The Boston Celtics will be looking to rebound from a shaky start to the NBA season when they travel to Oklahoma City to battle the Thunder on Thursday night.
The Celtics have alternated between wins and losses over their first four outings, capped by a 93-90 loss to the Orlando Magic as 11-point home chalk at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com on Monday that leaves them winless against the spread in three straight outings ahead of Thursday night’s matchup at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Boston has limped out of the gate despite the return to action of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. The club’s two stars both missed significant time to injury last season and have produced middling results in the early going.
Irving has opened well off last season’s pace with just 16.5 points per game, while Hayward has struggled with lingering soreness in the ankle he badly injured early last season, and has been limited to just 11.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in three appearances.
Despite the slow start and the concerns about Hayward’s health, the Celtics have maintained their strong +500 odds to win the NBA championship. Boston swept the season series with the Thunder last year, including a 101-94 victory in Oklahoma City as 6.5-point underdogs.
Last season’s success put the brakes on a lengthy stretch of futility for Boston against the Thunder, who powered to SU wins in 11 of their previous 13 meetings with the Celtics, including outright victories in five of six contests in Oklahoma City.
However, the Thunder are off to a dismal start to the new campaign, posting SU losses in three outings, capped by a 131-120 loss to the visiting Sacramento Kings as 11-point chalk Sunday.
Oklahoma City’s slow start marks a carryover from the end of the 2017-18 regular season, which the club closed out with just one SU victory in their final four home dates before bowing out to the Utah Jazz in six games in the first round of the postseason. The Thunder’s disappointing finish is reflected by the lengthy +3000 NBA championship odds the team sported to open the season.
Following Thursday night’s date in Oklahoma City, the Celtics travel to Detroit on Saturday for the opening half of a home-and-home with the Pistons, which concludes at TD Garden on Tuesday.
The Celtics have held the upper hand in recent dates with the Pistons, going 6-2 SU over their past eight meetings, according to the OddsShark NBA Database, and are undefeated SU in their past five visits to the Motor City.
Thumbnail photo via Mark D. Smith/USA TODAY Sports