Could this non-conference matchup between the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics be an NBA Finals preview? Find our Denver Nuggets vs. Boston Celtics prediction, betting picks, projected starting lineups, and updated injury reports below!
Denver Nuggets Vs. Boston Celtics Prediction
It is perfect, isn’t it? The defending champion Denver Nuggets travel due east to try and knock off the Boston Celtics on their home floor, a place where they are undefeated in the 2023-24 campaign. Had Boston taken care of business in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, this is the NBA Finals matchup we would have seen, but we may not have to wait too long to see it.
Boston has been unbeatable on its home floor, literally. The Celtics hold a 20-0 record at T.D. Garden, boasting a +15.8 net rating (125.6 offensive rating and 109.8 defensive rating.) Further, they shoot a 49/41/84 split as a team at home, which would be elite for a single player but is exceptional for a team.
By now, we are all aware of the Boston Celtics’ offensive tendencies; they rank first in the NBA in three-point attempts per game at 42.6 and fifth in 3P%. At home, the Cs are the best three-point shooting team, meaning they both shoot and hit the most threes of any team in the NBA at home.
Meanwhile, Denver has been spotty on the road at times this season. The Nuggets have an 11-10 record away from Ball Arena but have dropped two of their last three road games. Unfortunately, the major issue Denver has run into recently is its three-point defense, which has allowed its past three opponents to shoot a combined 43%.
Ultimately, Boston matches up extremely well with the Nuggets, with Porzingis and Horford splitting time on Nikola Jokic, while Jrue Holiday and Derrick White will trade off duties on Jamal Murray.
The implied probability of Boston winning at home in this spot is right around 67% (the odds might fluctuate a bit leading up to the game), which means the Cs need to win seven out of ten games against Denver in this spot to be profitable here. The bottom line is that Denver has not shot the three well on the road this season and hasn’t contested opponents properly recently.
Lastly, Denver has lost four consecutive games on the road against Boston, failing to keep three of those within double-digits. Surely, the Cs will drop a few games at home before the season’s end, but this doesn’t seem like one of them.
Denver Nuggets Vs. Boston Celtics Prediction: Celtics Moneyline (-205)
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Denver Nuggets Vs. Boston Celtics Best Odds
The Denver Nuggets are five-point road underdogs against Boston on Friday night. Denver has Moneyline odds of +170 to steal a non-conference victory in what could very well be an NBA Finals preview, while the Cs are -205 favorites to remain undefeated on their home floor. The point total for this clash comes in at 233.5, with -110 odds for the Over and the Under.
Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup
Boston Celtics Starting Lineup
Denver Nuggets Vs. Boston Celtics Injuries
The Denver Nuggets enter this potential future NBA Finals matchup with a light injury report, as they will only miss Vlatko Cancer and Julian Strawther to knee injuries. Cancar will be out indefinitely, but Strawther could return soon.
Meanwhile, Boston has a few key rotation players (Derrick White and Kristaps Porzingis) who are listed as day-to-day for Friday’s non-conference battle; they missed the game against San Antonio on Wednesday. Porzingis is nursing a knee injury, while White has a minor ankle injury. Keep an eye on their availability leading up to tip-off, as their presence could make a huge difference in the game’s result.