My last run-in with NBA picks went well, as the Los Angeles Clippers finally snapped a nasty losing streak and scored a win over the Atlanta Hawks. That pushed my season record to 4-3 and tonight I’m back to see if I can’t make it two in a row.
Bettors get a fun Saturday NBA betting slate to work with and there are a few spots where the value stands out. One such spot is in Indiana, where the Pacers host the Boston Celtics. Boston has since seen their incredible 16-game winning streak snapped after losing in Miami to the Heat, but they got another win in their last game and will look to start a new tear tonight.
I like the idea of joining forces with Kyrie Irving and company as I try to establish my own streak and there are a few different betting angles to consider in this one. Let’s see which one stands out the most as I break down tonight’s matchup:
Boston Celtics (-3) @ Indiana Pacers (+3) Total: 206.5
I really don’t mind three different bets in this one, with the Total looking playable at -110 at BetOnline, the Celtics looking attractive as a straight up bet (-160) and this spread looking quite doable for Boston, as well. Across the board, I can be talked into any of these, while I’m not in love with the Pacers at +140 even though they’re at home.
Indiana loves to push the pace (8th in the NBA) and can score with anyone (5th best offense), but they’re still going up against the most efficient defense in the league. One loss to the Heat in Miami doesn’t sink the Celtics in my eyes, either. Kyrie Irving and co. still piece together a dynamic offense and the Celtics responded immediately with another win.
I can’t ignore Indy’s recent run, as they’ve been fantastic during a 5-game winning streak. The Pacers don’t defend (17th in defensive efficiency), however, so in the likelihood that Boston puts the clamps down, it’s fair to assume the Pacers could get a little lost.
Boston hasn’t just been riding a hot run. They’ve been playing exceptional team defense and they’ve learned to adapt to each isolated opponent on any given day. That tells me they can run if they need to tonight, while their road record to date (9-2) and against the spread numbers (16-3-1) are all quite encouraging.
Victor Oladipo has been the driving force behind a solid start for the Pacers, but he’s going to have his hands full trying to work his way past Boston’s elite defense. On the other end, I’m not sure the Pacers have the defensive chops to silence the Celtics. This is a matchup that bodes well for Boston in just about every way on paper and even in a potential shootout, I tend to favor Boston with this palatable spread.
Adding to the allure is Boston’s success in the past against the Pacers. The Celtics went 3-0 in this series last season and have won 4 of the last 5 meetings. Indy is down a stud with Paul George now in Oklahoma City and the Celtics have cleary been a different beast ever since trading for Kyrie Irving.
The Pacers could set the tone here by controlling the tempo at home, but their own streak has to end eventually and it makes sense for them to get tripped up by a team that has the talent to hang with them offensively, but could stifle them at the other end. I like the Over and Boston straight up, but I think there is enough wiggle room to take the Celtics to cover.