Celtics vs Pelicans Picks and Predictions for February 21

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Updated: February 21, 2021

Jayson Tatum is enjoying another strong season for the Celtics, and the NBA’s 12th-highest per game scorer will find little resistance in New Orleans on Sunday.

Photo By – USA TODAY Sports

Two underwhelming teams will collide in an interesting NBA betting matchup on Sunday when the Boston Celtics head to the Big Easy to take on the New Orleans Pelicans.

Boston has been up-and-down over the last week, with an impressive win against the Nuggets followed up by a loss to the Hawks in which Trae Young dominated. Though there is a reason for excitement in New Orleans, they have won just once in their last six games.

Find out which struggling team will earn a win in our NBA free picks and predictions for Celtics vs. Pelicans on Sunday, February 21, with tipoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET.

Boston Celtics at New Orleans Pelicans betting preview

Injuries

Celtics: Romeo Langford SG (Out), Marcus Smart PG (Out).
Pelicans: Steven Adams C (Questionable).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

Celtics are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win. Find more NBA betting trends for Celtics vs. Pelicans.

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The line opened at Celtics -2.5, with the total at 233. Early action saw the line hold steady. Check back later for a full report from Patrick!

Check out the full line movement for this game

Against the spread (ATS) pick

The Celtics, at 15-14 (SU and ATS), have underwhelmed all season and are yet to really see their full roster on the floor. Their four best players – Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart – have played just 28 minutes together. However, that isn’t stopping Danny Ainge from exploring the trade market—and saying so publicly. 

Boston has not won back-to-back games in nearly a month, since they beat the Cavaliers and Bulls on January 24 and 25. However, they are 2.5-point favorites in New Orleans on Sunday, with oddsmakers liking them to post consecutive victories. 

In their way is a maddening Pelicans team that sits 12-17 SU and ATS. Their February began with a four-game winning streak, then was followed by a three-game losing streak. However, results seem secondary to New Orleans at the moment. Last year’s No. 1 pick, Zion Williamson, has come into his own in recent weeks and can take over games. We like Williamson and the Pelicans to deny Boston back-to-back wins and cover in the process.

PREDICTION: Pelicans +2.5 (-110)

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Over/Under pick

Two teams that are often confounding can make for a difficult ATS pick. Thankfully, it’s not so complicated when looking at the total.

The Pelicans, 21-8 O/U, are eighth in points per game and seventh in offensive rating, buoyed by ascending star Brandon Ingram and the aforementioned Williamson. Zion has been ridiculously efficient as of late and now sits seventh in PER (player efficiency rating), above two of the most efficient scorers in history in Kevin Durant and Steph Curry. Williamson’s efficiency is a huge reason for the Pelicans’ strong offense. 

Boston has not been as successful on offense this year. Despite two stars on the wing in Tatum and Brown, and a point guard in Walker who used to be able to get to his spot whenever he wanted, they sit 22nd in points per game and 14th in offensive rating. The talent, however, is there for the Celtics to keep up with any offense. 

It’s also enough, on both sides, to take the Over in this one.

PREDICTION: Over 233 (-110)

Player prop pick

Another factor in our confidence taking the Over on a fairly high total is the porous Pelicans defense. New Orleans has been dreadful defensively in 2021 and currently ranks 29th in defensive rating. Despite Ingram and Williamson projecting as strong defenders, they have been massive negatives on that end this season. Their best defender, Eric Bledsoe, has rarely shown an interest on his new team and his defense, too, has suffered because of it.

All of that leaves us feeling pretty good about Tatum’s chances of a high-scoring performance on Sunday. In his lone game against New Orleans last year, Tatum posted 41 points on 16-of-22 shooting. With nobody capable of guarding him and the Celtics likely needing a high offensive output to compete in this one, trust Tatum to put together another strong scoring display.

PREDICTION: Jayson Tatum Over 25.5 Points (-110)

Celtics vs Pelicans betting card

  • Pelicans +2.5 (-110)
  • Over 233 (-110)
  • Jayson Tatum Over 25.5 Points (-110)

NBA parlays

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