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March 30, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)

Take Boston Celtics at +4 spread (buy half a point) against Charlotte Hornets risking 3%

This is an important matchup for both clubs as the Celtics head to Charlotte to battle the Hornets tonight. While this game means a lot to either franchise, this is arguably a must win for Boston after dropping out of the 8th and final playoff spot of the Eastern Conference yesterday. The Celtics had a poor showing and were outclassed by the Clippers but tonight they face what should be a much easier challenge against a team that is banged up and will be without one of its key players. 

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a catalyst for this team defensively and a key under-rated player. Just how big of a contributor has he been? MKG missed 16 games earlier this season with a foot injury and the Hornets only managed to go 3-13 in his absence! This is a team that has shown their struggles when he has not been on the floor this season and with Al Jefferson also not being 100%, that leaves Charlotte extremely vulnerable to what should be a motivated Boston squad. A win for the Hornets would give them the tie breaker should these teams finish with identical records and could turn out to be the difference in making the playoffs, or watching from the sidelines. Kidd-Gilchrist sitting out does not only hurt Charlotte as a team considering he is averaging over 12 points a game, 7 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 33 minutes of floor time over his last 10 games, production that will surely be hard to fill but should help the likes of Evan Turner have an easier time scoring and assisting. Jefferson is botehred by his kneeds and is not as mobile in the paint which should allow the smaller Boston guards to get into the lane with greater ease. Thomas has been back in the Boston rotation for a number of games now and is starting to get back in his groove. He had a huge showing the last time these two teams met back in late February and could provide a spark yet again.

The Celtics have proven to be extremely dangerous when listed as underdogs this season, going 27-17 ATS on the year. Fatigue has not been a problem for this young side even when they have played a game the day before. In fact, this is actually a situation in which the Celtics have excelled this season as they are 10-5 on the second half of a back-to-back and sport an impressive 11-3 ATS record! Brad Stevens has done a great job with this group since taking over and it appears that his players truly buy into his philosophies. They are still a young team but do display a lot of character, heart and determination. With their playoff hopes still alive, we expect them to put forth a solid all around effort tonight in what should be a bounce back game after yesterday's loss. 

While the Hornets didn't play yesterday, they are coming off a big win over the Eastern Conference leading Atlanta Hawks and played a tough overtime game against Wizards the day before! Although Atlanta rested starters and essentially "gave" Charlotte the victory, it still opens this team up for a potential letdown spot after a win over a division rival. Guarding the 3-point line has been a problem for Charlotte this season and could be their undoing tonight especially without their defensive leader. The Hornets allowed Hawks to hit fifteen 3-pointers in that game and that was against mainly backup players. The Celtics have some capable outside shooters and could benefit from that tonight.

We believe this will likely be a close game between two teams vying for a playoff spot. Cody Zeller should return for the Hornets but this is his first game back after a few weeks and he'll be rusty. And with Al Jefferson at less than 100% and Kidd-Gilchrist absent, we believe Boston has the edge tonight. The Celtics were outplayed by Doc Rivers' Clippers yesterday but that is no real surprise. Tonight however, they find themselves taking a step down in competition in what is a not only more winnable but crucial game! This is a squad that has feasted on the bottom dwelling teams in the league having won 13 of their 20 games against teams with losing records in the second half of the season and we feel that they can get win number 14 tonight. Even if the Celtics fall short and the Hornets find a way to grab the victory, it should be close with the points coming into play. 
Other notable facts to consider:

  • Boston is 27-17 ATS as an underdog this season. 
  • Charlotte is 6-15 ATS in home games with the total between 190 and 199.5 points!
  • Boston is 11-3 ATS when they played the previous day!
  • Boston is 5-1 SU & ATS in road games with total in this range this season.

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