Favored Celtics Overwhelm Pacers Taking 1-0 Series Lead

Tony Reyes
By , Updated on: May 20, 2024 08:00 PM
Favored Celtics Overwhelm Pacers Taking 1-0 Series Lead
  • When: Tuesday, May 21st at 8:00 PM ET
  • Who: Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics
  • Where: TD Garden in Boston, MA
  • What: NBA Eastern Conference Finals game 1

The top two scoring teams in the NBA will clash in this year's Eastern Conference Finals. The Pacers lead the league at 123.3 points per game, and the Celtics are close behind at 120.6.

The Pacers face a quick turnaround, having just won Game 7 on the road against the Knicks on Sunday. Meanwhile, Boston enjoys a significant rest advantage, having last played on May 15.

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Game Preview (Spread)

This is most likely the reason oddsmakers heavily favor Boston. They list the Pacers as +600 underdogs against the Celtics (-900), implying a 90% chance of a Boston series victory. 

SpreadBetOnlineBetUSBovada
Indiana Pacers +10 points-108-110-105
Boston Celtics -10 points-112-110-115

Despite the series price, I wouldn't be surprised if Indiana manages to steal a few games, especially given the Celtics' inconsistency.

The Celtics lead the NBA in 3-point attempts per game (42.5) and convert at the second-highest rate (38.8%), resulting in the best offensive rating (123.2) and the second-highest scoring average (120.6). 

Boston's strategy is straightforward: if they outshoot their opponents from beyond the arc and hit their average percentage, they are nearly unbeatable, particularly in a seven-game series. 

As they often say, "We just gotta hit our shots."

However, basketball isn't played on a spreadsheet. The Celtics' reliance on high-volume 3-point shooting introduces a level of variance that can lead to unexpected losses.

They suffered home losses to the Heat and Cavaliers in the previous series. With less offensive firepower than Indiana, both teams managed to capitalize on Boston's off-nights to steal wins.

A 10-point spread feels like too many points to lay in this playoff matchup, I'd back the Pacers +10 at -108.

Indiana Pacers +10 Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics
-108
BetOnline

Now, the Celtics face a much stronger opponent in the Pacers, who rank first in scoring and second in defensive rating. 

Despite their low defensive ranking (27th in points allowed and 24th in defensive rating), the Pacers are better equipped to take advantage of any Boston missteps and potentially steal a game or two.

While a Pacers series win would be shocking and isn't advisable to bet on, the Celtics have already lost home games to lesser teams this postseason. 

Indiana can elevate their game and keep the series competitive. Both teams have stronger offenses than defenses, though Boston's defensive edge over Indiana is more significant. 

Boston Celtics -10 Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics
-112
BetOnline

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Total Points

Since April 3, the Pacers have gone over in eight of their last ten games when the total prop was set at 221 points or higher. 

Total PointsBetOnlineBetUSBovada
Over 221.5 Points-115-110-110
Under 221.5 Points-105-110-110

This streak excludes Games 6 and 7 against the Knicks in the Eastern Conference semifinals, both of which went OVER the projected total.

Although Game 6 narrowly missed with 219 points, it was just shy of an OVER with 221.5 points.

On the other hand, the Celtics went UNDER only once in the second round against the Cleveland Cavaliers, with the preset total never exceeding 212 points. 

However, during the regular season, Boston and Indiana combined for at least 234 points in four of their five matchups, averaging 245.8 points overall. This hints at the potential for a thrilling, high-scoring series.

This should be a fun and high-scoring matchup. I'm confident in taking the OVER here.

Over 221.5 Points Indiana Pacers vs Boston Celtics
-115
BetOnline

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Meet the author

Tony Reyes

With years of experience as an analyst, Tony brings an expert voice to picks and predictions. His love of sports betting comes through in coverage that informs and entertains in equal measure. You can find Tony shooting hoops or cycling the local trails when not watchin...

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