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The San Antonio Spurs (7-32) will play the second game of their East Coast road trip on Wednesday when they meet the Eastern Conference leaders Boston Celtics (31-9).
The Spurs still aren’t winning many games, but Victor Wembanyama’s incredible play has brought them closer to the verge of relevance than at any point this season. Meanwhile, the Celtics are still undefeated at home (19-0) and already beat the Spurs 134-101 on New Year’s Eve.
Here, we will go over the betting odds and share our favorite pick for the Spurs vs. Celtics showdown on Wednesday.
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The Celtics are favored by a whopping 15.5 points at TD Garden, where they’ve been the unquestioned best home team in the NBA.
|San Antonio Spurs
|Over 237.5 (-110)
|Under 237.5 (-110)
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The Spurs beat the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets, two of the league’s worst teams, in their last four games but have not beaten a team with a winning record since Dec. 15.
On the other hand, they’re up to 16th in net rating over their last 10 games, which is a testament to the improvement in their performances, even if they don’t have the results to match. They’re also 7-3 against the spread over their last 10 outings, further evidence that they are becoming a more competitive team.
One of the main catalysts in San Antonio's spurt is none other than rookie Victor Wembanyama. Over his last eight games, the young Frenchman averaged 23.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.6 blocks, and 3.4 assists in just 24.1 minutes per game (per 36 averages of 35.5 points, 14 rebounds, 5.4 blocks, and 5.0 assists).
Wemby was solid in his lone matchup with Boston on New Year’s Eve, going for 21 points, seven rebounds, and three assists in 24 minutes. However, the C’s were ahead by so much that there was no reason to play him down the stretch, and the Spurs effectively had no chance to even attempt a comeback.
San Antonio has shown the most improvement on the defensive side of the court. They’re 11th in def. rating over their last 10 games but still struggle to generate consistent offense despite leading the league in assist percentage, which speaks to their subpar decision-making.
As it relates specifically to Boston, the visitors are going to need to do a better job commanding the three-point line. They rank 26th in three-point percentage allowed (38.5%) while shooting 34.6% from outside themselves, the fourth-worst mark in the league.
No team in the league gets up more threes per game than Boston, which also ranks first in makes (16.2) and seventh in percentage (37.9).
Monday’s game between the Celtics and Toronto Raptors was a representation of how buoyant they can be because of their three-point dominance. They only went 33-82 (40.2%) from the field but also shot 16-39 from outside (41%) and held Toronto to 4-32 (12.5%) three-point shooting, allowing them to easily win 105-96.
Boston ranks first in net rating and is top three in both offensive and defensive rating. It’s also fourth in rebound rate, which rounds out its dominance in every phase of the game.
Although the C’s haven’t been great during clutch time, it’s unlikely they find themselves locked in a tie game with the lowly Spurs.
The Celtics are far and away the best home team in the league. They outscored opponents by an average of 15.6 points per 100 possessions, which means they’d cover the 15.5 points line against most teams they faced at home, not just the bottom-feeding Spurs.
For the year, Boston is 20-18-2 ATS (12-7 at home). However, it’s also just 5-5 ATS over its last 10 games.
As if it wasn’t already obvious, the Celtics left no doubt they were the superior team when the two met at the end of 2023.
The Spurs have made strides since then, particularly on defense. They don’t have great individual matchups for the Celtics but are more likely to put forth a competitive effort.
As we mentioned, the Spurs need to find a way to keep the difference in three-point firepower to a minimum. They also need Wembanyama to continue to be the spark plug he has been recently.
We’d love to believe in the Spurs’ improvement, but the Celtics are outstanding at home and can blow anyone out (including San Antonio a couple of weeks ago). Take the better team to cover the huge line.
Spurs vs. Celtics pick: Celtics -15.5 at BetMGM
When: Wednesday, Jan. 17 @ 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA
TV: NBA League Pass
Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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