Bet Stevens, Celtics In This Rare ATS Spot

The Celtics are slumping down the stretch, but bet on head coach Brad Stevens turning the team’s fortunes around during the 2018-19 NBA playoffs. Some profitable against-the-spread wagers possibly await, too. Check it out.

Celtics Seek Answers

The Celtics are a hot mess closing out the 2018-19 regular season, going 6-10 SU and 4-11-1 ATS since the All-Star weekend. What is causing the fast slide down the standings? Some believe the squad, loaded with talented players like G Kyrie Irving, C Al Horford, and more, are missing positive team chemistry. Fair point considering Irving blasted head coach Brad Stevens’ tactics after blowing an 18-point fourth-quarter lead in a 124-117 loss at the Hornets Saturday night.

A recent spate of niggling injuries is to blame as well. Jason Tatum (back), Horford (knee), Aron Baynes (foot) and Gordon Hayward (concussion) have all missed time recently. Hayward is the primary target for many critics in this stretch, playing heavy minutes and showing little production. The former All-Star is averaging 9.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 0.4 steals in 23.2 minutes per game during the team’s funk.

Stevens, meanwhile, is experimenting with a bevy of lineup changes to find a cure, hoping to improve the team’s defensive efficiency primarily. Offensively, several players are guilty of playing too much “hero ball” in frustration. Here’s Stevens answering questions about the pending changes:

Bet Stevens ATS Here

The Celtics have eight more games on the schedule before the postseason. They currently hold the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, a comfortable 5.5-game cushion over the Pistons. A first-round matchup would pit Boston against the Pacers if the playoffs started today.

Any road to the NBA Finals will likely see the Celtics square off against either the Bucks or the Raptors, currently the top two teams in the East. Either matchup will present bettors with a situational investment worth considering. Why? Milwaukee (9.4) and Toronto (5.3) are the only two teams in the conference owning a higher average margin of victory than Boston (4.5). Under Stevens, the Celtics are an eye-opening 63-35-1 ATS (64.3 percent) all-time on the road against a team with a higher points differential for the season. The franchise is covering a 7.2 average line by 2.8 points per game in this spot.

Most of the covers occurred in Stevens’ first two season, the team undervalued and slowly improving. Nonetheless, this angle has returned a profit in each season, though Boston is 3-5 ATS in the 2018-19 campaign:

Season ATS Record Avg. Line ATS Margin
2013 20-12 (62.5%) 8.9 1.5
2014 17-6 (73.9%) 8.7 4.1
2015 7-6 (53.8%) 5.9 1.2
2016 11-3-1 (78.6%) 6.0 4.0
2017 5-3 (62.5%) 6.9 2.4
2018 3-5 (37.5%) 0.1 4.3

The betting market is incredibly efficient, so finding any edge in trends is often fool’s gold. They almost all retreat closer to 50 percent over time, but some can be very powerful when simple and relevant. Maybe there is something to Stevens’ planning, preparation, and motivation when the Celtics suit up in a tough environment against stronger opponents. The six-year leader recently told reporters he plans to shuffle his starting lineups in the playoffs depending on matchups. Stevens is savvy, smart, and analytics driven. He makes a difference.

The consistency in which Stevens finishes on top of the market in this aforementioned situation is intriguing. One should definitely not bet against Boston in this scenario.
If backing, look to catch more than 3 points on the NBA oddsboard, effectively the home-court advantage given to the Bucks or Raptors. Stevens has covered exactly two-thirds (56-28-1 ATS) of contests under these conditions in his career, going 2-0 overall this year.

Image by Winslow Townson, USA TODAY Sports