2021 NBA Picks: The Boston Celtics Need to Make a Big Trade

2021 NBA Picks: The Boston Celtics Need to Make a Big Trade

Check out our best NBA bets ahead of Monday night’s action, which includes a super compelling showdown between the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks.

If there's one thing we've learned while engaging in online NBA betting over the years, it's that teams tend to show us who they are by the quarter-mark of the regular season. Are they rebuilding? Tanking? Accidentally bad? Or are they instead playoff hopefuls, perhaps even a team with intriguing betting odds for the NBA Finals?

Sure, there can be exceptions to the rule. Midseason about-faces aren't unheard of. But for the most part, NBA teams are who they are by this point in the season. And frankly, that's bad news for the Boston Celtics, who clearly need to make a big trade if they're going to emerge as reliable NBA betting picks.

Beantown's December 13 showdown with the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks will mark yet another litmus test. Are they up to the task? Before plumbing for the answer, let's take a look at the latest NBA betting odds from BetOnline:

FavoriteBetOnlineBetOnlineUnderdog
Indiana Pacers-115-105Golden State Warriors
Cleveland Cavaliers-193+157Miami Heat
Toronto Raptors-208+169Sacramento Kings
Atlanta Hawks-855+556Houston Rockets
Boston Celtics-125+102Milwaukee Bucks
Memphis Grizzlies-123+100Philadelphia 76ers
Dallas Mavericks-245+200Charlotte Hornets
Denver Nuggets-300+235Washington Wizards
Phoenix Suns-142+117Los Angeles Clippers

These NBA odds are current as of Sunday night, December 12, following the conclusion of games. If you're placing wagers at NBA betting sites anytime Monday, you'll want to confirm their accuracy before deciding on any NBA picks. You should also consider going over our best online sportsbook reviews. There might be a site to bet on the NBA that stands out to you.

What's Wrong with the Boston Celtics?

While they weren't touted as foremost championship contenders entering the season, the Celtics were supposed to be better than a team battling to stay above .500. Injuries and COVID-19-related absences have no doubt harmed their stock, but they've been a massive disappointment even by those standards.

Chief among Boston's concerns: The offense. They are flirting with league-average efficiency while missing way too many threes and not generating enough looks at the rim. And without an infusion of talent via the trade market, it's tough to envision the Celtics even coming close to cracking the championship discussion.

That's what makes Monday's matchup with the Bucks so important. The Celtics are 6-10 against opponents above .500, like Milwaukee is, and just 1-4 in games decided by three points or less. This is one of those contests that will be telltale of their season-long future.

But Celtics-Bucks predictions are not the only NBA betting picks we have for you. We've plucked out a handful of our other best NBA bets for the occasion.

Celtics Continue to Slide vs. Bucks

It's pretty surprising the Celtics are favored against the Bucks, if we're being honest. Playing at home helps, but they're still fairly banged up, and they continue to struggle with their offensive shot profile.

On top of all that, Milwaukee is straight obliterating opponents when their best players take the court. The Bucks are outscoring rivals by nearly 18 points per 100 possessions with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday all in the game.

OSB Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks (+102)

Milwaukee Bucks To beat the Boston Celtics
+102
BetOnline

Sixers Pull Off Slight Upset Against Grizzlies

Congratulations to the Grizzlies for getting the favorite nod. This is at once a testament to their defense in the wake of Ja Morant's absence with a knee sprain and a relative lack of doubt in the Sixers' day-to-day operations.

In this matchup specifically, though, we're not concerned about Philadelphia. Their offense has been hanging tough through injuries, and a fully healthy Joel Embiid will mean their defense should be on point.

OSB Prediction: Philadelphia 76ers (+100)

Philadelphia 76ers To beat the Memphis Grizzlies
+100
BetOnline

Can Pacers Take Advantage of Steph-Less Warriors?

Oddsmakers are clearly banking on Stephen Curry sitting out against the Pacers on Monday. It makes some sense. This is the first end of a back-to-back for the Warriors, and their second game, on Tuesday, comes at Madison Square Garden, one of Steph's favorite places to play. 

Still, Golden State has given no official indication Curry will sit. And we believe he'll want to play so he has a better shot of breaking the NBA's all-time three-point record at MSG on Wednesday. If he's on the court, it's Warriors all the way.

OSB Prediction: Golden State Warriors (-105)

Golden State Warriors To beat the Indiana Pacers
-105
BetOnline

Cavs Take Down Shorthanded Heat

Almost nobody thought the Cavaliers would be good this year—or even close to good. And yet, when you factor in their point differential weighted against their strength of schedule, Cleveland actually grades out as the NBA's best team so far. That is not a typo.

Losses can catch any team, and the Cavs are, in fact, a little thin on offensive creation. But the Heat could be without both Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, which makes our decision an easy one.

OSB Prediction: Cleveland Cavaliers (-193)

Cleveland Cavaliers To beat the Miami Heat
-193
BetOnline

Suns Get Road Win Over Clippers

The Suns are a machine. Even without Devin Booker, who remains sidelined with a hamstring strain, they have been able to pick up quality victories thanks to strong performances from their bench, Chris Paul, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges.

There's little reason to expect this to change against the Clippers. Phoenix may be on the road, but L.A.'s offense has struggled without Kawhi Leonard this year, rendering them uniquely vulnerable against a versatile defense like that deployed by the Suns.

OSB Prediction: Phoenix Suns (-142)

Phoenix Suns To beat the L.A. Clippers
-142
BetOnline

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all your NBA betting: