Celtics

NBA Odds: Yes, you can bet on Tacko Fall to win NBA Rookie of the Year

NBA Odds: Yes, you can bet on Tacko Fall to win NBA Rookie of the Year

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Knicks, which tips off Friday at 7 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then NBC Sports Boston has the call of the game at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

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Zion Williamson's knee injury is a tough blow to the NBA, but it also opens the door for other rookies to make their mark.

... Rookies like a certain 7-foot-6 Boston Celtics big man?

Yes, Tacko Fall is on a two-way contract, meaning he can spend a maximum of 45 days on the Celtics' NBA roster. And the reality is he'll likely be with the Main Red Claws for most of the season.

But "Tacko Mania" being what it is, the Senegalese sensation has actual odds to win 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year, according to SuperBook USA's Jeff Sherman.

... So you're telling us there's a chance?

Memphis Grizzlies guard and No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant is the early favorite thanks in part to his 30-point outburst against Kyrie Irving's Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.

The Celtics got a first-hand look at the player below him in New York Knicks forward R.J. Barrett, who dropped 26 points on Boston on Saturday.

And it's a testament to Williamson's potential that he still has 9/2 odds to win the Rookie of the Year despite being expected to miss roughly the first two months of the regular season.

But if you're looking for a good value bet ... well, we still don't recommend Fall, despite the fact that he leads the NBA in several statistical categories.

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Magic's Mo Bamba gushes about Tacko Fall, who might play in Orlando homecoming

Magic's Mo Bamba gushes about Tacko Fall, who might play in Orlando homecoming

Enes Kanter's injury came at a poor time for the Boston Celtics. But Tacko Fall probably isn't complaining.

The Celtics recalled Fall from the G-League affiliate Maine Red Claws on Friday morning, meaning the 7-foot-5 rookie will be with the team in Orlando for its game against the Magic (after a little detour, per NBA reporter Keith Smith).

Fall knows Orlando well, as he played college basketball at the University of Central Florida, just down the road from the Amway Center.

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He also knows Orlando's tallest player well. Mo Bamba, the Magic's 7-foot big man, became friends with Fall through Fall's former UCF teammate Ibrahim Famouke Doumbia, who is close with Bamba.

Bamba even recommended last summer that Fall work with shooting specialist Drew Hanlen, who has helped the Senegal native become more than just the tallest guy on the court.

Bamba told reporters ahead of Friday's Celtics-Magic game he still keeps in touch with Fall.

"Every now and then, I’ll hit him up and call him or text him and check him and make sure he’s doing all right up there in cold Boston," Bamba said, via OrlandoMagic.com's John Denton.

"He’s just a really good guy. His character speaks loudly for the type of person he is. (The fan reaction he gets) is kind of expected … everyone loves Tacko. Not only is he a big person, but he really does have a big personality. He’s a good guy."

Fall made a brief cameo during Boston's preseason game in Orlando in October, but he may get some actual minutes Friday with Kanter and Robert Williams both sidelined due to injury.

After all, someone needs to match up with the 7-foot Bamba -- and the Amway Center crowd needs something to cheer about.

"I trust him to give us minutes if we need them," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said of Fall earlier Friday.

"I also know that there'll be plenty of green because we travel well. There'll be Celtics fans cheering for him and some UCF fans. It'll be 100 percent Tacko fans."

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Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Magic, which begins Friday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Celtics vs. Magic odds: Best NBA picks with C's as surprising underdogs

Celtics vs. Magic odds: Best NBA picks with C's as surprising underdogs

The sportsbooks apparently aren't putting much stock into the NBA standings for the Boston Celtics' matchup with the Orlando Magic.

The Celtics are listed as 1.5-point underdogs for Friday's game against the Magic despite Orlando entering with a 21-24 record, nine games behind the 29-14 C's.

Boston won't look like the same team that blew out the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, though. Jayson Tatum and Enes Kanter already have been ruled out with injuries, while Jaylen Brown is questionable as he recovers from a sprained ankle.

Do those injuries give the Magic an edge, or will the Celtics prove the sportsbooks wrong by notching their third consecutive win?

Below are our betting predictions for Celtics-Magic, as well as two NBA locks against the spread.

(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)

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Boston Celtics at Orlando Magic, 7 p.m. ET

Moneyline: The Celtics have lost four of their last five games to Orlando, which may also explain why they're underdogs. But the Magic have dropped three of four, while Boston rolled without Brown on Wednesday night. I'll take the money on the Celtics (+105).

Point Spread: The beauty of these Celtics (+1.5) is that Tatum and Brown's absence just means more opportunities for Kemba Walker, Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart. Boston has covered in five of its last seven games despite dealing with several injuries and should get the job done here.

Point Total: The over is tempting considering the Celtics are averaging 126 points over their last four games. But they may have to win ugly here against a Magic team that plays at the third-slowest pace in the NBA. Give me the UNDER on the 212.5 point total

Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 60-35-1 (62.5% success rate)

NBA Locks of the Night

Memphis Grizzlies (-1) at Detroit Pistons: The Grizzlies had won seven of eight before the Celtics trounced them Wednesday. They get back on track against a Pistons team that's played just one of its last eight games against a team above .500 -- and gone 4-4 in that span.

Denver Nuggets at New Orleans Pelicans (-4): Even if Zion Williamson doesn't hit four 3-pointers, his presence should energize the Pelicans at home against a Nuggets team missing four key rotation players.

Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 32-31-1 (50% success rate)

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Magic, which begins Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.