NBA preview and tips: Utah Jazz at Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics (53-24) are on cloud nine after their 140-99 dismantling of Milwaukee last time out, and on Friday night they welcome their next victim in the form of the Utah Jazz (36-40).

Regardless of what you make of Milwaukee's performance, it's the most notable result of the season to date. To go into the home of the number one ranked team in the NBA, drop 140 on them, and hold them to less than 100. It's a sensational result.

That victory, coupled with Denver's loss last night, confirmed that the Celtics are probably going to be at least the number two seed in the NBA playoffs. They find themselves two games back from Milwaukee, and with four of their five remaining games coming at home, Boston will do enough to snatch that top spot if Milwaukee slip up.

The first of those five games comes in this home clash with Utah, and if you can crush the Bucks on the road, you can crush the Jazz at home. The problem with big results like that is that they can often be followed by a letdown spot.
A letdown spot is a pretty common betting angle in the NBA, and it's when a team balances things out by following up a fantastic result with a poor one. There seems little danger in the circumstances, but despite Boston's motivation, you can't write off Utah covering the spread.
Suggested bet: Utah Jazz +14
From a betting point of view, you have to be interested in the total. Boston have been locked in defensively, holding three of their last four opponents to 99 or less.
It seems that not enough attention has been given to Boston's circumstances here, with the bookmakers setting the total at 234.5, a number which is around these two teams' respective combined home and away averages.
Their only slip-up was against the Wizards in a 130-111 loss, and it seems evident now they were looking ahead to Milwaukee.
On the flip side, how much of their focus and energy did that Milwaukee game use up? Holding an elite team to 99 points, while still playing at that pace and scoring 140 yourself, is a monumental effort, both physically and mentally.
Before this four-game run, Boston were a solid overs team.Of their 37 home games, 23 have gone over the total, and they've allowed 110 points per game at home this season.
The Utah defence has allowed 119ppg on their travels, while also putting up 116ppg, and Boston have scored 121ppg themselves.
The total has gone over in eight of the last 10 for Utah, most notably their 116-144 loss in Milwaukee. One of the biggest factors in the increase in scores has been Utah's line-up altering the way they play.
Suggested bet: Over 234.5
With some big players and defensive options on the injury list, Utah have been playing at a much higher pace. They rank in the middle of the pack over the course of the season, but they played at the third fastest pace in the month of March.
Boston will be more than happy to play at a decent clip here, and I don't think they'll be as locked in on defence after last night's effort. The Over is 20-7 in Utah's last 27 road games, and 7-3 when they're an underdog of 11 or more.
The Over is 12-5 when the Celtics are a favourite of 11 or more points, and also 19-6 when they're playing on zero days of rest.

Standout ATS Trends

Team News

Kelly Olynk is a game-time decision for Utah, whilst Rudy Gay, Lauri Markannen, Colin Sexton, and Jordan Clarkson all remain out.
Danilo Ganilari may be the only absentee for Boston, depending on whether or not they opt to give anyone the night off.

Suggested Bets

Utah Jazz +14
Over 234.5

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