The Boston Celtics return home as the hottest team in the NBA after a strong road trip out West. Now they host a flailing Utah Jazz team that can’t seem to get it together in March. We like Jayson Tatum & Co. to take care of business in our betting picks.
The Boston Celtics are back home off a successful four-game Western road trip but can’t let their guard down tonight, hosting the Utah Jazz.
The Jazz are in the midst of their own away swing, most recently losing at Brooklyn on Monday — part of an inconsistent month of March in which the Jazz are 7-5 SU and just 4-7-1 against the NBA betting spread. The Celtics, on the other hand, are a sterling 9-1 SU and 7-3 ATS this month and giving five points to Utah tonight.
Check out our free NBA picks and predictions for Jazz at Celtics on March 23.
Jazz vs Celtics odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
Boston opened as low as -4.5 and climbed as high as -6 before buyback on Utah slimmed this spread back down as low as -5. The total hit the board at 223 points and has dropped to as low as 219 points at some sportsbooks by this writing.
Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until tip-off and be sure to check out the full NBA odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.
Jazz vs Celtics predictions
Predictions made on 3/23/2022 at 10:30 am ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Jazz vs. Celtics game info
• Rental: TD Garden, Boston, MA
• Dated: Wednesday, March 23, 2022
• tip-off: 7:30 p.m. ET
• TV: NBCS-Boston, Sportsnet RM
Jazz vs Celtics betting preview
Jazz: Bojan Bogdanovic F (Out), Udoka Azubuike C (Out), Danuel House F (Out).
Celtics: Marcus Smart G (Likely), Robert Williams III C (Likely).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
Utah is 9-18-1 Over/Under (67% Unders) against Eastern Conference teams this season. Find more NBA betting trends for Jazz vs. Celtics.
Jazz vs Celtics picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
The last time the Boston Celtics played inside the TD Garden, they suffered their only defeat of the past 10 games at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks’ defense — a 95-92 dud from the hottest team in the NBA. Boston is back in Beantown tonight and matching up with another strong defensive side, with the Jazz ranked No. 9 in advanced defensive rating.
However, March hasn’t been kind to the Jazz. After going on an 8-1 rampage during a short February slate, Utah can’t seem to build any momentum this month. A road-heavy schedule could be to blame, with tonight’s tilt in Boston standing as the Jazz’s eighth road game in March.
Offense seems to be the biggest bugaboo, at least when the Jazz hit the highway. This team ranked tops in the league in offensive rating in the first five months of the season (116.2) and have maintained that output at home in March (124.0) but are slumming it on road, dropping it to 111.3 over those seven games outside the Beehive State.
The finger can wag at superstar Donovan Mitchell, who has been at the core of these inconsistent efforts. Mitchell has shrunk in key games, most recently shooting a dismal 9 for 23 in the loss to Brooklyn on Monday. He also finished 10 for 32 in the loss versus Milwaukee at home on March 14 and his shooting clip is down to 42% this month, compared to his red-hot 49.7% mark in February.
As for Utah’s defense, it’s been almost as unpredictable. The Jazz got chewed up by Kevin Durant on Monday (who doesn’t?) and now face Boston’s budding supernova Jayson Tatum, who is arguably playing the best basketball of anyone in the league right now. Since the All-Star break, Tatum is fueling the Celtics’ surge, averaging 32.6 points a game.
Tatum’s given Boston a go-to scorer when it needs a big shot and has drawn the ire of opposing defenses, but to no avail. The Jazz have been trying to solve their defensive issues by throwing versatile center Rudy Gobert at foes’ top guns. That’s produced mixed results, and Tatum’s off-the-dribble speed will torch Gobert in the halfcourt while also pulling Utah’s premier rim protector away from the paint.
Prediction: Celtics -5 (-110)
Covers NBA betting analysis
Utah is averaging a mere 108.1 points per away game this month and Boston is not the place to get right on the road. Since the start of the calendar year, the Celtics are slamming the door with their defense, boasting an NBA-best defensive rating including an advanced metric of 103.3 at home in that span.
We touched on Mitchell’s disappearing acts this month and he’ll draw checks from standout defenders Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, who is expected to play tonight (illness). Utah point guard Mike Conley has also been mired in a bit of a skid, averaging just over 11 points in March on 39% shooting, and the Jazz desperately miss Bojan Bogdanovic’s ability to stretch the defense and create space with his 3-point shooting.
Boston does a great job defending pick-and-roll playsets — Utah’s bread and butter — and ranks Top 5 in scoring frequency allowed to those offenses. The Celtics also protect the perimeter better than most, checking rivals to just 33.8% shooting from distance (second lowest), which comes in handy against a Utah attack that leans heavily on outside shooting (39% of total offense from 3-pointers).
Prediction: Under 219 (-110)
Boston has looked nearly invincible over the past 10 games, but the Celtics do have one bad habit during this stretch. The C’s have been sensational for the first 24 minutes of action but apparently leave that intensity in the locker room at halftime.
Boston, which owns a lockdown defensive rating of 99.7 in first halves since the start of 2022, bows for an advanced metric of 124.6 in the third quarter of those past 10 contests (second-worst in the NBA during that span). The Celtics have allowed 29.9 points per third quarter in those games — 29% of their total points allowed.
This is Utah’s third straight road game and third game in four days, so energy levels could be a little low. But this offense should be respected and averages 28.4 third-quarter points per game. We’re going to protect against Boston’s no-shows after the break and take the Under on Utah’s team total in the first 24 minutes of action Wednesday.
pick: Jazz 1H Team Total Under 51.5 (-110)
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