Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics Pick
Indiana Pacers (48-35 SU, 41-42 ATS) vs. Boston Celtics (50-33 SU, 40-42-1 ATS)
When: Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 – 7:00 PM ET
Where: TD Garden – Boston, MA
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: IND +7.5 / BOS -7.5 (5Dimes)
Power Rankings: Boston -4
Takeaways from Game One
For those that love high-flying and high-scoring games, Game One was certainly not up their alley. The Celtics and Pacers played a hard-fought defensive-oriented game that resulted in the C’s dispatching the P’s by a score of 84-74. Boston was successful in covering the spread when it closed as a 7.5-point favorite at the tip.
How the Public is Betting the Indiana-Boston Game
For Game Two, the consensus is pretty much right down the middle. 51% of the public like the Celtics here as the home favorite. Mirroring the split money, there have been no live movements as a result of consistent two-way action on both teams. In Over/Under markets, the line has fallen by a point from its opening figure of 204 to its present position of 203. This can be chalked up to the defensive connotation of Game One along with the Under going 8-0 ATS in Game Ones across the league.
The Celtics extended their win and cover streak to two games over the Pacers after their Game One victory. For Over/Under players, the Over is 7-4 ATS in the last 11 matches between these two opponents.
Heading into Game One there were a lot of question marks surrounding the personnel regarding both squads. Nevertheless, a lot of clarity has been provided regarding the status of Boston and Indiana. For the Pacers, outside of the season-ending injury to Shooting Guard Victor Oladipo which occurred in February, Indiana will be playing this game with a fresh ensemble. Boston will be without the services of Point Guard Marcus Smart who most notably is known for his defensive acumen. However, the Celtics did not miss a step without Smart as they managed to hold the Pacers to just eight points in the third quarter to put itself in position to win by a considerable margin.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
Both teams have not been on the floor for three days. The series will travel to Indianapolis on Friday when the Pacers host Game Three. For Indiana, this is their third consecutive road game stretching back to the conclusion of the regular season. The Pacers will be primed for a profitable position on Friday in Game Three but unfortunately it is only Wednesday and Game Two.
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Can Indiana’s Offense Bail Them Out Against Boston?
The Pacers owned the best scoring defense in the NBA giving up just 104.7 points per game this season. In Game One, the Pacers defense held serve and limited Boston’s 14th ranked scoring offense (112.4 points per match) to just 84 points. The question is whether or not their offense which produces an average of 108 points per contest can give its defense some help and score more than 74 points. If Boston proved anything on Sunday, it is that their defense is capable of dominating when it needs to as well. On the year, the Celtics finished with the eighth-ranked scoring defense that gave up just 108 points per match. Both teams field goal percentages hovered more or less around 35% in Game One but Indiana had one distinctive advantage in terms of scoring: points in the paint. The Pacers scored 36 points in the paint to Boston’s 24 which provides them an angle to work here in Game Two should they want to find a way to close in on Boston. However, as the Celtics have shown, they are tough team to rub elbows with for four quarters.
Can Celtics Get Their Act Together With Ball Control?
The Celtics came into Game One with an edge in the turnover department. However, you could have told Indiana otherwise. Boston turned the ball over 20 times while Indiana did so on 13 occasions in comparison. The Celtics were bailed out by the rebounding game as they bullied the Pacers on the boards. Boston outrebounded Indiana 55 total boards to the Pacers’ 42. This will be hard for Boston to replicate as the Pacers in particular finished fifth in the league in total rebounds against (43.7 per game) while Boston sat 22nd in the league in this same category (45.9 total rebounds against). Very simply, the C’s will have to hang onto the basketball and not play into Indiana’s hands by allowing its defense to have its way in the follow-up.
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Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Indiana +7.5
If one thing can be deduced from how the market responded in Game Twos to Game One results, Indiana would make the most sense here. Why? Because after Orlando upset Toronto, San Antonio upset Denver, and the Nets upset the Sixers all three teams that were favored in Game One were spotting up to an additional point and a half in Game Two which signaled that the market was buying into the verity of the upset. Boston was one of the few teams that was favored and covered. The Celtics did what they were supposed to do and this market won’t even grant the Pacers an extra half of a point. The reading is truly in the fine print here. From how I see it, the market does not believe that Boston will replicate their success against the spread here and I can certainly understand why. Boston had an atypically prolific game on the boards and they also outshot the Pacers from the free-throw line by a difference of 81.8% to 57.1%. Normally, Indiana hits 75.2% of their shots from the charity stripe (22nd in the NBA). Despite this, Boston turned the ball over seven more times and were outgunned in the paint. One could argue from this that had Boston held down the fort in the paint to limit scoring (as you would expect given the fact they were beating Indiana on the glass) and took care of the basketball that they could have won this game by a lot more. However, they didn’t. I think Indiana will re-assert itself on the boards, score more in the paint as a result, certainly shoot better from the free throw line, and ultimately take the Celtics off their game. I wouldn’t be shocked if Indiana won outright.