Detroit Pistons vs. Boston Celtics Preview and Pick – Game 1 – Eastern Conference Finals

Detroit Pistons (59-23) +4, o/u 174 at Boston Celtics (66-16), 8:30 pm Tuesday, ESPN
by Zman of

The showdown most fans wanted to see in the Eastern Conference will finally begin Tuesday night when the Detroit Pistons visit the Boston Celtics for game 1 of their best-of-7 conference finals series Tuesday night in Beantown.

Basketball Bookmakers are listing Boston as 4 1/2-point home favorites for Tuesday’s game, with a total of 174. The Celtics are also posted at around -190 on the moneyline for game 1, with Detroit getting +170.

Boston is also listed at -135 to win this series, with the Pistons getting +115.

For Detroit, this is their sixth straight appearance in the conference finals, while Boston hasn’t gotten this far in six years. And only Paul Pierce of the current Celtics played any significant role in that series, a six-game loss to New Jersey.

Boston posted the best record in the NBA during the regular season by seven games over Detroit. But it took the Celtics seven games to oust the Atlanta Hawks from their first-round series, and seven more games to knock off the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference semis.

Detroit won the Central Division this season, beat Philadelphia in six games in the first round and Orlando in five games in the conference semis.

The Pistons will play game 1 of this series Tuesday on six days rest, while the Celtics played game 7 of their series vs. Cleveland on Sunday.

Boston is 8-0 straight up and 5-3 against the spread at home this playoff season, while Detroit is 3-2 both straight up and ATS on the road during these playoffs. Also, the totals are 4-7 in Pistons playoff games, 7-7 in Celtics games.

During the regular season, Detroit went 25-16 on the road, while Boston went 35-6 at home.

The Celtics took two of three games from the Pistons during the regular season, winning by scores of 92-85 and 90-78, and falling by a score of 87-85. All three of those games stayed under their totals, as they averaged just 172 total points. And Boston clearly out-statted Detroit in those three games, out-shooting the Pistons from the field 46% to 39%, and out-rebounding them by a 46-36 per-game average.

During this regular season, Detroit ranked 2nd in the league in point differential at +7.4 per game, 3rd in FG defense at 44%, 7th in rebounding at +2.3 per game, and averaged a 22/11 per-game assist-to-turnover ratio. As a team, the Pistons shot 46% from the field, 37% from 3-point range and 77% from the free-throw line.

During the regular season, Boston led the league in point differential at +10.3 per game and FG defense at 42%. The Celtics shot 48% from the field as a team, 38% from 3-point range and 77% from the free-throw line. Boston also ranked 4th in the league in rebounding at +3.1 per game and posted a 22/14 per-game assist-to-turnover ratio.

On the injury front, Detroit guard Chauncey Billups is dealing with a sore hamstring, but is listed as probable for Tuesday’s game.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at ranks Boston #1 at 98.6, Detroit #3 at 97.3. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 4.0.

The totals went 37-44 in Pistons games this regular season, which averaged 188 total points. The o/u went 36-45 in Celtics games during the regular season, which averaged 191 total points.

Zman’s Pick: I like the over tonight!