Chase Center San Francisco, CA – Tuesday, December 19th, 2023 at 10:00 PM ET

The NBA stage is set for a fiery clash tonight, as the Boston Celtics (20-5) steamroll into Chase Center to face off against the Golden State Warriors (12-14). This isn’t just any regular-season matchup; it’s a rematch of the 2022 NBA Finals, reigniting memories of epic battles and leaving fans salivating for another classic encounter. But beyond the nostalgia, a web of intriguing narratives, injuries, and statistical trends awaits, making this game a betting minefield for even the most seasoned handicappers.

Celtics on Fire: The Celtics come in roaring hot, having won 9 of their last 11 games, all but one fueled by their dominant home performances. Their offensive juggernaut averages 122.2 points on home court, with Jaylen Brown’s scorching shooting (55% in the last five games) adding fuel to the fire. Their relentless pace and suffocating defense, ranked 3rd in the league, have left opponents gasping for air. However, their Achilles’ heel lies on the road, where they’ve stumbled upon 5 losses in 10 games. Can they translate their home dominance to the hostile territory of Chase Center?

Warriors Weathering the Storm: The Warriors, on the other hand, tell a different story. Gone are the days of runaway victories; this Golden State team thrives in nail-biters. Each of their last 13 games have been decided by single digits in the final five minutes, showcasing their steely resolve and clutch play. The veteran duo of Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins have stepped up in Draymond Green’s absence, reminding everyone of their championship pedigree. Stephen Curry, though still the offensive engine, saw his streak of consecutive regular-season 3-pointers snap at 286, but the Warriors know their fate doesn’t solely rest on his shoulders. Can their clutch gene and home-court advantage overcome the Celtics’ offensive onslaught?

Injury Report

The injury bug has bitten both teams, adding another layer of uncertainty. The Celtics will be without Luke Kornet (adductor strain) and possibly Payton Pritchard (elbow soreness), impacting their rebounding depth and backcourt rotation. For the Warriors, Gary Payton II remains sidelined with a calf strain, leaving a gaping hole in their defensive scheme. Chris Paul’s questionable status due to an illness throws another wrench into the mix, potentially disrupting their offensive orchestration.

Betting Landscape

The oddsmakers favor the Celtics with a 5-point spread and a total of 231.5 points. This might seem like a steep climb for the Warriors, especially considering their road woes and recent close calls. However, their grit, home-court advantage, and the Celtics’ road struggles whisper a potential upset.

Prediction: So, who takes the golden spread? The Warriors(+5.5)

My lean is towards the Warriors covering the spread (+5.5) and the game going under the total (234.5 points). I predict a final score in the vicinity of 112-108 in favor of the Celtics. This reflects the Celtics’ offensive edge, but keeps the score close due to the Warriors’ home-court advantage, clutch play, and defensive grit. Here’s why:

  • Celtics’ road concerns: While their home dominance is undeniable, their road record raises caution. The Warriors, despite their struggles, are a force to be reckoned with at Chase Center.
  • Warriors’ clutch gene: This team thrives in close games, and the Celtics’ offensive attack might face stiffer resistance than anticipated.
  • Defensive slugfest: Both teams boast strong defenses, potentially leading to a lower-scoring affair than the projected total.
  • Curry’s X-factor: While Curry struggled against Portland, his offensive prowess can’t be discounted. A bounce-back performance could be the difference-maker.

PICK: Golden State Warriors (+5.5) WINNER

O/U: Under 234.5 Lose