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The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers will square off in an eagerly anticipated matchup on Sunday afternoon. LeBron James and company will host the proceedings in front of a national television audience, with the Celtics aiming to pull an upset in Los Angeles. Kemba Walker (knee) will not play for Boston, while Anthony Davis (calf) is listed as probable for the Lakers.
Tip-off is at 3:30 p.m. ET at the Staples Center. Sportsbooks list the Lakers as 6.5-point home favorites, holding steady from the opener, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 225.5 in the latest Celtics vs. Lakers odds. Before you make any Lakers vs. Celtics picks and NBA predictions, see what SportsLine’s advanced computer model has to say.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and last season it returned a whopping $4,280 on its top-rated spread and money line picks. It’s already returned over $3,000 in profit on all top-rated NBA picks during the 2019-20 season and entered Week 18 on a blistering 35-19 run on all top-rated spread picks. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Now, the model has set its sights on Celtics vs. Lakers. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are the NBA odds and trends for Lakers vs. Celtics: Celtics vs. Lakers spread: Lakers -6.5
Celtics vs. Lakers over-under: 225.5 points
Celtics vs. Lakers money line: Lakers -280, Celtics +216
BOS: The Celtics are 33-20-2 against the spread this season.
LAL: The Lakers are 5-2 against the spread in their last seven games.
Why the Celtics can cover
The model knows that the Celtics are a strong team on both ends of the court, bringing a high floor to the proceedings. Boston is above-average across the board on the offensive end and, in this matchup, the Celtics should be able to get to the free throw line against an opponent that is willing to commit fouls near the rim. Jayson Tatum averages more than 21 points per game, leading an offense predicated on balance.
Brad Stevens’ team should also be able to create turnovers at will, with the Celtics ranking in the top five in turnover rate defensively and the Lakers struggling in ball security. Boston is also one of the best teams in the NBA at forcing opponents into low-percentage looks offensively. Plus, the Celtics are 6-2 in their last eight matchups against the Lakers.
Why the Lakers can cover
Even so, Boston isn’t a lock to cover the Celtics vs. Lakers spread. The model has also considered that the Celtics aren’t quite the same team away from Boston, with the Lakers carrying home-court advantage in this matchup. Los Angeles also brings top-end units on both ends of the floor, with the Lakers ranking near the top of the NBA in shooting efficiency and offensive rebounding.
The Celtics sometimes have issues in keeping opponents away from the free throw line and the Lakers have the talent and force to take advantage. Defensively, Los Angeles is excellent at creating turnovers and protecting the glass, with Davis as a constant detractor near the rim. All told, the Lakers have a top-five defense in the NBA and they’ll need it in this game.
How to make Celtics vs. Lakers picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning under on the total, with both James and Tatum projected to fall short of their season scoring averages. The model also says one side of the spread hits in almost 60 percent of simulations.
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