The Rockets are short home favorites over the Celtics on Tuesday night as Boston looks to extend its seven-game winning streak.
We build the blueprint for betting this marquee matchup on the NBA basketball odds board, from our favorite bets for the side and total to some quick-paying picks and prop plays.
The Celtics are enjoying their longest winning streak since the opening month of the season and will try to make it eight in a row Tuesday against the Rockets. Boston is coming off a dramatic 112-111 road win over the Thunder on Sunday afternoon, improving to 15-10 on the road.
Houston has dropped two in a row after a gut-wrenching 114-113 home setback to the Jazz on Sunday night. Utah’s Bojan Bogdanovic nailed the game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds.
Boston’s defense is ranked fifth in the NBA allowing just 26.6 points in the first quarter this season. Both teams have been profitable to the Under in the opening stanza with Houston cashing it 16 out of 26 games at home.
Pick: Under 56.5 First Quarter
Eric Gordon will miss his second straight game due to a leg contusion and will have the entire All-Star Break to get healthy. Gordon played just nine minutes and scored four points against the Suns last Friday. Prior to that, he had averaged 19.6 points over his last six games including a 50-point outburst against the Jazz back on Jan. 27.
Boston’s defense has been the strength of the season all season. The Celtics are ranked 2nd in the NBA in first-half scoring allowing just 52.7 points per game. Expect a better defensive effort from the Rockets after Sunday’s gut-wrenching loss.
Pick: Under 112.5 First Half Total
Russell Westbrook has been the most consistent scorer on the Rockets of late and is averaging 35.7 points on 52.0 percent shooting over his last seven games. Westbrook has scored at least 30 points while shooting 50-percent or better 10 times this season including eight since the start of January.
The Rockets will continue to utilize their undersized lineup with no player above 6-foot-7. The extra space has allowed Westbrook to get to the basket, which has resulted in fewer outside shots. The All-Star has attempted just 14 triples over his past 10 games. Westbrook will exceed the 30-point mark for the seventh time in eight games as Boston will likely key in on stopping James Harden.
Pick: Russell Westbrook Over 29.5 Points
Boston was one of the most profitable Under teams in the NBA this season until this most recent stretch of four games where three have exceeded the total. The Rockets have also trended Under with 30 out of their 53 games staying below the total.
Westbrook and Harden are two of the highest-scoring teammate duos in the NBA this season, which has led to inflated totals in Rocket games. Boston has played true to its numbers and is ranked second in the NBA allowing 105.5 points per game this season.
The inefficient Houston offense has struggled at times, especially when Westbrook and Harden are having off nights. The Rockets are ranked 21st in 3-point shooting (34.8%) and 22nd in overall shooting (45.2%). Keep riding the Boston defense as the Under trend between these two teams will continue.
Pick: Under 230.5
Shutting down the NBA's leading scorer James Harden is the key to stopping the Rockets. Houston is just 8-12 this season when Harden fails to crack the 34-point mark compared to 16-2 when he scores at least 40 points. Harden shot just 2-of-13 from 3-point range in Sunday’s loss to the Jazz but did record a triple-double with 28 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.
Houston won both meetings between these two teams last season by an average of 12.5 points, something head coach Brad Stevens will likely remind his team prior to this matchup. These two will meet again in Boston after the All-Star break on Feb. 29.
Jayson Tatum recorded his seventh double-double of the season in Sunday’s win over the Thunder with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Tatum has emerged as one of the best all-around players in the league and will be making his first All-Star Game appearance this weekend.
Boston’s depth has been a strength, with Tatum flanked by fellow all-star Kemba Walker. Jaylen Brown is also expected to play despite an injured ankle. With another small lineup expected for Houston, center Daniel Theis should have success inside. Theis held Thunder center Steven Adams to just four points on 2-of-10 shooting Sunday. Boston out-muscles Houston to earn its eighth straight win.
Pick: Celtics Moneyline (+110)