Celtics vs Lakers Picks and Predictions: L.A.'s Inconsistency Haunts It Again

The Celtics already beat the Lakers big in Boston this season, and now the NBA's most historic rivalry swings out west for a meeting in Los Angeles. Find out if the Lake Show can get revenge, or if it'll be a Boston double, with our NBA picks.

Rohit Ponnaiya - Betting Analyst at Covers.com
Rohit Ponnaiya • Betting Analyst
Dec 7, 2021 • 12:53 ET • 4 min read
Jayson Tatum Boston Celtics NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

There are only three games on the NBA betting board this Tuesday, headlined by the historic rivalry between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.

Both of these franchises entered the season with hopes of adding another championship banner but are hovering around .500, with the Lakers installed as slim 2.5-point home favorites for tonight's contest at Staples Center (don't @ me with that Crypto.com nonsense).

Here are our best free Celtics vs. Lakers NBA picks and predictions for December 7, with tipoff at 10 p.m. ET. 

Celtics vs Lakers odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

This line opened with the Lakers at -2, with the Over/Under at 219. Early money has come in on the home side and the Over, shifting the line to Lakers -2.5 and the total to 220. When these teams played against each other on November 19, Boston won 130-108 as a 1-point home favorite.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until tip-off and be sure to check out the full NBA odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Celtics vs Lakers predictions

Predictions made on 12/07/2021 at 12:05 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Celtics vs Lakers game info

Location: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
Date: Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Tip-off: 10:00 p.m. ET

Celtics vs Lakers betting preview


Celtics: Romeo Langford SG (Probable), Al Horford C (Probable), Jaylen Brown SG (Questionable).
Lakers: Lebron James SF (Probable), Anthony Davis PF (Probable), Carmelo Anthony F (Questionable), Avery Bradley SG (Questionable), Trevor Ariza SF (Out), Kendrick Nunn PG (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Lakers are 1-8 ATS in their last nine games versus a team with a winning straight-up record. Find more NBA betting trends for Celtics vs. Lakers.

Celtics vs Lakers picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

The Lakers are coming off a 119-115 loss to the Clippers on Friday, which dropped their record to 12-12 SU (8-16 ATS). They entered this season with the second-best odds of winning the NBA Championship but have struggled out of the gate, with both injuries and identity issues plaguing the team. Although superstar forward LeBron James has missed 12 games with various injuries, they haven't been much better with him in the lineup, going 7-5 SU and 2-10 ATS in the 12 contests King James has played in. 

The Celtics are coming off a 145-117 win in Portland on Saturday night, which made them 3-1 SU and ATS in their last four games. Like the Lakers, the Celtics have dealt with injuries this season and while both Al Horford and Romeo Langford are expected to return to the lineup today, Jaylen Brown is day-to-day with a hamstring injury that has been bothering him for the last month. 

The biggest dropoff for the Lakers has come on the defensive end, with Los Angeles allowing the second-most points per game in the league (113.4 ppg) after holding foes to the second-fewest ppg last season. The Lakers haven't been much better on the other end of the floor, ranking 22nd in the league in offensive rating.

The Celtics haven't been great this season but they rank 17th in offensive rating and ninth in defensive rating. They've also done a good job of covering on the road (8-2 ATS in their last 10) and as underdogs (5-1 ATS in their last six). Meanwhile, the Lakers are 8-21 ATS in their 29 games at home while going 6-19-1 ATS in their previous 26 contests as chalk. 

With the Celtics also going 6-0 ATS (4-2 ATS) in the last six meetings between these foes, including a 22-point victory against L.A. earlier this season, back them on the spread. 

Prediction: Celtics +2.5 (-110)

Another strong head-to-head trend is the Over, with seven of the last eight meetings between these teams going above the total.

Thanks to Russell Westbrook joining the Lake Show in the offseason, they run at the second-fastest tempo in the league, which means plenty of points on both ends of the floor. With LeBron, Westbrook, and Anthony Davis all averaging over 20 points a night, this is a team that can fill up the bucket to the tune of 111.7 ppg.

We mentioned that the Lakers have taken a massive step back on defense but the Celtics have also regressed in that area over the last few years. After ranking near the top of the league in scoring defense for years, the Celtics fell to 14th in scoring defense last season and are 15th this year, allowing 106.5 ppg.

However, the Cs have sizzled on offense in their last two games, scoring 130 points on 52 percent shooting against Utah and dropping 145 points on 56 percent shooting versus Portland, despite missing Brown in both contests. With the Lakers going 6-1-1 O/U in their last eight home games, back the Over tonight. 

Prediction: Over 220 (-110)

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is shooting just 40.6 percent from the field this season, far lower than his career field goal percentage of 45.2. Despite some cold shooting he's still leading the team with 25.2 ppg and getting plenty of minutes and shots. Tatum is third in the NBA with 36.7 minutes per game, while tying Paul George for the league lead with 21.7 field goal attempts per game. 

He's also rounding into form lately, dropping at least 30 points in six of his last 10 games, including a 37-point performance against the Lakers less than three weeks ago.

With the Lakers getting torched on the defensive end of the floor and Brown hobbled by that hamstring injury, take the Over on Tatum's points total tonight. 

Pick: Tatum Over 27.5 points (-105)

NBA parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s NBA Celtics vs. Lakers predictions and picks in a single-game parlay, you could win $61.16 on a $10 bet?

Use our NBA parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

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