It’s not easy fading the Golden State Warriors, but the Boston Celtics belong in your NBA picks when they meet this Friday night.
Golden State Warriors vs. Boston Celtics
Friday, December 17, 2021 -7:30 PM EST at TD Garden
Is it safe to fade the Golden State Warriors yet? They’ve got the best record in the league at press time, and they’re the most profitable team too at 23-5 SU and 18-9-1 ATS, so it’s going to take some gumption. However, it does look like the Boston Celtics (14-14 SU, 15-13 ATS) are the right choice for Friday’s NBA picks. DraftKings opened the Celtics as 2.5-point home dogs, and they’ve already moved to +3.5 at Caesars Sportsbook. How chalky will Golden State get by tip-off?
Rest and Relaxation
Every point counts when you’re dealing with the Dubs. I could have used a few more points last Tuesday when I faded Golden State and recommended the New York Knicks, who moved from +4.5 to +5.5 before the close. Final score: Warriors 105, Knicks 96. But even with that win, the Dubs are still 4-3 SU and 3-4 ATS in their last seven games.
They look like a classic “sell high” team at this point. Also, the Celtics as constructed are much better than the Knicks. They’ve got issues, no doubt, but they’re 4-4 SU and ATS in their last eight, and they’re coming off a 117-103 win against the Milwaukee Bucks as 1-point home dogs on the NBA odds board. That game was Monday, so the C’s have an extra day of rest over Golden State.
Monday also saw the return of Jaylen Brown to the Boston lineup. This has been a rough season for Brown; the Celtics went 7-7 SU and 9-5 ATS in the games Brown has missed thus far, and now his name has been bandied about in trade rumors.
However, Brown looked more like his usual self against the Bucks, posting a 16.3 Game Score at Basketball Reference – Brown’s best score since he first landed on the injured list back in early November. Is he truly healthy this time? Brown may have returned too early on November 22, and the C’s went 3-2 SU and 2-3 ATS in his five games before he was put back in sickbay.
There was other missing personnel along the way, though. At this moment, Boston is pretty close to full strength; they got some good news on Wednesday when Josh Richardson was able to leave COVID-19 protocol and practice with the team after missing just one game.
Having both the Williamses in uniform will help Boston’s cause. Robert Williams has been an excellent fit in the frontcourt next to Al Horford, who’s been their best player in his return to Beantown. Third-year big man Grant Williams has also stepped up his game. But most importantly for this matchup, Brown’s return sends underperforming point guard Dennis Schröder back to the bench. Bet accordingly.
NBA Pick: Celtics +3.5 (–110) with Caesars