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Celtics vs. Trial Blazers, Spurs vs. Warriors and Nuggets vs. Knicks predictions and picks for Saturday. Jonathan Macri breaks down his best NBA bets

Boston Celtics vs. Portland Trail Blazers Prediction

Celtics vs. Trail Blazers odds

On Thursday, in writing about the Spurs matchup in Portland, I noted how even though the Blazers had been incredibly inconsistent this season, their average home margin of victory combined with San Antonio’s average road margin of defeat were enough to feel confident about going with CJ McCollum & Co. even without Damian Lillard in uniform.

Little did I know that less than 24 hours after that game, Portland would fire its head of basketball operations and The Athletic would release a scathing account of the internal issues currently running rampant within the team. Among those detailed: a new coach who is struggling to gain accountability from his players, and an ill-conceived roster that has failed to battle through tough times in the face of adversity.

Not since the Blazers were swept out of the first round of the playoffs against New Orleans in 2018 have they had to deal with anything close to what is now confronting them. President Neil Olshay is gone, Damian Lillard remains out (and possibly on the trade market if things keep going south) and now they face a Boston team who is finally starting to hit its stride.

For a team who just got shellacked by the Spurs in their own building, that’s quite an uphill battle regardless of their next opponent, but here comes the Celtics, looking like the team many anticipated after an up and down beginning of the season. Following consecutive wins in Toronto and against the Sixers, the Celtics lost a close game in Utah last night but only thanks to some incredibly hot shooting down the stretch from the Jazz.

Boston in 6-4 against the spread after losses and is 2-1-1 on the second night of a back to back, with an average margin against the spread of plus-7.5 points – the third best mark in basketball in such situations. Portland, meanwhile, has a negative margin against the spread when playing on no rest.

You hate giving points to a nearly .500 team on the road, but Boston is clearly the better team, and the Blazers aren’t close to whole without their top dog. Fade the home team.

Boston Celtics vs. Portland Trail Blazers Pick

San Antonio Spurs vs. Golden State Warriors Prediction

Spurs vs. Warriors odds

Speaking of the Spurs, their win in Portland may have come against a team who wasn’t in the best state of mind, but it was still one of their more impressive wins on the season. It also helped them nudge their season-long net rating into the green despite a record of just 7-13. It’s a sign that we’re still early enough in the season where records may not quite match with overall performance and surprising results can still be found.

Except not against their opponent on Saturday night. San Antonio now walks into the toughest place to play in the league, not only this season but in several years, and they do so on no rest.

The Warriors are doing things in their own building that border on the inconceivable. In 13 home games, they have lost just once, way back in the beginning of October. On the year they have outscored opponents by 221 points at home, with the second place Jazz nearly 100 points behind at a plus-134.

Their latest win at the Chase Center: a rude end to the Suns’ win streak in the form of a 22-point victory against a team that hadn’t lost in over a month. It’s tempting to say that this will be a let-down game, but consider that San Antonio only had two road victories this season prior to last night’s win against the Blazers: against the injured Bucks on Halloween eve and versus the moribund Magic on November 5.

They will not get number four here. Take advantage of Vegas’ fears that the Warriors will take the Spurs for granted and happily give the points.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Golden State Warriors Pick

Denver Nuggets vs. New York Knicks Prediction

Nuggets vs. Knicks odds

Two confusing, confounding team, making this one a stay-away if we’re being honest, but let’s take a quick look.

First, the depleted Denver Nuggets, who are down to four healthy guards, one of whom is rookie guard Markus Howard. They are a team in a bad place right now, and it showed in Orlando two night ago, when they were just the fifth team the Magic defeated this season.

Of course, those same Magic had previously defeated Denver’s Saturday opponent not once but twice, both in Madison Square Garden. The Knicks have the single worst margin against the spread in basketball at home, falling short of their expected home margin by an average of 7.9 points.

The Knicks team Denver now faces is different from many of the ones who disappointed earlier in the year, with Alec Burks now starting in pace of Kemba Walker, but even so, they don’t deserve to be giving points to anyone right now. That includes the Nuggets, who have the fourth worst road margin against the spread in the NBA.

Like I said, do yourself a favor and stay away, but take the points if you must.

Denver Nuggets vs. New York Knicks Pick

Article Author


Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.


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