The league-leading Boston Celtics return from the All-Star break with a visit to Indianapolis and a date with the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Thursday night.
Boston is 41-17 SU on the season and they have the best record in the NBA. The Celtics are 7-3 SU in their last 10 games played and they defeated the Detroit Pistons 127-109 in their last game before the All-Star break.
Indiana is 26-34 on the year and they are in 12th place in the Eastern Conference team standings. The Pacers are 2-8 SU in their last 10 games played and they snapped a five-game skid in their last game before the break, beating the Chicago Bulls 117-113.
The Celtics look to continue their winning ways coming off the All-Star break. Boston has lost only three times in their last 10 games played.
Jayson Tatum is coming off a 55-point explosion at last Weekend’s All-Star game. Tatum leads the Celtics in scoring at 30.6 points per game this season. Jaylen Brown is putting up 26.5 points per game this season as Boston’s second-leading scorer. Overall, six Boston players are averaging at least 11 points per game this season.
Boston is 4th in the NBA in scoring at 117.9 points per game this season. They are shooting 47.4% from the field and are sixth overall in three-point shooting at 37.8%. Meanwhile, the Celtics are allowing just 111.7 points per game this season, 7th best in the NBA. They are also holding their opponents to 46.6% shooting and 35.3% from deep.
The Pacers just snapped a five-game losing streak by beating Chicago 117-113 in their last game. Overall, the Pacers are just 3-16 SU in their last 19 games played and they are looking to move up to the Top 10 in the East and join the Play-in Tournament at the end of the regular season.
Tyrese Haliburton is scoring a shade under 20 points this season while Myles Turner leads the team with 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. Turner and Buddy Hield are both averaging 17.5 points per game this season while rookie Benedict Mathurin is the only other Pacers player to average double-digit scoring at 17.2 points per game.
Indiana is 15th in scoring at 114.5 points per game this season. They are shooting 45.9% from the field and just 36.2% from deep. The Pacers are allowing 117.1 points per game this season. They are also allowing opponents to shoot at 47.7% from the floor and 37.4% from deep. Indiana is grabbing 41.6 rebounds per game including 10.1
The Celtics are 6-4 SU in their last 10 games played against the Pacers. Boston is 3-1 SU in their last 4 games played in Indiana.
Boston Celtics SU trends:
Indiana Pacers SU trends:
This will mark the Celtics’ first game since the interim head coach tag was removed from Joe Mazzulla’s title and he has done a great job after taking over from Ime Udoka. The Celtics have the best record in the league and they have two of the top young stars in the NBA in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Tatum is coming off a 55-point explosion in the All-Star game where he won MVP honors. Brown is having a fantastic year for the Celtics as well. Malcolm Brogdon will be playing his first games against his former team since the trade to Boston. He is averaging 14.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game this season.
Meanwhile, the Pacers are led by Tyrese Haliburton who made his first All-Star game appearance last weekend. He leads Indiana in scoring at 19.9 points per game this season and is 4th in the NBA in assists at 10.1 dimes per contest. He is on pace to break Mark Jackon’s Pacers record of 8.7 assists per game set during the 1997-98 seasons.
Buddy Hield has made 230 three-pointers with 22 games left to play. Hield has broken Reggie Miller’s team record with plenty of games to spare. He made six three-pointers during their last game played, a 117-113 win over the Chicago Bulls.
Boston has the best record in the NBA right now. Indiana has lost 16 out of its last 19 games played. Both teams are trending in different directions. Although we are coming off the break where teams are well-rested, I expect the Celtics to come out firing, looking to solidify their spot atop the NBA standings.
Prediction: Boston Celtics -350
The Celtics are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games played against the Pacers. Boston is also 2-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games played in Indiana.
Boston Celtics ATS trends:
Indiana Pacers ATS trends:
If the first half of the season is the gauge, then the Celtics should be too much to handle for the Pacers on both ends of the court. Boston ranks 4th in the NBA in scoring and 7th in scoring defense. They are also shooting 37.8% from deep, 6th best in the league, and should take advantage of Indiana’s poor perimeter defense. The Boston duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are averaging a combined 57.1 points per game this season. They should be too much to handle for the Indiana defense.
The Celtics have covered the betting spread in their past six games heading to this contest. Boston is 25-13 ATS in their last 38 road games against an opponent with a winning record at home. Meanwhile, the Pacers have failed to cover the betting spread in 12 out of their last 17 games played. Give me Boston to cover on the road.
Prediction: Celtics -8.5
The over is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings between these two teams. The total has gone over in 6 out of the last seven games played in Indiana.
Boston Celtics over/under trends:
Indiana Pacers over/under trends:
The over has hit in all but one of the last six games played between these two teams in Indiana. These teams have combined to score an average of 216.9 points per game in their last 10 head-to-head meetings and 238.33 points per game in their most recent three encounters.
The Celtics are in the Top 5 in scoring while the Pacers are in the Bottom 10 in the league in scoring defense. As we said earlier, Boston is also 6th in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage while the Pacers’ three-point defense is next to last in the league. Look for the Celtics to take advantage of the Pacers’ defensive shortcomings and put up plenty of points on the boards.
Prediction: Over 233.5
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