Boston Celtics @ Denver Nuggets NBA Betting preview for Monday, November 5, 2018.

       Written by National Basketball Association Betting Analyst Al Presto.

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The (6-3) SU, 4-5 ATS Boston Celtics began their five-game road trip with a 102-101 SU loss as a 3 and a half point road FAVORITE ATS to Indiana on a last-second Victor Oladipo three-point shot. Boston is two and a half games behind first-place Toronto in the Eastern Conference Atlantic division.

The Celtics will face Denver, Phoenix, Utah, and Portland before returning home on November 14th to host Chicago.

  • Boston is 2-9 ATS their last eleven as ROAD UNDERDOGS.
  • The UNDER is 4-0 Boston last five on the road.
  • The Celtics are 1-7 ATS their last eight on the road against a home team that has a home winning percentage of more than 60%.
  • UNDER bettors have cashed in the Celtics last five after an SU loss.

The (8-1) SU, 6-3 ATS Denver Nuggets are playing at an elite level the first two and a half weeks of the 2018 season. Denver beat Utah their last game 103-88 SU as four and a half point home FAVORITES ATS extending their SU winning streak to four games. The Nuggets outscored Utah 35-15 in the finals quarter to pull away from their Northwest division rivals.

Denver along with Golden State, Toronto, and Milwaukee team with one loss and all four on first in their respective divisions.

  • UNDER bettors have made profits Denver last five home games v. a team with a winning SU road record.
  • The OVER is 4-1 the last five meetings between the teams.
  • The UNDER is 4-0-1 the Nuggets last five after scoring over the century mark their previous game.
  • Denver is 4-0 ATS their last four vs. Teams with a winning percentage of more than .60%

Monday’s game is at 9:05 PM EST at Pepsi Center in downtown Denver, Colorado. The Local Television Network will be broadcasting. The Opening Betting Line has Boston as two-point road UNDERDOG ATS. The TOTAL is 209 points for Monday’s contest.

Despite losing then free agent acquisition Gordon Hayward the first game of the 2017-18 season the Boston Celtics still were a game away for making it to the NBA Finals.

With LeBron James no longer in the Eastern Conference expectations are through the roof in Beantown but theirs no certainty especially with Kawhi Leonard in Toronto. Head Coach Brad Stevens is brilliant designing schemes at both ends of the floor which is why they’re the only team in the league that gives up an average of fewer than 100 points (99.8) ppg.

The Celtics score an average of (103.9) ppg which ranks 28th in the NBA and the (48.2) rebound per contest they grab is sixth in the NBA. Point Guard Kyrie Irving leads the team in scoring with (17.9) ppg along with (5.3) assists per game. Second-year forward Jayson Tatum pulls down a team-best (7.7) rebounds per contest while scoring (15.8) ppg, second on the team.

The Celtics have bought into Stevens philosophy of defense, and it showed as they held a high powered second-ranked Milwaukee offense to 113 points in a recent four-point home win. The organization is monitoring Hayward’s minutes while he gains more confidence after recovering from his gruesome injury.

Boston must continue to clamp down on defense to get a win tonight.

Bovada.Lv, list the Boston Celtics at +135 to win the 2018-19 NBA Eastern Conference Atlantic Division.

Of all the team’s in the NBA the Denver Nuggets could have the best start of any in the league. After missing the playoffs, the past five season’s fan in the Mile High City sees a change in culture. Known for playing at a fast pace the Nuggets allow opponents (101.9) ppg third in the league on .44% shooting from the field. Leading scorer Gary Harris averages (18.9) ppg on the 14th ranked scoring offense in the NBA, and the former Michigan State star is an elite defender. Center Nikola Jokic grabs a team-high (10.0) boards per contest on the leagues fifth-ranked rebounding team.

Everyone seems to be buying into head coach Mike Malone’s system, and it’s paying dividends. Denver has won twelve in a row SU at the Pepsi Center and you can Boston can’t wait to take the court to break the streak. The Nuggets are shooting (46.6)% from the field which is tenth overall in the league. Point Guards Jamal Murray along with Monte Morris will have their work cut out defending Irving and Terry Rozier.

The Nuggets must shoot a higher percentage from the field tonight to get a win over a hungry Boston Celtics team. Power Forward Paul Millsap must defend Al Horford in the post with an aggressive style.

Bovada.Lv, list the Denver Nuggets at +275 to win the 2018-19 NBA Western Conference Northwest Division Crown.

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Does Celtics coach Brad Stevens have an answer for LeBron James?

Does Celtics coach Brad Stevens have an answer for LeBron James?

There are significant differences between college hoops and the pros. The game and shot clocks are not the same. Nor are the number of fouls that take you over the limit. Other rules vary, as well, but I said ‘significant’.  Topping that list is the fact that NBA players are paid much more than NCAA athletes, and not under the table.

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Making the NBA is also a rite of passage into manhood. Pro coaches may occasionally refer to a rookie as a ‘good kid’ but the player will work hard to shed that image. All but the most impressive NCAA players are kids. The elite are ‘young men’. The NBA is all about being a man.

