Celtics vs. Pacers Game 4 Betting Preview: Will Indiana Hold Off the Sweep?

Celtics vs. Pacers Game 4 Betting Preview: Will Indiana Hold Off the Sweep? article feature image

Photo credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Bojan Bogdanovic

Game 4 Betting Odds: Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacers

  • Spread: Celtics -2.5
  • Over/Under: 204
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: ABC
  • Series Score: Celtics Lead 3-0

>> All odds as of Saturday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

The Pacers have the worst Offensive Rating in the playoffs this year and find themselves in an 0-3 hole. Can they rally to extend the series? Our analysts discuss.

Betting Trends to Know

The Pacers are down 0-3 to the Celtics. Can Indiana avoid being swept? Since 2005, teams down 0-3 have gone 20-39 (34%) straight-up and 24-32-3 ATS. In the last three postseasons, teams facing elimination have performed even worse, going 3-11 straight-up. – John Ewing

One of the toughest things to accomplish in the NBA playoffs is playing up potential every game… especially after wins. Whether it is the zig-zag theory or the simple theory that teams bounce back after losses in the playoffs, recreational bettors always tend to think teams play better after losses in the playoffs.

Brad Stevens has done an unbelievable job at bucking that trend. He is 19-10 ATS in the playoffs after a straight-up win — the third-most profitable coach in the Bet Labs database in that spot, behind just Gregg Popovich and Tyronn Lue (AKA LeBron James). – Evan Abrams

This season, the Pacers are 17-2 (89.5%) straight-up in the first half at home after losing their last meeting against their upcoming opponent; they’ve won those first halves by 6.8 points per game. – Abrams

Locky: How I’m Betting Game 4

It’s been really easy to be fooled every game by Indiana’s numbers on open shots (12-for-40 on uncontested attempts in the series). Oh, they’ll figure it out, some thought. The looks are there!

Well here’s a thought… what if Victor Oladipo’s injury is putting everyone in situations they are unprepared for, in a tense playoff environment — and therefore the people who are left taking the open shots are not exactly who you’d want? Where is consistent scoring ever coming from? There is no adjustment to make here.

This whole series has been the expectation of some drama when none was ever forthcoming. The matchup between these teams statistically looks close until you use ONLY the non-Oladipo numbers for the Pacers (which makes them an out-of-the-playoffs, sub-40 win team), and to the surprise of no one paying attention, the Celtics are much, much better. The fact that Boston can play so many bad quarters in the series and be up 3-0 tells you all you need to know.

As for Sunday, it is possible that Indiana will play with much more energy than Boston and force the Celtics to close it out at home. What stands out to me the most is that the spread has moved 4.5 points from the close in Game 3; the Pacers were favored at home just 48 hours ago.

If anything, this is the situation where I’d expect a flat Boston team that’s more than happy to close the series out at home. Nate McMillan is a very good coach, and I think he’ll have his team mentally right to give maximum effort here. I like the Pacers now getting 4.5 points less credit at home than they were just a couple days ago. — Ken Barkley

Mears: Make Sure to Correlate Your Bets

It looked like Game 3 would be a blowout early, with the Celtics hitting eight of their first nine 3-pointers. The Pacers battled back, though, eventually falling 104-96 and going down 0-3 in the series. It was another poor offensive performance, and the Celtics managed to survive a mediocre offensive showing of their own by finishing at 44.1% from beyond the arc.

I agree with Locky that this line does seem like an overadjustment, especially since the Pacers will be fighting for their season. The problem betting on a “bounce back” is … I don’t think they’re necessarily playing very poorly. They’re playing similarly to how they’ve been, especially without Oladipo; the Celtics are just a little better in all of those ways.

And I’m not really sure how the offense gets better. Sure, you can look at their marks and think they have to regress. They’ve been last in the playoffs, scoring just 91.4 points per 100 possessions. But I’m not sure this isn’t too far from their expectation without Victor Oladipo against an elite playoff defense. Maybe it gets a little better, but they’re unlikely to win this game with an offensive explosion.

Which is why I think there’s some correlation plays here. If you think the Pacers are going to cover — I would personally lean that way — it’s going to be because they dragged the Celtics down to their level, not because they got hot. If you’re betting the Pacers, you should also be betting the under as well as the under on the Celtics’ team total.

I’ll leave you with a couple day game trends for fun. It’s a small sample size, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Since 2005, there have been 48 games played before 4 p.m. ET in the playoffs. The home teams in that spot are just 22-24-2 (47.8%) against the first-half spread, but home dogs are 8-3-1 (72.7%).

More small sample size theater: Unders in day postseason games (before 4 p.m. ET) have gone 75-56-2 (57.3%) historically. If the home team is an underdog, those unders have gone 25-9 (73.5%). Unders in the first half specifically have hit at a 61.1% rate historically. To do more research on day games, make sure to check out our Bet Labs tool. – Bryan Mears

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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