Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:45 AM

Celtics vs. Lakers Predictions, Odds, Preview

Apr. 15, 2021
by Michael Crosson
NBA Expert

Non-conference NBA action will resume on Thursday night with the Lakers set to host the Celtics during the final matchup on TNT’s nationally televised slate.

So, VI is getting you ready with a variety of betting resources to help handicap all the evening’s top contests.

Celtics vs. Lakers Betting Resources

Betting Odds - Celtics vs. Lakers

Line Movements

Subject to Change

  • Spread: Celtics -6
  • Money-Line: Boston -230, Los Angeles +195
  • Total: 212

Boston enters Thursday’s bout as a six-point favorite over the homestanding Lakers – giving Los Angeles its fourth ‘underdog tag’ across the last five games.

While the total for this event currently sits at OU 212, which is just the seventh time since the start of March that the over-under for a matchup containing Boston has been set below 220 (21 games).

The Lakers posted a 5-2 ATS record on their recent road trip as they welcome the Celtics on Thursday night. (AP)

Celtics vs. Lakers Current Form-Last Game

The Celtics head into Thursday’s contest riding a four-game winning streak – with Boston’s most recent defeat coming by way of a double-digit loss to the Sixers, which has proven to be a worrisome mismatch at both ends of the floor for Brad Stevens' squad so far this year (Embiid – 38.3 PPG, L3 vs BOS).

The Celtics rallied from behind to claim a one-point victory over Portland in their latest matchup. Jayson Tatum led Boston’s second-half effort with 25 points on 8-of-12 from the field down the stretch of that game – which was just enough to propel his team to a second straight victory on their current road trip.

On the other hand, the Lakers head into Thursday following wins in two of their last three games – with L.A.’s only loss during that timeframe coming on the front half of a back-to-back against the Knicks, which was a contest Los Angeles led by double-digits.

Los Angeles squared off with the Hornets in Charlotte for their most recent affair, and ended up taking care of business on the road – as Dennis Schroder and Kyle Kuzma combined for 53 points on the way to a win and cover for L.A.

Celtics vs. Lakers Head-to-Head

  • Jan. 30, 2021 - Lakers 96 at Celtics 95, Boston +3.5, Under 217.5

Boston and Los Angeles split a pair of matchups during last year’s regular season – with both of those contests going over the total set for Thursday’s tilt (OU 212).

The most recent meeting between these teams took place back in January of this year though, which was a low-scoring, defensive battle that ended up going down to the wire.

After 47 minutes of hard-fought basketball this past January, the Celtics trailed Los Angeles by one point as the closing seconds of the contest approached.

Kemba Walker missed a step-back jumper inside the three-point line at the buzzer though, which resulted in the Lakers one-point lead holding as a 96-95 victory.

(SU-Straight Up, ATS - Against the Spread, OU - Over-Under)

Boston Celtics Betting Outlook

Inside the Stats (2020-2021)

  • Overall: 29-26 SU, 26-28-1 ATS, 27-28 OU
  • Road: 12-16 SU, 12-16 ATS, 16-12 OU

Despite being one of the biggest disappointments in the league so far this season, Boston heads into Thursday after finally building some momentum – boasting wins in six of their last seven games, with the Celtics’ only loss across that span coming in a tough matchup with the Sixers.

Part of Boston’s issues on offense may have to due with the Celtics’ inconsistent pace of play over the course of their current campaign. The Celtics came out of the gate this year running at a slightly faster pace than last year’s squad did, which left the over-under to set at an 18-16 clip by the conclusion of February.

Since the onset of March though, the Celtics have flipped the script in the pace department – leading to ‘under’ results in 12 of the last 21 matchups containing Boston (OU, 27-28).

Los Angeles Lakers Betting Outlook

Inside the Stats (2020-2021)

  • Overall: 34-21 SU, 27-28 ATS, 20-35 OU
  • Home: 16-11 SU, 11-16 ATS, 11-16 OU

Expectations have been low in Los Angeles lately, given LeBron James and Anthony Davis are both currently sidelined due to injuries.

The Lakers haven’t looked that bad over their latest stretch of games though – heading into Thursday’s matchup after posting records of 3-2 SU and 4-1 ATS during their previous five-game window – despite being favored in just two of those contests.

Riding the ‘under’ in Lakers’ games has been one of the most profitable betting trends in the league this year – with the over-under currently sitting at a 20-35 clip in matchups containing Los Angeles so far this season.

Make note though, the oddsmakers have aggressively scaled down the totals in Lakers’ games recently – which has led to ‘over’ results in four of their last five contests.

Key Injuries

Boston Celtics

  • SG Evan Fournier: Illness - Out

Los Angeles Lakers

  • SF Markieff Morris: Ankle - Questionable
  • SF LeBron James: Ankle - Out
  • PF Anthony Davis: Achilles - Out

Player Prop Best Bet

Dennis Schroder – Over 5.5 Assists (-120)

King James has been forced to miss 13 consecutive games with an ankle injury that he picked up during L.A.’s loss to Atlanta last month, which has inevitably left the Lakers’ primary ball-handling duties to Schroder over the last few weeks.

Los Angeles, as a unit, may be struggling through the thick of its pressing health issues – with James and Davis both still expected to miss a period that extends past Thursday night.

Schroder appears to be thriving within his newly expanded role in the Lakers’ offense though, especially in the passing department – having assisted on six or more baskets in 11 of 13 contests since Lebron’s most recent injury, which includes a 14-assist performance during a loss to Miami.

I’ll back Schroder to have another solid night distributing the basketball against Boston here.

Celtics vs. Lakers Prediction

The Celtics enter Thursday’s contest as winners in six of their last seven games, with Boston’s only loss across that stretch coming in tough matchup against the Eastern Conference leading Sixers.

While the Lakers head into this event following a 3-3 SU stretch, which includes losses of 15 points or more to the Knicks and Clippers during that span.

I’ll lay the points with Boston here, as the Celtics’ edge in this matchup is likely much greater than it appears without James and Davis in the lineup for Los Angeles.

Score Prediction: Celtics 112, Lakers 103
Best Bet: Boston -6

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