Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics Pick
Indiana Pacers (48-34 SU, 41-41 ATS) vs. Boston Celtics (49-33 SU, 39-42-1 ATS)
When: Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 1:00 PM ET
Where: TD Garden – Boston, MA
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: IND +7 / BOS -7 (Intertops Sportsbook)
Power Rankings: Boston -2
Takeaways from Indiana and Boston’s Most Recent Games
The Pacers closed out their regular season with a narrow win over the upset-minded Atlanta Hawks. Closing as a 5.5-point favorite, the Pacers had to squeak a victory out in a 135-134 thriller in Atlanta on Wednesday.
The Celtics wrapped up their regular season campaign with style on Tuesday when they defeated the Washington Wizards in D.C to win their fourth game in their previous five outings. As a 4.5-point underdog, the Celtics defeated the Wizards 116-110.
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How the Public is Betting the Indiana-Boston Game
At the moment, 61% of the public have taken a liking to the underdog Indiana with the points. This narrative in itself raises a red flag as it is often a sign that the favorite could be undervalued. In light of the apparent lean on the Pacers, the market has risen by half of a point to indicate early action has come in on the C’s. Boston opened as a 6.5-point favorite and has since moved to -7.
The Celtics have had the Pacers number as of late as they have won the last three matches between the two sides. Most recently, Boston traveled to Indianapolis on April 5th and handed the Pacers a 117-97 defeat. The Celtics cashed in on an easy cover as a one-point favorite.
There are several injury concerns for both teams heading into Game One. To begin, Indiana has Center Myles Turner, Shooting Guard Wesley Matthews, Power Forward Thaddeus Young, and Small Forward Bojan Bogdanovic all listed as questionable. All four players are key contributors to the Pacers. Matthews provides depth to the bench and Turner, Young, and Bogdanovic are huge parts of the Pacers nucleus as each have attained over 2,000 playing minutes in the 2018-19 season. For Boston, they too have a few key injuries worth keeping an eye on. Four Boston starters are listed as questionable heading into Sunday’s clash, they include Point Guard Kyrie Irving, Small Forward Jayson Tatum, Power Forward Marcus Morris, and big man Center Al Horford. None of these four participated in Boston’s 116-110 win over Washington on Tuesday. Should they be unavailable, Boston like Indiana will be forced to empty their bench. With Marcus Smart out indefinitely due to an oblique injury, the weight of the Boston offense will fall on Point Guard Terry Rozier to lead the charge should Boston need to turn to their bench. Rozier scored 21 against Washington in his last outing on Tuesday.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
Boston will be the better rested of the two teams as they will be playing this game on five days’ rest compared to Indiana playing it on four days’ hiatus. Boston will take on hosting duties once more on Wednesday for Game Two before the series travels to Indianapolis on Friday.
Can Indiana’s Defense Solve The Boston Riddle?
The Pacers own the best scoring defense in the NBA as they give up just 104.7 points per game. Situationally, they have a favorable match-up here against a Boston Celtics team that sits 14th in the NBA in scoring as they procure 112.4 points per match. The question is whether Indiana’s offense can do enough against Boston’s eighth-ranked scoring defense (108 points per contest) to give their defense a leg up. Indiana’s offense is pedestrian at best as it sits 22nd in the league in scoring with just 108 points per outing. Indiana is a team that makes smart shots as they are fourth in the NBA in field goal efficiency (47.5%). Unfortunately for the Pacers, they have to square off with a Boston team that is great at limiting opponent success from the field. Boston is ranked fourth in the league in opponent field goal percentage at 44.8%.
Can Celtics Cash In On Turnovers?
Boston owns a key edge in the turnover department which allows them to test the constitution of this vaunted Indiana defense. Should they win this battle again they will get more opportunities to keep Indiana in defensive mode and find chances to score. This does not bode well for Indiana who already struggles offensively in the scoring department. Boston was able to break the 114-point threshold in all three wins that the C’s fostered this season against their counterparts. How did they do this? Attaining a prolific field goal percentage. In all three wins in the Celtics present win streak against Indiana, Boston has hit over 50% of their attempts. The Celtics will look to achieve similar success again to produce another impressive result.
Overall, Indiana has been a cash cow against Boston as they are 5-2 ATS in the previous seven matches between these two teams. For Over/Under plays, the Over is 7-3 ATS in the last ten contests between these two foes.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Boston -7
This series as a whole is one where I can see home court advantage playing a pivotal role in determining the outcome. Both of these teams play at a higher level on their own hardwood and given the fact that this one is set to take place in Beantown, I can’t help but like Boston’s prospects of securing a win and a cover while they are at it. Overall, Boston outscores opponents by a margin of 6.8 points on average in home games this season. Given the number we see presented here in the market, the asking price is more or less in Boston’s wheelhouse. However, I am willing to venture that the Celtics will cover this number easily with no threat of a push or narrow ATS loss. The Celtics have defeated the Pacers by 20 points or more in two of the three wins that comprise their present win streak against Indiana. Sure, Indiana has the best defense in the NBA but Boston has an uncanny ability to expose it. I’m swallowing the points here at Intertops and trusting Boston will win this one by a double-digit margin at minimum.