Lakers vs. Celtics: Trust Boston's Early Offense

Action Network contributor Joe Dellera previews how to bet Lakers vs. Celtics, including updated odds, picks & predictions for Saturday's primetime game.

Lakers vs. Celtics Odds

Lakers Odds +9
Celtics Odds -9
Over/Under 233.5
Time 8:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Los Angeles Lakers kick off a log road trip in Boston Saturday where they take on Jayson Tatum and the league-leading Celtics in a nationally televised showdown.

The Lakers are feeling good (and healthy) entering tonight’s primetime game at TD Garden while the Celtics are looking to get a win after three tough losses.Can the Lakers push the Celtics’ losing streak to four games or will Boston right the ship?

Let’s dive into the Lakers vs. Celtics odds and matchup for the NBA’s marquee rivalry.

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Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers have once again listed LeBron James (ankle) as questionable and Anthony Davis (foot) as probable for this game. Both should play, but Davis will continue to play limited minutes off the bench as he ramps up his play. He just recorded 21 points and 12 rebounds in 26.2 minutes against the Spurs in his return. The Lakers also acquired Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards in a trade involving Kendrick Nunn and picks — Hachimura logged 21.5 minutes off the bench.

James has carried this Lakers team as he sits on the precipice of history but it’s a welcome sight for Lakers fans to see Davis on the court. James and Davis have the team’s two best point differentials of +11.6 and +6.0 respectively, and with AD coming off the bench it should help stagger the non-LeBron minutes.

The Lakers’ struggles to ope the season have been well documented, but they are 9-6 with a +1.0 point differential over the past month. Additionally,  the Lakers have risen to the challenge when playing tougher competition. They have the 12-best point differential against the league’s best teams.

In the end it will come down to the stars for the Lakers, they will need big games from James and Dave to contend today.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics are on a bit of a slide right now having lost three straight games; however, they still have the league’s best record at 35-15. While they will be without Marcus Smart (ankle) today they have more than enough firepower to contend.

The Celtics have been the league’s best team the entire season, with the best Adjusted Net Rating (+5.6) and top-five marks in Adjusted Offense (117.4) and Adjusted Defense (1118.). They are a force to be reckoned with.

Boston should be able to score at will against this Lakers team, especially with Anthony Davis playing limited minutes. Although they will miss their table-setter in Smart, they have plenty of other options such as Malcolm Brogdon and Derrick White, let alone Tatum and Brown. This is not a selfish team and they understand that ball movement is one of the keys to a successful offense.

The Celtics have often started hot in their games as their bench often outpaces their opponents’ second unit. They scored the second most points per game in the first half with 60.5 points per game and this number increases at home to 61.3.

They play at a dramatically faster Pace in the first half compared to the second half — their Pace is 102.06 in the first half, but just 97.62 in the second half, per NBA Advanced Stats.

Lakers-Celtics Pick

I expect this game to get off to a fast start with both teams looking to establish their respective game plans.

The Lakers play at one of the fastest Paces in the league (102.37) and they also see an uptick in the first half with a spike to 104.55. Both of these teams prefer to run and get out in transition and I expect this game to start off in that game script.

While I like the first half over of 115, I prefer to back the team with a better offense. Boston should be able to score at will against this Lakers team and their first half team total is set below their season average in a Pace up spot.

I’ll back Boston to take care of business in the first half.

Pick: Celtics 1H Team Total Over 59.5