We could have a preview of the NBA Finals Friday when the defending champions Denver Nuggets (28-14) visit the Boston Celtics (32-9). The Nuggets have one of the best starting lineups by plus/minus in the NBA, while the Celtics are undefeated at home and possess the league’s best record. This is the first matchup between these teams this season.
The Nuggets had reported some injuries earlier in the week, but none materialized into an absence. Aaron Gordon is listed as probable with a shoulder issue. The Celtics are clean on the injury front as well.
The Celtics are 7-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, with the total coming in at 234. Boston is -270 on the moneyline while Denver is +220.
Nuggets vs. Celtics, 7:30 p.m. ET
Pick ATS: Nuggets +7
There have been tremendously successful home teams, but there’s never been a team to go undefeated at home for a full season. The Spurs and Warriors both came close, and the 1985-86 Celtics also had just one home loss. This is definitely the type of game Boston could drop for its first home loss. The Nuggets collapsed late against the 76ers earlier in the week and they’ll want to respond to that setback.
Even though the Celtics are 13-7 ATS as the home side and the Nuggets are 7-14 ATS on the road, I’ll back Denver to keep this close until the end and cover.
Over/Under: Over 234
Boston is 11-9 to the over as the home team, although the Celtics have gone under their totals in three of the last four games. The Nuggets are 9-12 to the over as the road team, alternating unders and overs in their last four games.
The Celtics are scoring 119.2 points per game over their last five, while the Nuggets are at 121 points per game in the same span. In what should be a close game, I think the over will hit on this total.