NBA picks: Celtics vs. Clippers betting predictions, plays against the spread

NBA picks: Celtics vs. Clippers betting predictions, plays against the spread

We've got a marquee matchup at Staples Center on Wednesday night.

The 11-2 Boston Celtics will take on Paul George, (possibly) Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers in a matchup of two teams that look like serious NBA title contenders.

Our betting track record has been nearly as strong as the team in green, as we moved to 18-11-1 picking Celtics games following Boston's win over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.

Leonard's uncertain status due to a knee injury makes Celtics-Clippers a tricky one to predict, but there are some notable trends worth considering as you head to the sportsbook.

Here are our moneyline, point spread and point total betting predictions for C's-Clippers, followed by two NBA locks against the spread.

(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)

Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Clippers, 10 p.m. ET

Moneyline: Wednesday night will be Boston's toughest test of the season, even if Leonard misses another game due to a left knee contusion. The Clippers are one of the few teams that can match the Celtics' depth and secondary scoring, while Paul George has been brilliant through his first three games (29.3 points per game). I'm riding with the Clippers (-250) at home.

Point Spread: The Celtics are 11-2 for a reason. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been excellent lately, and Kemba Walker have displayed his playmaking chops with 14 assists in his last two games. A lot hinges on Leonard's availability, but I think the Celtics (+6) keep this close and cover.

Point Total: Did the Celtics leave their offense back in Boston? The C's are averaging a paltry 101 points per game to begin their west coast trip, and the UNDER has hit in seven of L.A.'s nine home games this season. Boston may pull a fast one here, but I don't see this reaching the 218 point total.

Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 18-11-1

NBA Locks of the Night

Orlando Magic at Toronto Raptors (-3): The Magic are riding a three-game winning streak, but two of those wins came against the Spurs and Wizards. The Raptors are undefeated at home this season, so they should be able to cover this tiny spread.

Utah Jazz (-3.5) at Minnesota Timberwolves: The Wolves have been weirdly bad at home this season (3-4), and Utah is 5-2 against the spread in its last seven games against Minnesota. I like the Jazz snapping their mini-losing streak with a quality road win.

Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 10-9-1

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Clippers, which tips off Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

Celtics' Marcus Smart signs posters for 'biggest fans' Grant Williams, Javonte Green

Celtics' Marcus Smart signs posters for 'biggest fans' Grant Williams, Javonte Green

Marcus Smart got a visit from two of his biggest fans in the Boston Celtics locker room on Friday.

Those fans were his rookie teammates Grant Williams and Javonte Green, who approached the longest-tenured Celtic with autograph requests.

Smart obliged, but he laughed off their requests to write "To Grant" or "To Javonte" on the Authentic Fan posters. Williams did, however, convince Smart to write "To Mini-Me" since Smart has referred to the 21-year-old as the younger version of himself.

Watch below:

To say the youngsters look up to Smart would be an understatement.

After missing the Celtics' win over the Heat with an illness and oblique injury, Smart will be back in action for Friday night's matchup vs. the Denver Nuggets.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

This historical stat bodes well for the Celtics chances of beating the Nuggets

This historical stat bodes well for the Celtics chances of beating the Nuggets

The Boston Celtics are trying to win their ninth consecutive home game at the TD Garden to start the season. To keep the streak alive, they'll have to take down a tough opponent in the Denver Nuggets.

The Celtics are on a three-game losing streak against the Nuggets, including a 96-92 defeat in Denver a couple of weeks. That said, history suggests that the Celtics shouldn't be worried about dropping a fourth game in a row.

According to Sean Grande, the Celtics have never lost four straight games to the Nuggets in the 44 years that the Nuggets have been part of the NBA.

Of course, it's important not to read into this too much, as trends are made to be broken. But still, it's an interesting nugget for the Celtics to be aware of before they take on the Nuggets.

After all, the C's did play hard against Denver at the end of a five-game west coast road trip and came back during a game in which Kemba Walker suffered a scary-looking injury. So, perhaps in the friendly confines of the TD Garden, they'll have a chance to emerge victoriously.

Heading into the game, the Celtics are favored by 3.5 points as the home team. Click here for our predictions about how the second meeting between the Celtics and Nuggets this season will shake out.

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Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nuggets, which tips off Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.