Utah Jazz

Celtics vs. Jazz odds: Best NBA picks with Boston as road underdog

Celtics vs. Jazz odds: Best NBA picks with Boston as road underdog

If the Boston Celtics want to be legitimate title contenders, they'll need to win tough games.

Enter Wednesay's contest against the Utah Jazz, who sit fifth in the Western Conference standings and host a Celtics team on the second night of a road back-to-back.

Boston took care of business Tuesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers but will be without Kemba Walker again as the All-Star guard recovers from a knee injury.

That means the Celtics will need Jayson Tatum to stay piping hot if they want to earn a win as rare underdogs against Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz.

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

(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz, 10:30 p.m. ET

Moneyline: The Jazz have lost three in a row out of the All-Star break and just took Mike Conley out of the starting lineup. Boston's only two losses in its last 12 games are to the Lakers and Rockets. That's enough evidence for me to take the underdog Celtics (+180).

Point Spread: The Celtics (+5) have covered in 12 of their 16 games as underdogs this season, the second-best rate (behind the Lakers) in the NBA. They ride Tatum to victory against a Utah team that's 3-9 against the spread in its last 12 games.

Point Total: I'm always tempted to take the under whenever the defensive-minded Jazz are involved, but these teams have hit the over in four of their last six meetings. Expect the point total to go OVER a modest 218.5 point total.

Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 78-44-1 (63.4% success rate)

NBA Lock of the Night

Minnesota Timberwolves at Miami Heat (-11): The tanking Timberwolves have covered just twice in their last 15 games and have lost three consecutive games by double digits. They stand no chance in Miami against the NBA's second-best home team (23-3).

Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks (+4): The Hawks are awful on the road but have won six of their last seven at home. Trae Young carries Atlanta over a Magic team that's 3-10 against the spread over its last 13 contests.

Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 39-41-1 (48.1% success rate)

Celtics, Jazz have never looked smarter for their 2017 NBA Draft decisions

Celtics, Jazz have never looked smarter for their 2017 NBA Draft decisions

Vivint Smart Home Arena is a fitting site for the Boston Celtics' matchup with the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.

After all, the Celtics and Jazz got to where they are by being the two smartest teams at the 2017 NBA Draft.

The Celtics entered with the No. 1 overall pick and the chance to draft Washington star Markelle Fultz. Instead, they moved down two slots, acquired a future first-round pick from the Philadelphia 76ers and got their guy anyway in Jayson Tatum.

Ten picks later, the Jazz swung a trade with the Denver Nuggets to land No. 13 overall pick Donovan Mitchell.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Guess which players  have scored the most career points of anyone in the 2017 draft class? That'd be Mitchell (22.7 career average) and Tatum (16.9 career average).

Mitchell made the quicker ascent: He averaged 20.5 points per game as a rookie to land on the NBA All-Rookie First Team and is currently averaging 24.4 points per game, the most by a Jazz player since Hall of Famer Karl Malone in 1999-00.

Tatum appears to have the higher ceiling, however: He's two years younger than the 23-year-old Mitchell and is putting up ridiculous numbers this month in addition to blossoming into a strong defender.

But the best way to quantify Boston and Utah's success in the 2017 Draft is to look at who they didn't select.

Here's a recap of the first 15 picks:

1. Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia 76ers
2. Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers
3. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
4. Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns
5. De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
6. Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic
7. Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls
8. Frank Ntilikina, New York Knicks
9. Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas Mavericks
10. Zach Collins, Portland Trail Blazers
11. Malik Monk, Charlotte Hornets
12. Luke Kennard, Detroit Pistons
13. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
14. Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat

15. Justin Jackson, Sacramento Kings

The players in bold are All-Stars, as Tatum, Mitchell and Adebayo are the only three players from the 2017 draft class to crack an All-Star roster.

The two picks ahead of Tatum? Fultz played in 33 total games over his first two seasons in Philly before he was shipped off to Orlando, while Ball missed a combined 65 games over his first two campaigns before the Lakers dealt him to the Pelicans.

The pick behind Tatum? Jackson got traded to the Grizzlies after two disgruntled years in Phoenix and actually got assigned to Memphis' G-League team earlier this season.

Fox has been brilliant for Sacramento, while Isaac and Markkanen boast upside if they can stay healthy.

But Tatum and Mitchell have outplayed them all.

And when the two All-Stars meet Wednesday night, it will be further validation that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey knew exactly what they were doing in Brooklyn in June 2017.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Jazz, which begins Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 10:30 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

Boston Celtics vs. Utah Jazz live stream: Watch NBA game online

Boston Celtics vs. Utah Jazz live stream: Watch NBA game online

The Celtics' western road trip wraps up Wednesday night against the streakiest team in the NBA â€” the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz's Jekyll-and-Hyde nature is firmly evidenced by what the team has done since Christmas: 10 straight wins, one loss, a four-game win streak, five straight losses, another four-game win streak, followed by their current three-game losing streak.

That rollercoaster ride has landed Utah in fifth place in a crowded Western Conference playoff field.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

As for the Celtics, even though they've slipped a couple of games behind Toronto in the race for the Eastern Conference's second seed, they've opened up a several-game cushion over the Heat and a potential second-round playoff matchup against the Bucks.

Wednesday's matchup between the Celtics and Jazz is the first meeting between the teams this season, and the first of two matchups in 10 days, as the teams will have a rematch in Boston on March 6.

Here's how to watch the Celtics vs. Jazz, including NBC Sports Boston's pregame coverage, beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET. 

HOW TO WATCH

Listen and subscribe to our Celtics Talk Podcast>>>

ANALYSIS AND REACTION

BEFORE THE GAME: At 9:30 p.m., Celtics Pregame Live presented by TD Bank gets you ready for the game with reports from Michael Holley, Chris Mannix, Kyle Draper, Brian Scalabrine, Abby Chin, A. Sherrod Blakely, and Chris Forsberg. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AT HALFTIME: Tune in to watch a breakdown of the first two quarters on Halftime Live presented by Ace Ticket. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AFTER THE GAME: As soon as the game ends, tune to Celtics Postgame Live presented by New England Ford for analysis, commentary and player reaction. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream

Questions on our livestream? Get all your questions answered here on our Streaming FAQ.

DURING THE GAME, FOLLOW US 

@NBCSBOSTON

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

ON TWITTER