The Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics have been hit with Covid-19 protocols like most of the league, so how do we handicap this inter-conference showdown?
Let’s take a look at the NBA odds to find out!
Golden State Warriors vs. Boston Celtics
Friday, December 17, 2021 – 07:30 PM EST at TD Garden
War of Attrition
Remember when the NBA shut down last March because Rudy Gobert licked a microphone and eventually tested positive for Covid? Good times. Now here we are just more than 18 months later and about 15 percent of the league’s players are in Covid protocols, leaving fans, owners, bettors and players all scratching their heads.
It’s a rough time to try and cover this stuff, but, at least for the bettors, there is some betting value being uncovered seemingly by the second.
As more players get ruled out and the Christmas Day slate of games looks grimmer and grimmer, there is still value in these totals and spreads despite some heavy movement due to players being ruled out. Finding an edge in this time can be done, but it’s maddening, to say the least.
The Celtics and Warriors had been somewhat spared from the Covid protocols up until this morning when Jordan Poole and Al Horford both got put on the list and ruled out for this game. Despite this, the line hasn’t moved much and I think that’s a mistake.
Poole has been an electric third scoring option for the Warriors this season behind Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins. Without him, the Dubs will probably have to lean more heavily on a committee approach to replace him, which could lead to their high-efficiency offense suffering some.
That being said, I doubt they hurt much on defense. Poole is a good defender, but the guys who will replace his minutes like Juan Tuscano-Anderson and Gary Payton II are very good defenders.
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Horford being out hurts the Boston defense, but not a lot. Robert Williams is a very capable defender down low and it’s not like the Warriors’ big men are that tough of an assignment anyway.
The Sharp Pick
With all this in mind, I’m betting the first half under here at 109. Boston already has a pretty good first-half defense. Second halves are where they have struggled in that area, but so far this season at home, the C’s have a respectable 107.8 defensive rating in the first halves.
Combine that with a pace that ranks 27th at home and in the first half and you can tell what their strategy will be in this game. The Warriors will try and push the pace as much as possible, but their defense will surely take control of the game one way or another.
Golden State ranks 11th in first-half road defense and over their last five games, ranks third-best in the first half, holding their opponents to just 96.4 points per 100 possessions. With Boston’s offense very top-heavy and the Warriors’ defense still playing well, the under in the first half is my top NBA pick for this game.
Combined with being without Poole, I will be surprised if both teams get above 55 points here.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.