NBA Best Bets (Feb 29): How Should You Bet Rockets vs. Celtics?

The Rockets and Celtics meet in an NBA inter-conference contest. With both teams running hot, will the Celtics cover the spread at home against Houston?
Author:
Publish date:

Basketball betting fans have an eight-game NBA slate to pick from on Saturday. In addition to the NBA Game of the Night between the Rockets and Celtics, Los Angeles at Memphis plus Orlando at San Antonio are also featured in our match previews and picks.

Los Angeles Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies

Spread: Lakers -6 (-110) | Grizzlies +6 (-110)
Moneyline: Lakers -250 | Grizzlies +210
Total Points: 228.5 O/U (-110)
Details: 8:00 p.m. ET - FedEx Forum in Memphis, TN

Los Angeles Overall: 45-12 SU | 31-25-1 ATS | First Pacific Division

Steamrolling most teams along the way, during a 9-1 run this month, Los Angeles heads into Memphis on a seven-game winning streak. After crushing the Warriors 116-86 during their last match on Thursday, the Lakers are playing the second of three road games. Without LeBron James, who sat out with a groin injury, Los Angeles had a solid team effort as six players posted at least 12 points against Golden State. King James is expected to miss this contest as well.

Memphis Overall: 28-31 SU | 30-28-1 ATS | Third Southwest Division

Slow out of the gate with a 13-22 season opening record, Memphis stepped up its game and went on a 15-4 run. The Grizzlies have cooled recently though, as they lost four straight on the road prior to losing 104-101 at home loss against Sacramento last night. While they won’t challenge Houston or Dallas in the Southwest, the Grizzlies own a two-game lead over New Orleans and are 2.5 games clear of Portland in the race for the final Western Conference playoff spot.

Lakers vs. Grizzlies Final Thoughts and Prediction

Meeting for the fourth and final time during the regular season, this game is a possible first round playoff preview. After covering the spread during 120-91 and 117-105 victories in Los Angeles, and then winning a close contest 109-108 in Memphis, the Lakers are aiming for a 4-0-season series sweep. Los Angeles is 24-5 SU and 16-13 ATS on the road this season. Memphis has played fairly competitive at home, as the Grizzlies are 16-14 SU and 17-13 ATS.

As part of their recent winning run, the Grizzlies are 13-3 SU and 12-4 ATS during their last 16 games at the FedEx Forum. The Lakers rank seventh averaging 114.8 points per game on offense and fifth allowing 107 PPG on defense. Memphis has a -2.6 PF/PA differential, as the Grizzlies are averaging 112.6 PPG on offense and giving up 115.2 PPG on defense. I’m expecting another full team effort from Los Angeles. Lay the point spread and bet on the Lakers here.

Pick: Los Angeles Lakers -6

Houston Rockets at Boston Celtics

Spread: Celtics -1.5 (-110) | Rockets +1.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Celtics -125 | Rockets +105
Total Points: 230.5 O/U (-110)
Game Details: 8:30 p.m. ET – TD Garden in Boston, MA

Houston Overall: 38-20 SU | 29-29 ATS | First Southwest Division

Houston heads into Boston riding a five-game winning streak that began with a 116-105 home win over the Celtics. The Rockets followed that up with road wins over Golden State (135-105) and Utah (120-110) plus victories over New York (123-112) and Memphis (140-112) at home. Unable to create much separation from Dallas, Houston has a three-game lead on the Mavericks in the Southwest. With the lowly Knicks up next, Houston won’t look past Boston.

Boston Overall: 41-17 SU | 36-20-2 ATS | Second Atlantic Division

Currently one of the hottest teams in the NBA, Boston is 14-3 SU and 13-4 ATS over the past 17 games. The Celtics return home after a 3-1 road trip that included wins over Minnesota (127-117), Portland (118-106) and Utah (114-103) plus a 114-112 loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles. Jayson Tatum is averaging 31 PPG over his last 10 starts. Keeping pace with the equally hot Raptors, Boston trails Toronto by a half game in a razor close Atlantic Division playoff race.

Rockets vs. Celtics Final Thoughts and Prediction

Solid at both ends of the court, the Celtics rank third allowing 106.5 points per game on defense and eighth scoring 113.4 PPG on offense. Just behind Milwaukee, who averages 120 PPG, Houston is second overall in scoring at 118.9 PPG. Defense is a work in progress for James Harden and crew, as the Rockets rank bottom-10 allowing 114.1 PPG. Boston is 23-5-0 SU and 17-10-1 ATS at home this year while Houston is 17-12-0 SU and 14-15-0 ATS as visitors.

Including the victory prior to the All-Star break, Houston has won four straight against Boston and covered the spread in the last three contests. These teams have played well during inter-conference clashes, as Boston is 16-8 against teams from the West while Houston is 14-4 versus the East. The Rockets’ high scoring attack should be slowed some by the Celtics so the under is attractive. Winners of seven straight at home, stout defense helps Boston cover the small spread.

Pick: Boston Celtics -1.5

Orlando Magic vs. San Antonio Spurs

Spread: Spurs -2 (-110) | Magic +2 (-110)
Moneyline: Spurs -135 | Magic +115
Total Points: 218.5 O/U (-110)
Game Details: 9:00 p.m. ET – AT&T Center in San Antonio, TX

Orlando Overall: 27-32 SU | 26-31-2 ATS | Second Southeast Division

Playing back-to-back contests, with travel, Orlando visits San Antonio following a 136-125 victory at home over Minnesota on Friday night. Prior to that, the Magic defeated the Hawks 130-120 in Atlanta and posted a 115-113 win over the Nets in Brooklyn. Recovering from a 2-10 losing skid, the Magic have won five of their last six and moved into seventh place in the Eastern Conference playoff race. A concern here is Orlando being 1-8 in the second of two straight contests.

San Antonio Overall: 24-33 SU | 24-32-1 ATS | Fifth Southwest Division

Tied with Syracuse/Philadelphia with an NBA record 22 straight playoff appearances, San Antonio needs to pick up the pace in order to claim the record outright. The Spurs trail Memphis by three games for the final playoff position in the West. Including a 131-103 loss in Oklahoma City last Sunday, plus a 109-103 home loss to Dallas on Wednesday, the Spurs are on a 4-10 recent slide. Second leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge (shoulder) won’t play in this contest

Magic vs. Spurs Final Thoughts and Prediction

While the recent winning streak is timely for Orlando, all five wins were against teams that are on the verge of being eliminated from the NBA playoff race. San Antonio appears to be another soft opponent, but this contest is on the road where Orlando is 11-18 straight up. The record improves against the number, as the Magic are 15-13-1 ATS as visitors this season. Struggling during inter-conference contests, Orlando is 7-15 straight up against teams from the West.

San Antonio is 14-13 straight up at home but their record falls to 9-18 against the spread as hosts. The Spurs are 11th on offense, scoring 112.8 PPG, but rank bottom nine allowing 114.5 PPG on defense. Orlando enters this contest second overall allowing just 106.4 PPG on defense. Offense is an issue though, as the Magic are bottom three in scoring at 105.2 PPG. In the first of two meetings this season, Orlando won 111-109 at home back in mid-November.

Pick: Orlando Magic +2

NBA Season Record: 15-18-1

MORE FROM SI:

NBA Team Futures Bets You Should Make Right Now

NBA Player Awards Bets You Should Make Right Now

NBA Power Rankings: Rockets Finding Footing as Western Conference Contender

The Five Most Interesting Teams to Watch in the NBA's Stretch Run