Rockets vs. Celtics NBA expert prediction and odds for Saturday, Jan. 13 (Can Houston cover?)

Betting odds, pick and prediction for the Boston Celtics-Houston Rockets matchup on Saturday.
Houston Rockets head coach Ime Udoka.
Houston Rockets head coach Ime Udoka. / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a nail biter against the Detroit Pistons, the Houston Rockets and head coach Ime Udoka head to Boston to take on the NBA’s No. 1 team in the Boston Celtics. 

This will be Udoka’s first game coaching against his former team, and it’ll be interesting to see how he’s received by Boston fans. 

Boston is coming off its worst game of the season, a blowout loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on the second night of a back-to-back. 

However, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla rested his starters in the second half of that game, which could mean the team is even more fresh than usual entering this matchup. 

Boston is heavily favored, but is that the right bet on Saturday? 

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Let’s dive into the odds and a best bet for this game: 

Rockets vs. Celtics odds, spread and total

Rockets vs. Celtics how to watch

  • Date: Saturday, Jan. 13
  • Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
  • Venue: TD Garden
  • How to watch (TV): NBC Sports Boston, AT&T SportsNet Southwest
  • Rockets record: 19-18
  • Celtics record: 29-9

Rockets vs. Celtics injury reports

Rockets injury report

  • Not submitted yet

Celtics injury report

  • JD Davison – out
  • Drew Peterson – out
  • Jordan Walsh – out
  • Neemias Queta – questionable

Rockets vs. Celtics key players to watch

Houston Rockets

Jalen Green: Green came up big on Friday, scoring 28 points on 9-of-25 shooting to help lead the comeback win over Detroit. The Rockets need him to score efficiently, and at a high level, if they want a chance to upset Boston. 

Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum: Tatum had been on fire prior to the Bucks game, averaging 31.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game over his previous eight games. It’ll be interesting to see how the Rockets defend him if Dillon Brooks is still out of action. 

Rockets vs. Celtics prediction and pick

Boston has not lost a game at home this season, but this spread may be a little too much. 

The Celtics are 11-7 against the spread as home favorites, winning those games by an average margin of 14.7 points per game. 

While Houston isn’t the best team as a road dog, the Rockets do defend at a high level, and one has to imagine the team gets up for this matchup since it means a lot to Udoka. 

Houston is No. 6 in the NBA in defensive rating, and the team also plays at a slow pace (No. 24 in the league). 

That’s going to make it tougher on Boston to build a big lead, even with the team’s full rotation healthy for this game. 

I’ll take a shot on the Rockets as 16-point dogs, as they only have two losses this season by more than 16 points. 

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Find Peter Dewey's NBA betting record here (futures included). You can also follow my daily plays on BetStamp here.