Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards Betting Predictions

Celtics vs Wizards Play-In
Boston vs. Washington, NBA Playoffs Betting Predictions, May 18

The struggling Boston Celtics host the surging Washington Wizards on Tuesday in the first Eastern Conference play-in game. The winner will earn the seventh seed and a first-round date with Brooklyn while the loser hosts a game Thursday for one last chance at the playoffs. Washington is the team with more momentum entering this matchup, and should set up a fascinating series with the Nets in the process.

Celtics vs. Wizards Betting Odds

The NBA’s new play-in tournament is built for situations like what we will see transpire Tuesday in Boston. The Boston Celtics have been in a bit of a free fall with 10 losses in their last 15 games. The Washington Wizards have won 17 of their last 23 games and were surging up the standings at the end of the season. Objectively, Washington is the better team right now than Boston and the tournament gives the Wizards a chance to prove that to better their seeding for the NBA playoffs. The Celtics and Wizards square off with the winner earning the seventh seed and a series with Brooklyn while the loser plays Thursday in an elimination game for the eighth seed.

The catalyst of Washington’s recent success has clearly been the partnership of Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal fully blossoming. Westbrook has 19 triple-doubles in the last 23 games while Beal is averaging more than 31 points per game since the streak began as well. Whatever seemed to click at the beginning of April, it worked as the Wizards have averaged 11 more points per game over their last 23 games than they did in the first 49 of the season. Westbrook’s assist numbers rose from 10.5 per game in the first 49 games to 14 per game in the final 23 contests, a sign that the Wizards are finding other ways to score. That increase in secondary scoring comes from players like Rui Hachimura and Davis Bertans, both of whom are the only other healthy Wizards averaging at least 10 points per game this season.

This has been a disastrous season for the Celtics, and they enter this play-in game in a no-win situation. Boston had to deal with its two top players contracting COVID-19 then Jaylen Brown injured his wrist a week ago, meaning he’s out for the season. That leaves Jayson Tatum trying to carry this team, but he’s openly admitted this season has been tougher on him because of the aftereffects from COVID-19. Tatum still averaged 26.4 points per game this season, but there’s a disconnect around him with key players like Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker missing various amounts of time this season with ailments. If everyone can be healthy and play well at the same time, the Celtics have a chance, but the inconsistencies in performance and lineups have left Boston trying to simply regroup for next season.

Despite all the turmoil, the Celtics are still deemed the favorites by the legal sports betting sites in New Jersey, and that just means the value is there for picking Washington. We can start easy by just betting on the Wizards to win in regulation at +125 odds at the NBA betting sites in New Jersey. I’d even suggest flipping the spread and betting Washington laying the 3.5 points for +165 odds. But where the real money is won is picking the player parlays to match with Washington’s victory.

The only players it makes sense to wager on would be the stars – Beal and Westbrook – both of whom have excellent odds at the basketball betting sites in New Jersey. For Westbrook, we’ll avoid the points and focus on the glass, betting on Westbrook to collect at least 13 rebounds in a win for +290 odds. He’s reached that total five times in the last eight games and ended with 12 boards on two other occasions. We’ll also bet on Beal to make at least four 3-pointers at +870 odds, a risk considering he’s done it just 11 times in 60 games, but Boston has allowed at least 40 percent 3-point shooting eight times in the last 12 games.

Boston Washington
888Sport
-130 +108
BetMGM
-140 +115
FanDuel
-130 +110

My Prediction

Washington Moneyline

The lack of logic from the New Jersey sportsbooks is a great thing for your pockets. The Wizards are 17-6 in their last 23 games and Russell Westbrook has arguably been the best player over the last six weeks not named Steph Curry. Boston has struggled since losing Jaylen Brown for the season and the Celtics have dropped 10 of their last 15 games. Bet the underdog Wizards and don’t worry about the spread.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

All Reviews by Josh Walfish

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