Skip to main content

NBA Best Bets and Bold Predictions: Celtics vs. Nuggets

Denver is a slim home favorite against Boston in a potential Finals preview.

The Finals favorites are set to clash for the second time this season Thursday evening in the Mile High City. If the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets meet again this year, it will be with the title on the line in June.

The Celtics dropped the first leg of a five-game road trip Tuesday to the Cleveland Cavaliers to put an end to their 11-game winning streak. The Nuggets fell to the Phoenix Suns in overtime that same night, ending a run of six straight victories. While Boston (48–13) has the best record in the NBA and the best odds to win it all (+210), Denver (42–20), the reigning champion, is in third place in the West and has the second-best odds to go back-to-back (+420).

The Nuggets gutted out a 102–100 win at TD Garden when these contenders last met, which was one of only three home losses all year for the Celtics. Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray combined for 69 points in that game while three Boston starters — Jayson TatumKristaps Porzingis and Derrick White — finished with 65 total. Jaylen Brown, who’s questionable with a sacroiliac strain, had only 13 points that night.

Boston Celtics vs. Denver Nuggets

Spread: Celtics +1.5 (-110) | Nuggets -1.5 (-110)
Moneyline: BOS (-105) | DEN (-115)
Total: 220.5 — Over (-110) | Under (-110)
Game Info: Tuesday, March. 5 | 10 p.m. ET | TNT

Denver Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray

Jamal Murray is averaging 20.8 points and 6.5 assists per game for the Nuggets this season.

Best Bet: Nuggets -1.5 (-110)

Bold Prediction: Jamal Murray Records a Double Double

The Celtics’ 105–104 loss to a Cavs team that was without Donovan Mitchell was a rough start to the road trip. It was one of the lowest-scoring outputs of the season for Boston, the No. 1 offense in the NBA, as Brown and Tatum combined for 47 points, albeit on 16–41 shooting.

Cleveland beat Boston at its own game, connecting on 20 threes against the best three-point shooting team in the league. The C’s, for their part, hit 15 but that three-point margin proved to be the difference in a low-scoring affair.

Even after Tuesday’s loss, Boston’s 19–10 mark on the road is the best in basketball. Conversely, Denver’s 24–6 mark at Ball Arena is tied for the third-best record in the NBA following that 117–107 loss to the Suns. The Nuggets have been favored in every home game this season and that won’t change against the Celtics — unless the line moves prior to tipoff. This is just the third time all year Boston has been installed as an underdog, by far the fewest in the league.

Denver’s defeat on Tuesday came against a Phoenix team that was without Devin Booker. However, Kevin Durant’s 35-point performance and an extra 28 from Grayson Allen (including eight three-pointers) was enough to get past Jokić, the favorite to win his third MVP this season. He turned in a ho-hum 25 points, 16 rebounds and five assists, his fewest dimes in a game since January.

The Nuggets haven’t dropped back-to-back home games all season. Though their record against the spread (27–33–2) isn’t on par with that of the Celtics (30–28–3) this is about as tight a line as it gets. Jokić and Murray will defend home court against Tatum, who might be without his running mate on the road.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the National Council for Problem Gambling 1-800-522-4700. The Arena Media Brands, LLC and its partners may receive compensation for links to products and services on this website.