returns home after splitting its two-game road trip that includes a 104-97 loss to the New York Knicks as two-point road favorites on Sunday afternoon.  The Mavericks came into that game riding a six-game win streak.  “I thought we had the game under control, and then the fourth quarter, that really got the crowd back into it,” stated Mavericks star forward Dirk Nowitzki.  He will likely lead the charge offensively in this affair, averaging 27.5 points per game versus the Celtics since the 2002-03 campaign.  Dallas is 9-7 ATS at home and the “under” is 11-6 in that situation.

The matchup between these two teams features five of the top seven active NBA scoring leaders, with Nowitzki ranking third on that list.  Dallas point guard Jason Kidd hopes to play better after being outperformed by Jeremy Lin on Sunday, scoring just eight points and finishing with more turnovers (five) than assists (four).  It’s important to note that the squad has won three straight games in the series, but all of them have been decided by five points or less.  The Mavericks have also won 12 of the last 16 series meetings in the Lone Star State.

Bettors will likely back the Mavericks due to their 13-4 ATS mark as a home favorite of 5.0 to 10.5 points, while the Celtics are 1-5 ATS versus winning home teams.

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