Celtics Odds: Boston’s Eastern Conference Playoff Seed Hinging On Road Trip

by abournenesn

Mar 24, 2016

The Boston Celtics’ decisive 91-79 win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday solidified their 12-1 odds to win the Eastern Conference at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. However, the Celtics’ eventual playoff seeding likely will hinge on their performance in an upcoming five-game road swing that kicks off against the Phoenix Suns on Saturday.

With their victory over the Raptors, the Celtics now ride a three-game straight up and against the spread winning streak into Saturday night’s Celtics vs. Suns matchup at Talking Stick Resort Arena, averaging 106 points per game while outscoring opponents by an average margin of 12.7 points.

The hot streak could not have come at a better time for Boston, which had posted straight up and against the spread losses in five of its previous six games, a swoon that presented a serious threat to its budding playoff hopes.

Instead, the Celtics hit the road with a 42-30 SU record, alongside the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference standings, and a half-game up on both the Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets.

While its upcoming junket could hold the key to home-court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs, the road has not been kind of late to Boston, SU and ATS losers in six of its past eight contests away from TD Garden.

While their upcoming matchup with Phoenix looks good on paper, the Celtics cannot afford to look beyond the Suns, who have rebounded from a dreadful 13-game SU losing streak to post a 6-7 SU record over their past 13 outings, including SU wins in three of their past five at home, and are 4-2 ATS in their past six overall.

Boston has tallied victories in each of its past two against the Suns, including a strong 117-103 win as nine-point home chalk on Jan. 15, but is 5-7 SU in its past 12, and 2-3 SU, 2-2-1 ATS in its past five visits to the desert, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

The Celtics follow up with a Monday night date with the Los Angeles Clippers, before traveling to Portland to face the Trail Blazers next Wednesday. The club came out on top in a 139-134 home victory over Los Angeles in February, but is winless in its last three road dates with the Clippers, each as a heavy underdog.

It is a similar story against the Trail Blazers, whom the Celtics have beaten in their past two meetings; Boston has posted just one SU win in its last three trips to Portland.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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