The Boston Celtics will continue their current five-game West Coast swing Thursday night with a stop in Portland for a game against the Trail Blazers.
The 43-31 Celtics are coming off a 114-90 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday as four-point betting underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, halting a four-game straight-up win streak.
Boston’s odds to win the NBA title have dropped to 66-1 after recently peaking at 50-1, and it has fallen into a tie for fifth place with the Charlotte Hornets in the crowded Eastern Conference standings heading into Thursday’s Celtics vs. Trail Blazers matchup.
The Celtics are on a respectable 10-6 SU run but have watched the red-hot Atlanta Hawks pass them in the conference standings. The Hawks have won 14 of 17 SU to take sole possession of third place in the East, 1 1/2 games up on Boston.
The Celtics are also looking up at the fourth-place Miami Heat, who hold a half-game edge, while a rejuvenated Hornets squad also is threatening to get by them in the standings.
Winners of 13 of their last 16 games, the Hornets routed the Philadelphia 76ers 100-85 as 11 1/2-point betting favorites Wednesday in the first half of a home-and-home with the Sixers to draw even with Boston in the standings.
Charlotte has not suffered consecutive SU losses since late January and plays five of its final eight contests against teams below it in the standings.
The Trail Blazers continue to jockey for a Western Conference playoff spot and would like to extend their slim 1 1/2-game lead over seventh-place the Utah Jazz, who would face an unenviable first-round playoff matchup with the San Antonio Spurs if the season ended today.
Portland is 2-0 SU on its current homestand after handing the Sacramento Kings a 105-93 loss as 13-point chalk Monday, extending its SU home winning streak to five games.
However, the Blazers have been spotty at the sportsbooks since a reliable 16-6 ATS run ended earlier this month, going 6-8 ATS since then. That betting swoon started with a 116-93 loss as six-point underdogs at TD Garden on March 2
Things then get tougher for the Celtics on Friday, when they battle the defending champion Golden State Warriors. The Warriors have won five straight against Boston, according to the OddsShark NBA Database, but they have claimed victory by just five combined points in the Celtics’ last two visits.
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