Talk is building that the T-Wolves might hire Becky Hammon as coach.

Yes, I see you there, Becky Hammon. You know I don’t mean it that way. What I’m saying is that NBA stars are more independent and therefore resistant to coaching than student-athletes. In the college ranks, players don’t stick around too long. Coaches are the stars. In the pros, it’s the opposite. Virtually every franchise is associated with a player.

People will refer to Golden State as Steph Curry’s team, not Steve Kerr’s. The Cavs are LeBron James’ squad. Many fans need a second before identifying Tyronn Lue as the coach. Even the greatest coach in the game’s history [Sorry, Mr Auerbach] took a back seat in Chicago and Los Angeles. The Bulls were Michael Jordan’s team. People argued over whether the Lakers belonged to Kobe Bryant or Shaquille O’Neal before the Big Aristotle settled the debate by leaving for Miami. No one questioned Phil Jackson’s genius in either city but he wasn’t the face of the franchise like John Calipari and Mike Krzyzewski are at Kentucky and Duke respectively.

If we’re honest, the alpha male mentality among NBA stars is why even the best college coaches struggle in the league. Yes, I’m looking at you, Calipari.

John Calipari will tell you it's tough for NCAA coaches to make the transition to the NBA

There are some coaches who can adapt. Billy Donovan is doing an excellent job in Oklahoma City. A coach without NCAA credentials might have blinked when Kevin Durant ditched the Thunder for the Warriors. Not the former Florida Gators boss. He’s used to players leaving after one or two years.

The other coach proving it’s not a question of either/or enjoyed more lasting relationships with his players. Brad Stevens didn’t have a procession filled with NBA sure-things like Joakim Noah, Al Horford, David Lee, Corey Brewer, Chandler Parsons, and Mike Miller, among others, parading in and out of the Butler locker room, collecting huge signing bonuses rather than diplomas. There was Gordon Hayward, Shelvin Mack, and that’s it. Two men don’t a parade make. Nevertheless, Stevens coached his mid-major side to a pair of NCAA Finals.

Now he’s in charge of the most storied team in NBA history, the Boston Celtics. He has them in the playoffs, one game from an Eastern Conference matchup with the Cavaliers. He’s led them this far without his most talented player, the point guard who forced a trade away from the Quicken Loans Arena to escape LeBron’s immense shadow. Kyrie Irving broke his kneecap in 2015. Three years later, on April 8th, the Celtics were forced to shelve Irving for the season after an infection developed around the tiny screws still in his patella, requiring surgery. Without his primary star, Stevens has had to pull his team together.

To add injury to injury, the coach has lost the player who might best help him unite the squad. Former Butler small forward Gordon Hayward dislocated his ankle and fractured his tibia six minutes into the season opener against the Cavaliers. He has been gone the entire season. If the Celtics put the Philadelphia 76ers away tonight, they’ll come up against the Cavs again, but it won’t be full circle. Stevens can still call on Billy Donovan’s former UF big man, Al Horford, however, to keep the six degrees of separation in play.

When Brad Stevens draws up a play during a Celtics timeout, it tends to work.

What separates Stevens from many NBA coaches is his tactical acumen and man-management skills.

He has shaped the Celtics into a balanced team in which there is no alpha male. The detail-minded coach spent equal time with reserves at the end of the bench as he did with Irving, Hayward, and Horford when all three were healthy. When two of them went down, players such as Terry Rozier stepped right in and thrived, knowing exactly what Stevens desired because trust and understanding had already been established.

In-game, Stevens is renowned across the league for running diverse and varied plays following timeouts. The Celts can come at you and defend you in different sets and situations.

A Cleveland/Boston series offers a unique matchup: Stevens v LeBron, Mind v Matter. Can the game’s most cunning strategist find a way to stop its most determined will? James has adapted to adversity himself. The Cavs failed to provide another running mate to replace the traded Irving. Isaiah Thomas didn’t fit. Dwyane Wade’s knees weren’t up to the task. Nearly half the roster turned over at the trade line. The man on a mission to reach his eighth straight NBA Finals had no choice but to go all Thanos on the Eastern Conference.

LeBron has carried the Cavs through the Eastern Conference’s first two rounds. The Clevelanders needed seven games to sneak past the Pacers in the first round but the L-Train wasn’t going to run out of steam before reaching the Finals. He raised his game and the rest of the team’s with it to sweep the number-one-seeded Toronto Raptors, allowing for a few days’ rest. Maybe more if the Sixers make a series of their clash with Boston.

We’ve seen the Cavs and Warriors go at it for three seasons running now. We know what to expect. That isn’t the case with a potential Cleveland/Boston matchup. Can Stevens keep LeBron off-balance for an entire best-of-seven series? The fact he came up short in his two NCAA title games suggests maybe not, but there will be tremendous entertainment value in watching him try.

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Martin Palazzotto is a freelance writer and author of strange bOUnce, a collection of sport fiction.