Celtics vs. Suns Preview: Target Total in Friday's Late Matchup

Action Network NBA betting analyst Austin Wang previews Friday night's matchup between the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns.

>> Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds, track your bets and follow all of our experts’ picks.

Celtics vs. Suns Odds

Celtics Odds +5.5
Suns Odds -5.5
Over/Under 216.5
Time 10 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

On Friday night, the Boston Celtics finish off their five-game road trip out west with a battle against the Phoenix Suns, who own the second-best record in the NBA.

The Suns are off three days’ rest and have a fatigue advantage against the road weary Celtics. Will this be enough to cover a hefty spread? Let’s break down both sides of the matchup.

Celtics Offense Dragging Out West

The Celtics are finishing up a brutal five-game road trip and will be playing their third game in four nights, so fatigue will most definitely be a factor. In addition, they will be looking ahead to matchups against Eastern Conference rivals Milwaukee Bucks and then the Golden State Warriors.

The Celtics have lost two games in a row against the Lakers and Clippers and failed to cover both games. Brown has missed four straight games in a row and will be out against the Suns.

Without Brown, Dennis Schroder has been the main beneficiary of minutes and he has been playing well, but I do not have confidence in their offense in the tail end of a long road trip and in a bad situational spot against one of the best teams in the league. The Celtics are 20th in the league in Pace, according to NBA Advanced Stats and 18th in Offensive Rating.

Jayson Tatum has been logging heavy minutes during this road trip — his 34.4 Usage Rate is the fourth-highest among all starters over that stretch — and he’ll have defensive stalwart Mikal Bridges guarding him on the perimeter.

If this game gets out of hand early, it could be an opportunity for them to punt and get their players some rest.

Steady Suns Can Dominate Despite Injuries

The Suns had an amazing 18-game win streak that was recently broken by the Golden State Warriors. However, they bounced back with a win against the San Antonio Spurs and now have had three days’ rest. They have had adequate time to recover and move forward with another winning streak. There is a massive rest advantage between the Suns against the fatigued Celtics.

Devin Booker will be out for this game with a hamstring injury. The Suns will be without their leading scorer and will have to rely of Chris Paul, Bridges and Deandre Ayton to pick up the slack.

According to Basketball Reference, the On/Off numbers show that without Booker, the Suns Offensive Rating dips from 114.3 to 108.3 and the Pace decreases from 100.1 to 98.7. Expect an offense that features Paul to slow down the pace and employ a slow, methodical approach to wearing down the Celtics with pick-and-rolls with Ayton.

Celtics-Suns Pick

With their much more favorable rest schedule and homecourt advantage, I think the Suns have the slight edge against the spread. However, the six-point spread is about right according to my model predictions.

Instead, I think the under is a good look with Brown and Booker out for their respective teams. I think the Celtics are fatigued from their long road trip and the Suns will be playing at a slower pace without Booker and the Celtics’ defense.

The current total of 216.5 is too high for two defensive-minded teams that rank second (Suns) and ninth (Celtics) in Defensive Rating, per NBA Advanced Stats. I make this total 214 and I would play this down to 215.

Pick:  Under 216.5 (down to 215)