This week has had no shortage of sports content as we approach the Super Bowl with the NBA trade deadline dominating the news the past couple of days. The Hornets made a trade for point guard Reggie Jackson who will not be suiting up for this matchup. Speaking of not suiting up, the Celtics injury report looks to be filled with plenty of question marks. Can they still cruise to victory over the lowly Hornets?
Charlotte Hornets vs Boston Celtics Betting Odds
Oddsmakers certainly think so as they opened the Celtics as an astounding -10.5 favorite on their home court. Even with the potential for key players to opt out of this one, bettors have still liked their chances of covering the massive number by taking it up to as high as -11. This may be an indicator that a key contributor like Jayson Tatum may be good to go, but it’s always worth treading with caution during this time of year.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a moderate pace as oddsmakers opened the total at 230. Bettors were quick to hammer the under before it became widely available, taking it down to as low as 226 as of writing. This comes as no surprise as we saw earlier this season how anemic the Celtics offense can be without their key scorers, as well as Charlotte running as an overall poor unit themselves.
Charlotte Hornets vs Boston Celtics Prediction
The Pick: Pass, too much injury variance
With the Celtics filling up the injury report leading up to tipoff, this game is a pass for me as I want to avoid getting burned with last second opt out news. The spread moving in their favor does give some potential good indication that at least Jayson Tatum will suit up, but the remaining missing pieces is still enough to give me pause. Especially since his partner in crime Jaylen Brown has already been ruled out.
In their earlier offensive stretch this season when the Celtics went a few games without Jayson Tatum, the Celtics ran as one of the worst offenses in the league. Good for well below average in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, resulting in a slight losing stretch. That stretch included the likes of the Orlando magic, a game they failed to score over 100 points in a losing effort. Should Tatum not suit up, that same worrisome from back then may plague this game as well.
Without Tatum and Brown, the Celtics fail to create their own shots and allow the defense to sit back underneath the perimeter. Boston turns into a more old school style of play, running at a slower tempo and letting plays develop through the block. This brings more cause for concern as both Robert Williams III and Al Horford are both currently on the injury report. They are two scoring big men, being a massive loss of interior production should they not give it a go.
- Hornets are 2-9-1 ATS in their last 12 games at Boston
- Hornets are 6-22-1 ATS in their last 29 meetings against the Celtics
Should the Celtics key starters not play in this one, can the Hornets take advantage and cover?
Celtics backups vs LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier
The Hornets injury report currently has no starters on the list, giving indication that leading scorers LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier are good to go. They are poised for potentially good outings, getting the assignment of Malcolm Brogdon and Derrick White.
The Celtics defense has run as one of the best units in the nation per their Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, but that comes from their starting core. Without their interior presence manning the paint, this opens up the lanes for both Terry and LaMelo to generate high quality looks at the rim with their on ball scoring abilities.
Ball’s presence is especially vital as he has developed into a terrific facilitator, being able to shift the Celtics defense into his liking with his passing abilities. If the Hornets can capitalize on their open looks generated through Ball’s passing, then they can easily stay within the number.
Until we get injury confirmation, this game is currently a pass for me.
Charlotte Hornets Starting Lineup
Boston Celtics Starting Lineups
Charlotte Hornets Injuries: N/A
Boston Celtics Injuries: Robert Williams III (P), Jayson Tatum (Q), Jaylen Brown (O), Al Horford (P)