Celtics vs Suns Picks and Predictions: Phoenix Handles Boston With or Without Chris Paul

The Celtics don't exactly travel well, with both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum seeing dips in production on the road. With the Suns installed as home underdogs, our betting picks consider their chances at covering with or without Chris Paul.

Last Updated: Dec 7, 2022 11:06 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Devin Booker Phoenix Suns NBA
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NBA fans and bettors will be treated to a potential Finals preview on Wednesday night as the Boston Celtics square off with the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center.

The Celtics are off to a 2-0 start on a grueling six-game road trip, dispatching the Nets and the Raptors. The Suns just finished a Texas two-step, topping the Spurs before dropping one to the Mavericks the next night.

Can Devin Booker and the Suns outshine Jayson Tatum and the Celtics in Phoenix? Find out in our free NBA picks and predictions for Celtics vs. Suns on Wednesday, December 7.

Celtics vs Suns best odds

Celtics vs Suns picks and predictions

Suns point guard Chris Paul has missed 14 games since suffering a heel injury against the Sixers on Nov. 7, and his team has gone 9-5 without him. The 12-time All-Star is considered questionable tonight, but if sportsbooks were truly sold on his return here, they likely would have waited to post a point spread.

Bettors should operate under the assumption that Paul will once again be out. Even if he does suit up, his minutes figure to be limited. But Phoenix is far from hopeless without the Point God, and bettors should gladly take the points with the home underdog.

Devin Booker has had some huge nights without Paul, including each of his last two home games, where he went for 51 points against the Bulls and 44 against the Rockets. Booker uncharacteristically struggled on the road recently, settling for 20 points against the Spurs on Sunday and a mere 11 against the Mavericks this Monday. But getting back to Footprint Center could be just what the doctor ordered.

Cameron Payne has filled in at PG for Paul, and an increase in minutes has helped him realize career-highs in points per game (13), assists per game (5.8), and 3-pointers made (1.9). Payne should ensure that the Suns offense — seventh in the NBA by points per game (116.5) — operates smoothly against the Celtics’ 13th-ranked defense (112.6 points allowed per game).

Meanwhile, Boston has been highly reliant on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown this season, with the tandem combining for 47.7% of their club’s points per night. The two young stars are likely good for at least 20 points apiece in this contest, but that won’t be nearly good enough against a well-rounded Phoenix team. Roll with the Suns all the way up to the “pick ’em” range.

My best bet: Suns +2.5 (-114 at FanDuel)

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Celtics vs Suns spread analysis

The home/road splits suggest the Suns will prevail as underdogs in this spot, and even the trends would seem to favor Phoenix.

Payne and Mikal Bridges both see significant hikes in their points per game totals when playing at home compared to anywhere else this year. Payne rises from 12.4 points per game on the road to 13.6 at home, and Bridges from 14.8 to 16.9. 

Tatum and Brown have both experienced production dips on the road for the Celtics this year, with the former accounting for 31.9 points per game at home to 29.6 on the road, and the latter producing 28.6 points per game at TD Garden and 24.7 points per game everywhere else. It’s the same story for Malcolm Brogdon — Boston’s third-leading scorer — who drops from 15.3 points per game when hosting to 12.2 points per game as a visitor.  

Trend bettors should note that the Suns have had the Celtics’ number over the years, as Boston is only 3-10 against the spread in their last 13 meetings. Additionally, the Suns are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games following a spread loss.

Celtics vs Suns Over/Under analysis

I’m calling for both Tatum and Brown to potentially have off-nights in Phoenix — at least by their lofty standards — so it’s only natural that the Under will be the lean.

Boston plays a much tighter game on the road than it does at home under head coach Joe Mazzulla. It drops from 120.6 points per game overall to a mere 115 points per game on the road, and goes from 112.6 points allowed per game overall to 110.3 points allowed per game as the visitor. 

It’s quite possible this unit stifles Booker once again, and that Deandre Ayton struggles to get going. The Suns big man had scored at least 28 points in three straight home games before settling for just eight points against the Rockets in his last start at Footprint Center. 

Phoenix is a solid defensive team, particularly at home, where it's surrendering just 106.8 points per game. 

The trends suggest an Under is in store, as the Suns have gone below the total in each of their last four games after allowing more than 125 points in their previous game, and are 7-3 to the Under in their last 10 home games. The Under is 6-0-1 in the Celtics’ last seven road games.

Celtics vs Suns betting trend to know

The Under is 13-5 in the Suns’ last 18 games following an ATS loss. Find more NBA betting trends for Celtics vs. Suns.

Celtics vs Suns game info

Location: Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ
Date: Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Tip-off: 10:00 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN

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