The Boston Celtics will be looking to bounce back from a pair of losses to open their first-round series against the Chicago Bulls when they tip off at the United Center on Friday night in Game 3 of the best-of-seven set as 2-point road underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by

After receiving news of the tragic death of his sister in a car accident last weekend, star point guard Isaiah Thomas racked up a game-high 33 points in Boston’s 106-102 loss as 6.5-point home chalk in Game 1, but he was held to just 20 points in Tuesday’s 111-97 loss. That leaves the club trailing 2-0 in the series ahead of Friday night’s critical matchup.

The Celtics emerged as one of the hottest teams in the NBA in the second half of the season, going 27-11 straight up in their final 38 contests to move past the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers to capture the top spot in the NBA’s Eastern Conference for the first time since 2008, when they last won the NBA championship.

However, Boston has been a consistent disappointment at the sportsbooks during a meager 5-11 against-the-spread run and is just 3-6 ATS in its past nine games away from TD Garden, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

And the slow start to the postseason has devastated the Celtics on the NBA championship odds. Boston entered the postseason sporting +1600 odds to win the NBA title, but following home losses in Games 1 and 2, the club now sits at a distant +5000 on those futures.

Conversely, the Bulls’ unexpected success in Boston has fueled a rise on the NBA title odds, from a long +25000 ahead of Game 1 to a far more respectable +5000 going into Game 3.

The Bulls continue to defy the odds after making a late charge into the postseason, seizing the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference on the strength of an 8-3 SU regular-season stretch run.

Chicago has also enjoyed success at the sportsbooks, going 13-5 ATS in its past 18 games overall, including an impressive 10-1 ATS run as betting underdogs that featured six straight outright victories.

Chicago also is a respectable 15-11 SU in 26 home dates as a betting favorite this season, including wins in three straight April dates, and 8-2 SU and ATS in its past 10 games when favored by two or fewer points at home.

And the Bulls have dominated the Celtics in games at the United Center in recent years, going 12-3 SU in their past 15 while holding Boston to under 100 points on 10 occasions.

Thumbnail photo via Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports Images