San Antonio Spurs vs. Boston Celtics – NBA, April 30, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| April 30, 2021 7:50 am PDT

The Spurs travel to Boston to take on the Celtics in this cross-conference matchup tonight. A win for the Spurs could lift them above the Grizzlies, but with Memphis taking on Orlando tonight, that looks unlikely. However, they won’t want to lose ground on them either, so a win is a must here tonight.

The Celtics are trying to put out the flames of the Miami Heat as they are on their coattails for the final automatic playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. It’s San Antonio that has enjoyed things between these two as of late, having won five of their previous six encounters.

The last of those meetings was at the end of January when the Spurs won a close matchup 110-106. The difference between them on the night was the Spurs’ superb shooting from in and around the paint as they finished the game with a field goal percentage of 56%.

The Spurs have also enjoyed their time in Boston, having won nine of their last ten visits to the TD Garden. It must almost feel like home when they step on the court there. The thing that has given the Spurs the edge in these games appears to be their superior rebounding, as they have dominated this area against the Celtics.

Let’s look at the betting trends for each team, and then I will provide my Spurs vs. Celtics betting prediction.

Spurs vs. Celtics Odds

Spurs +4.5-110
Celtics -4.5-110
Spurs to Win+167
Celtics to Win-182
Over 224.5 Points-110
Under 224.5 Points-110

The spread is about right here, but for those who love to follow the trends, then the four and a half point lead for the Spurs must look attractive. The total points look a couple of points on the high side and could be another avenue to explore.

Oddly enough, when they last met, the spread and the points total were identical, and the Spurs ended up winning the match straight up, and the points total went under. Can lightning strike twice?

The Spurs have a fantastic record of 20-8-1 on the road this season against the spread. They have only lost two of 12 games against the spread when playing away to east coast teams. Lastly, nine of their 12 matches on the road against Eastern Conference opponents have seen the points total go over.

Spurs Summary

The Spurs’ three-game win streak came to an end last time out in a match that the Celtics would have wanted them to win, as it came against the Miami Heat, who are battling Boston for the final automatic playoff spot in the east.

It was a topsy-turvy game, but a 17-0 run for the Heat was the telling factor in the second half, and they hung on to win by four.

San Antonio has been one of the best teams on the road in the Western Conference, having won 18 of their 29 away fixtures. This record is only bettered by the team in the second spot, the Phoenix Suns.

The defeat to Miami also ended a four-game win streak on the road for the Spurs. However, with the news that Derrick White is likely to miss the remainder of the season, you have to wonder can they maintain this superb record?

Here are the latest betting trends for San Antonio.

  • San Antonio is 5-1-1 in their last seven games against the spread.
  • Six of their previous eight matches have gone under the betting total.
  • The Spurs have won five of their last seven games.
  • They have lost only one of their previous six matches against the spread when facing Boston.
  • San Antonio has won 16 of their last 18 games against the Celtics.
  • They haven’t lost any of their previous five matches against the spread on the road.
  • Eight of their last 11 games against Eastern Conference opposition have seen the points total go over.
  • Only one of their previous eight matches against teams based in the Atlantic Division has failed to go over the betting total.

The two biggest things for me here are; first, the Celtics don’t appear to know how to defeat the Spurs, and secondly, the bookmakers have continually underestimated the Spurs this season.

The Spurs have a relatively poor offense this season that has struggled to make baskets often. This has especially been the case from a distance where they are only making 35% of their shots.

However, as their record on the road might suggest, they have performed slightly better in attack on their travels, averaging a couple more points per game.

They use the ball very well as they have made the second-lowest number of turnovers in the NBA this season, narrowly behind Portland. This is predominantly down to how well-coached they are. As you can see, they have a game plan when they step onto the court each night.

Their defense has been better but would still be considered average compared to the rest of the teams in the league.

They are also conceding two fewer points on the road this season, and therefore combined with their attack, they are averaging four more points per game.

After analyzing their games, it would appear they press much higher on the road than they do at home, which has worked much better for them. However, you must wonder why they haven’t adopted this approach at home, given how well it has worked on their travels.

As previously mentioned, the Spurs will miss White for the remainder of the season, and they will also be without Lyles this evening as he is also suffering from an ankle injury.

Celtic’s Summary

In stark contrast to tonight’s opponents, the Celtics ended a run of three straight defeats last time out by beating the Hornets comfortably by nine. Boston flew out of the gate and led by 20-points at the end of the first quarter, and they never looked back on their way to a comprehensive victory.

Their form at home is good and is like the Spurs away record, but the Celtics have won one more and lost one fewer. They have been a little inconsistent as of late, having alternated wins and defeats over their previous five matches.

Here are the latest betting trends for Boston.

  • The Celtics have lost four of their previous six matches against the spread.
  • Six of their last nine games have gone over the betting total.
  • Boston is 10-5 in their previous 15 matches.
  • Only two of their last ten games against the Spurs have failed to go over the points total.
  • The total has gone under in 11 of their previous 15 home matches.
  • The Celtics have won seven of their last eight games against the spread when taking on teams from the Western Conference.
  • They have lost six of their previous eight matchups against the spread when playing against teams based in the Southwest Division.

There is very little to go on here, which perhaps highlights how inconsistent the Celtics have been this season. As I have discussed week after week, the Celtics have been a talking team all season as one week they look like works beaters and other weeks they look like they couldn’t beat any team in the world.

It’s frustrating to watch with players like Jaylen Brown in their line-up since they should be doing much better. Here is some of what he can bring to the dance.

The Celtics have an average offense this season that is averaging 112-points per game. They, too, have struggled with their shooting this season, but their troubles have stemmed from in and around the paint as their three-point shooting has been good, unlike their opponents tonight.

Boston has been excellent at making rebounds in attack and should be confident of winning this battle and ending the Spurs’ dominance in this area.

Their defense has been good, but much like their opponents here, they have struggled against teams that are good at making three-pointers.

The Celtics also only have a minor injury list. However, like the Spurs, they are missing a key player in Walker, who is out with a hip injury.

Spurs vs. Celtics Betting Pick

This is a game that excites me as I believe these are two evenly matched teams. If the Spurs had White available tonight, I think it would be closer to being a straight-up ‘pick em’ game.

With that said, I still believe they could offer value tonight as it is hard to ignore their record against the Celtics. I also think it’s always worth taking on a team that is so inconsistent like the Celtics are this season.

Especially coming up against a team as well-disciplined as the Spurs are this year. I believe the Spurs will slow the game down and frustrate the Celtics, who like to play fast-paced basketball. Take the Spurs with the handicap to win this one.

Pick
  • +4.5
    -110

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