The Nuggets have won seven straight at home but get the toughest test in the NBA tonight in the league-best Boston Celtics. Can they rise to the occasion? Find out in our NBA betting picks below.
Two NBA Finals hopefuls collide tonight as the Denver Nuggets put their seven-game home win streak on the line against Jayson Tatum and the high-flying Boston Celtics.
In a wide-open Western Conference, Denver has won eight of its last 10 games to climb into the top spot, with Nikola Jokic averaging a near triple-double this season. Eight Nuggets scored in double digits in Friday’s 124-119 win over the Miami Heat.
But the Celtics present the sternest of tests, boasting the best record in the NBA at 26-10, and they stretched their latest winning run to four games with a 116-110 victory over the Clippers on Thursday.
Find out more with our Celtics vs Nuggets NBA picks and predictions ahead of tonight’s key matchup.
Celtics vs Nuggets best odds
Celtics vs Nuggets picks and predictions
How do you stop the team that does almost everything well? That’s the conundrum that the Boston Celtics have set for the rest of the league with their relentless play on both ends.
The pairing of Tatum and Jaylen Brown has a strong case to be the NBA’s premier one-two punch, and the offense is scoring a league-best 119 points a game. Tonight is another chance to flex their muscles, and the visitors should be fresh after being off since Thursday.
The Celtics have had a major edge in this matchup, winning the past six meetings – and only one of those games was even remotely close. Boston landed a blowout 131-112 victory at TD Garden earlier this season behind Tatum’s 34-point night and I see that dominance continuing here.
The biggest question for the Denver Nuggets is how to get enough above-average defenders on the court without jeopardizing the offense. Jokic is a master at generating good looks for perimeter shooters, but the hosts are at their most potent when Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray are surrounding the two-time MVP.
With the Celtics sure to hunt the Porter Jr. matchup for Tatum and Brown, the Nuggets’ help defense will need to be on point.
The visitors can also lean on a steady second unit, especially with Malcolm Brogdon and Blake Griffin probable for tonight, and I like Boston to get a big game from Tatum on the way to another statement road win.
My best bet: Celtic’s moneyline (-110 at bet365)
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Celtics vs Nuggets spread analysis
This is the rare instance of Jokic and the Nuggets being a home underdog – after all, they’re 13-3 at Ball Arena this season. but NBA odds are giving the Celtics a slight edge, likely due to their impressive 11-5 record on the road.
Of course, the Denver offense is more than capable of getting hot, but I trust this veteran Boston core to figure out enough different defensive schemes to hold Jokic in check. The big Serbian scored 29 points in the teams’ prior meeting back in November, but only finished with three assists.
Tatum and Brown both scored 30 points in Boston’s last trip to Denver – and there’s every chance that they combine for at least 60 points again tonight.
Bones Hyland continues to be the hosts’ biggest wildcard. He was back on the bench against the Heat on Friday after impressing in a spot start against the Sacramento Kings (20 points, 11 assists) earlier in the week. He’ll find life tougher in the paint here against the Celtics’ long-armed rim protectors.
Celtics vs Nuggets Over/Under analysis
The Celtics have made the Under a winning ticket in their last seven road games against a team with a home winning record greater than .600. The Under is also 6-2 in the last eight meetings.
Denver is better equipped this year to match up with teams that have multiple wing scorers – and that supports the total hitting the Under.
Look for Gordon and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to start off on Tatum and Brown respectively, but they’ll need to stay out of foul trouble with limited reliable wing depth behind them.
If Al Horford can reasonably handle the one-on-one assignment against Jokic without the need for help defenders, Boston should be well-placed to defend the perimeter and contest 3-pointers.
They’ve been solid lately at that end of the floor – allowing 110 points or fewer in three of their last four games – and Smart’s tenacious defense makes his battle with Jamal Murray a must-see clash.
Celtics vs Nuggets betting trend to know
Boston tends to play its best basketball against fellow title contenders. The Celtics are 5-0 ATS in their last five games against a team with a winning record greater than .600. find more NBA betting trends for Celtics vs Nuggets.
Celtics vs Nuggets game info
|Location:||Ball Arena, Denver, CO|
|dates:||Sunday, January 1, 2023|
|Tip off:||8:00pm ET|