Houston Rockets vs Boston Celtics: Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds (12/27/22)

Well, that’s one way to break out of a scoring slump. After going through a brutal stretch as one of the most anemic offenses in the league, the Boston Celtics offense exploded back onto the scene by dropping 139 points on the Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas day. They reminded the nation on primetime that they are the best team in the league and now go against the lowly Houston Rockets. Can the Celtics offense continue to round back into form?

Houston Rockets vs Boston Celtics Betting Odds

Oddsmakers certainly think so as they opened the Celtics as a -14.5 favorite. Bettors have been neutral on the number, maintaining its current position. This is a large number to cover for a unit that just recently snapped its low scoring skid, making it very intriguing to see how they respond after such a huge win. While the Rockets are certainly no threat like the Bucks, they certainly can stay within the number should the Celtics offensive production take a dip again.

As for the total, oddsmakers believe points will be scored in bunches as they opened the total at 233. Bettors have been in disagreement, taking the under down to as low as 232 in some shops. With a potential for recency bias after the last Celtics outing, this comes as a bit of a surprise for how high it opened. The Rockets offense has been brutally bad, ranking well below average in multiple offensive metrics.

Houston Rockets vs Boston Celtics Prediction

The Pick: Under 233

The Celtics recent offensive variance gives me some caution on this under, making it a smaller wager. While it was very impressive to see them dominate the Bucks from the tip, it also needs to be reminded that this was a team losing to basement dwellers not too long ago because of their poor offensive play. During that stretch of embarrassing losses, their defense still remained as one of the best units in the NBA with league leading metrics.

Speaking of poor offensive play, the Rockets come into this one well below average in scoring production. They are a very young team that relies on creating their own opportunities through one-on-one play which have led to stalled out possessions. Knowing how weak they are on the offensive end is especially surprising after their last outing, witnessing the Rockets score 133 against the Chicago Bulls on the road.

Now they have to take on the best defense in the league on the road with zero days’ rest. Not an ideal situation for anyone, let alone one of the worst teams in the league. Scoring for the Rockets will be hard to come by on multiple levels as the Celtics lock up the perimeter in half court sets and the Rockets possess limited fast break scoring efficiency.

Betting Trends

  • Under is 5-1 in Rockets last six games coming off of zero days rest
  • Under is 5-1 in Celtics last six games vs a team with a losing SU record
  • Under is 20-6 in their last 26 meetings against each other

Key Matchups

Can the Rockets disrupt the Celtics offensive rhythm and turn this into a rock fight?

Celtics scoring production vs Rockets glass cleaning

When the Celtics offense is on, they are one of the best scoring teams in the league. Heavily shifting their offensive identity to the Warriors, relying on efficient looks from the perimeter and crashing the glass.

While the Rockets defense has been lackluster, they do excel in crashing the boards which gives us a huge boost for our under tickets. Their ability to negate the Celtics second chance opportunities will be crucial as Boston has been prone to going into scoring lulls.

If the Rockets can force the Celtics into low quality looks from deep by smothering the perimeter, then we are in an even better position to cash as we can bank on the Rockets to crash the glass and go in transition. This is exactly what we want as they are weak at producing scoring chances in the fastbreak.

Verdict

With the Celtics defense continuing to dominate, and the Rockets being above average at rebounding to negate the Celtics second chance opportunities, I will take the under in what will be a slugfest of a matchup.

Houston Rockets Starting Lineup

PG: Kevin Porter Jr
SG: Jalen Green
SF: Eric Gordon
PF: Jabari Smith Jr
C: Alperen Sengun

Boston Celtics Starting Lineups

PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Robert Williams III

Key Injuries

Houston Rockets Injuries: Eric Gordon (P), Jae’Sean Tate (O)

Boston Celtics Injuries: Danilo Gallinari (O)

Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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