Clippers vs Celtics NBA betting picks and predictions: L.A. to head into break on high note

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The Celtics are short home favorites over the Clippers on Thursday night as both teams play their final game before the All-Star break.

We build the blueprint for betting this marquee matchup on the NBA basketball odds board, from our favorite bets for the side and total to some quick-paying picks and prop plays.

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QUICK HITTER

The Clippers have been treading water of late and enter off a 110-103 road loss to the Sixers on Tuesday. Los Angeles has dropped two of its last three straight up and three of five ATS and has slipped to third place in the Western Conference standings.

Boston had its seven-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday night in Houston as James Harden and Russell Westbrook combined for 78 points in a 116-105 Rockets victory. The Celtics received a balanced offensive effort with all five starters scoring in double-figures. Gordon Hayward led the way with 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

Both teams have defended well in the early stages of the game, especially Boston, who are ranked fourth allowing just 26.5 points in the first quarter this season. The first-quarter Under is 6-4 in the last 10 games for the Clippers. With the All-Star break looming, both teams will get off to a slow start.

Pick: Under 57.5 First Quarter

FIRST HALF

Jaylen Brown limped off the floor in the fourth quarter against the Rockets but is probable to suit up on Thursday with a calf injury. Brown is averaging 21.3 points on 51.5 percent shooting over his last 10 games and is a key cog in the Celtics’ rotation.

The Clippers have been a profitable first-half bet on the road this season and are 15-11-1 ATS. Both teams will enter this game hungry coming in off a loss, but Los Angeles is a little healthier and has had recent success in this series winning the last two matchups in Boston. Take the road team to win the first half outright.

Pick: Clippers First Half ML (+100)

TEAM/PLAYER PROP

Paul George is coming off one of his worst offensive games of the season scoring just 11 points on 3-of-15 shooting against the Sixers. However, George did grab 12 rebounds for the second time in his last five games.

The Celtics allowed 45 rebounds to an undersized Rockets lineup on Tuesday including 18 combined from guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook. The backcourt boards will be open for business again on Thursday night with George muscling up on the glass.

Pick: Paul George Over 6.5 Rebounds

TOTAL BET

Boston continues to rely on its defense as eight of the last 11 games staying under the total. They committed 18 turnovers against the Rockets and scored fewer than 23 points in two of four quarters. The Celtics are ranked second allowing just 105.7 points per game this season.

The Clippers have also been stingy of late with four of the last six games going Under. Los Angeles won the prior matchup between these two teams 107-104 as the game stayed under the relatively low total of 217.5. The Under is 15-12 in Clippers’ road games this season. Expect this one to stay beneath the total.

Pick: Under 227

SPREAD BET

Marcus Morris scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds against the Sixers in his second start with Los Angeles since being acquired in a trade from the Knicks before the deadline last week. Morris played just 22 minutes in his debut Sunday against the Cavaliers but saw 35 minutes of action against Philadelphia.

After missing the win over Cleveland due to rest, Kawhi Leonard returned to the floor against the Sixers and dropped 30 points. It was Leonard’s first 30-point performance since reaching that plateau in nine straight games from Jan. 10 through Feb. 1. Leonard is averaging 27.1 points per game this season.

The Celtics have struggled at home in this series, dropping two straight against the Clippers at TD Garden. Los Angeles has won four straight overall and is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings. Boston appeared to run out of gas in the fourth quarter against the Rockets and that could carry over into Thursday. Los Angeles is a good bet to head into the All-Star break on a winning note.

Pick: Clippers +1.5

Clippers vs Celtics NBA betting picks and predictions: L.A. to head into break on high note originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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