NBA Picks: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics

Celtics Heat NBA Playoff Game 3 Preview
The Boston Celtics have won all five of their games since PG Rajon Rondo was lost for the season

Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics
Thursday, 2/7/13, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  TNT
Opening Point Spread:  Boston -2.5
Current Betting Line:  Boston -1
Opening Total:  196
Current Total:  194.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Los Angeles has won six of its last seven games, including a 92-83 victory over the Brooklyn Nets as four-point road underdogs last time out, while going UNDER the total for the third time in four contests.  The Lakers will be playing without the services of Pau Gasol (foot), while center Dwight Howard (shoulder) will likely miss his fourth straight game.  “If Pau can’t go and Dwight can’t go, we have to figure some things out,” stated Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.  Los Angeles is 0-3 ATS as road underdogs of three points or less the last two-plus seasons, with the UNDER going 3-0 in that situation.

The Lakers are 8-16 away from the Staples Center this year, which is important to consider when looking over the pro basketball odds page.  Los Angeles is 6-4 against Boston in its last 10 regular-season meetings, while it has won four consecutive games at the TD Garden.  Offensively, the team ranks sixth in the league in averaging 102.1 points per game, while its defense is surrendering 100.5.

Boston has won and covered the spread in its last five games, as it comes off a 99-95 victory over the Toronto Raptors as 3.5-point road underdogs Wednesday night, while going OVER the total for the third time in that stretch.  The Celtics were led offensively by center Kevin Garnett last night, as he finished with a season-high 27 points.  “He’s been phenomenal,” commented Celtics forward Paul Pierce.  Boston is 4-5 ATS when playing on back-to-back days, which can’t be ignored when making your NBA picks against the spread.

The Celtics are 17-9 at home this season, including a 9-3 mark versus Western Conference opponents.  Boston dropped both head-to-head meetings a year ago in this series, including an 88-87 setback as 3.5-point home favorites on Feb. 9.  Defensively, the team ranks fourth in the NBA in allowing just 92.6 points per game since February, while limiting foes to a league-worst 42.2 percent shooting from the field in that period of time.

Sports bettors will likely back the Celtics due to their 4-0 ATS run at home, while the Lakers are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games versus Atlantic Division foes.

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