Celtics vs. Nets Predictions, Odds, Preview

May 22, 2021
by Michael Crosson
NBA Expert

Now that the play-in tournaments have concluded and the postseason bracket is finalized, the NBA Playoffs will officially kick off on Saturday with a jam-packed four-game slate of action on ESPN and ABC.

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

Celtics vs. Nets Betting Resources

Betting Odds - Celtics vs. Nets

Line Movements

Subject to Change

  • Spread: Nets -8
  • Money-Line: Brooklyn -360, Boston +300
  • Total: 228.5

Brooklyn enters Saturday’s matchup as an eight-point favorite over the visiting Nets, which is the fourth underdog tag given to Boston following Jaylen Brown’s season-ending wrist injury.

The total for this event currently sits OU 229 – marking just the second time the over-under for a Nets’ game has been set below 230 since the latest calendar turn.

James Harden and the Nets own a 28-8 home record this season as they face the Celtics on Saturday. (AP)

Celtics vs. Nets Current Form

Despite battling a multitude of injury concerns throughout the year, Brooklyn still managed to close out the regular season riding a five-game winning streak – claiming the second seed in the East with a record of 48-24, which fell just one game short of the conference-leading Sixers (49-23).

On the flip side, Boston closed out the regular season with an incredibly disheartening stretch of performances – heading into the play-in tournament following losses in six of their final seven games, with the Celtics’ only victory during that timeframe coming in a matchup against the tanking Timberwolves (23-49).

Boston easily played into the postseason bracket by muscling the Wizards with a dominant defensive effort this past Tuesday though, as the Celtics held Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook to just 42 points on a combined 16-of-42 from the field during the victory.

Celtics vs. Nets Head-to-Head

  • Apr. 23, 2021 - Nets 109 vs. Celtics 104, Brooklyn -3.5, Under 225.5
  • Mar. 11, 2020 - Nets 121 vs. Celtics 109, Brooklyn -2.5, Under 232
  • Dec. 25, 2020 - Nets 123 at Celtics 95, Brooklyn -3, Under 229.5

Brooklyn claimed a trio of victories against the Celtics during this year’s regular season – with two of those contests staying 'under' the total set for Saturday’s tilt (OU 229), and the other clearing that bar by a very slim margin (121-109).

The Nets’ first two wins over Boston came in blowout fashion, as Brooklyn held the Celtics to 102 points per game across those affairs – resulting in a pair of victories by an average margin of 20 points.

In the most recent matchup between these teams, Kyrie Irving played horribly in the absence of James Harden and Kevin Durant – putting up just 15 points on 4-of-19 from the floor across 34 minutes of action.

Luckily for the Nets though, Brooklyn’s supporting cast stepped up big time while possessing minimal star power for a short stint – as Blake Griffin, Joe Harris, Bruce Brown, and Jeff Green teamed up for 67 of Brooklyn’s 109 points at a combined 54.7% clip on the way to a narrow, third straight victory over Boston.

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

Boston Celtics Betting Outlook

Inside the Stats (2020-2021)

  • Overall: 37-36 SU, 33-38-1 ATS, 37-35 OU
  • Road: 15-21 SU, 16-20 ATS, 19-17 OU

After coming within two games of reaching the NBA Finals in the bubble, the Celtics were rather pedestrian during this year’s regular season – entering Tuesday’s play-in round as the seventh seed in the East after posting a record of 36-36 SU, which fell four games short of Miami for the final legitimate playoff spot in the conference.

Betting the 'over' in Celtics’ games played at a relatively profitable rate this season – with the total finishing up at a 37-35 clip in matchups containing Boston.

That trend seems to be on the decline with one of Boston’s superstars sidelined though – considering the total has stayed 'under' in five of seven matchups following the injury to Brown, which includes Tuesday’s play-in victory over Washington.

Brooklyn Nets Betting Outlook

Inside the Stats (2020-2021)

  • Overall: 48-24 SU, 38-34 ATS, 40-32 OU
  • Home: 28-8 SU, 19-17 ATS, 20-16 OU

The Nets endured a revolving door of injury concerns over the course of this year’s regular season, which has resulted in Brooklyn’s “Big Three” starting just four games together following the acquisition of Harden back in mid-January.

That being said, Brooklyn still managed to give Philadelphia a run for its money down the homestretch – as Durant and company closed out the season riding a five-game winning streak, with all three members of their superstar tandem participating in two of those contests.

Betting the ‘over’ in Nets’ games was one of the most consistent plays in the league during this year’s regular season – with the total going 'over' at a 40-32 clip in matchups containing Brooklyn.

Brooklyn’s run of ‘over’ results fizzled out towards the conclusion of the regular season though – as the ‘under’ played at a 60% clip across the Nets’ last 30 games.

Key Injuries

Boston Celtics

  • C Robert Williams III: Foot - Probable
  • SG Jaylen Brown: Wrist - Out

Brooklyn Nets

  • SG James Harden: Hamstring - Probable
  • SF Joe Harris: Hip - Probable

Celtics vs. Nets Player Prop Best Bet

Kemba Walker – Over 24.5 Points (+100)

Since Brown’s season-ending injury, the Celtics have been forced to heavily rely on other scoring options at the offensive end of the floor, and it seems like Kemba Walker has become the primary beneficiary during the superstar’s absence.

Walker heads into Saturday averaging 29.6 points per game across his last five outings, while failing to put 25 on the board once during that stretch.

I’ll back Kemba to have a solid night here, as the Celtics will likely need him to carry a significant amount of scoring weight in this series if Boston is going to put up a fight against Brooklyn.

Celtics vs. Nets Prediction

After the ‘over’ jumped out to 22-8 (73.3%) across Brooklyn’s opening stretch of contests, that over-under clip stooped all the way down to 40-32 (55.5%) by the conclusion of the regular season – thanks to 'under' tickets cashing in 18 of the last 30 Nets’ games.

On the flip side, the Celtics also leaned towards the 'over' for most of this year – with the total finishing up at a 37-35 clip in regular season matchups containing Boston.

The Celtics have struggled to generate offense since Brown’s season-ending injury though, which has bred ‘under’ results in five of Boston’s last seven games – including Tuesday’s play-in victory over the Wizards.

I’ll back Saturday’s series-opener to stay 'under' too, as teams tend to ramp up the intensity at the defensive end of the floor when playoffs start – and both parties in this matchup were awesome ‘under’ plays down the homestretch of the regular season.

Score Prediction: Nets 114, Celtics 109
Best Bet: Under 228.5