Celtics vs Pacers Picks, Prediction Today | Saturday, Jan. 6

Celtics vs Pacers Picks, Prediction Today | Saturday, Jan. 6 article feature image

Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Tyrese Haliburton #0 of the Indiana Pacers.

Celtics vs. Pacers Prediction, Picks for Saturday, Jan. 6

Saturday, Jan. 6
7 p.m.
League Pass
Pacers over 120.5 | Derrick White over 2.5 3-pointers

Here's everything you need to know about Celtics vs. Pacers on Saturday, Jan. 6 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.

Twenty-eight teams played last night, meaning we had 14 games. Ten of those games were decided by double-digits, seven by over 20 points.

It was a night of blowouts, and these two teams delivered a pair of them. The Celtics beat down the Utah Jazz 126-97 last night, and the Pacers obliterated the Atlanta Hawks 150-116. Both are on back-to-backs, but both are somewhat rested, all things considered.

There are two previous contests here: The Celtics punished the Pacers 155-104 in Boston on Nov. 1 (without Tyrese Haliburton), put the Pacers responded on December in Indiana, winning 122-112 in an In-Season Tournament Quarterfinal game.

Let's get to our Celtics vs. Pacers prediction and pick.

Celtics vs. Pacers Prediction

Pick: Pacers over 120.5 | Derrick White over 2.5 3-pointers

Celtics Betting Outlook

This is the beginning of two straight home games for the Pacers, who will host the Celtics on Monday.

The Celtics are the best team in the NBA so far — does it mean they'll win the championship? It didn't last year (or before that), but for tonight, it doesn't matter.

The C's just blasted the Jazz at home, where they're 17-0, but they're a more human (but still good) 10-7 on the road. The Celtics have the best regular season record — 27-7 — in the NBA, only outdone on the road by the 10-6 Philadelphia 76ers and 11-7 Minnesota Timberwolves. The Celtics have won seven of their past eight games and four of their last six on the road.

The Celtics are second in points per 100 possessions at 121.9, second only to the Pacers at 122.8, often lauded by their high-powered offense. They have also been elite defensively, allowing just 111.8 points per 100 possessions, fifth in the NBA.

Their perimeter defense has forced opponents to jack the third-most 3-pointers per 100 possessions against the Celtics, 38.6, a crutch the Pacers will gladly lean on as they shoot 37.0 3s per 100, ninth in the league. First are the Celtics, 43.2 3PA per 100, so this profiles as a high-octane game that will live on the outside.

The Celtics are healthy as of this writing. Al Horford (rest) missed Friday's game in Utah but is expected back.

Pacers Betting Outlook

The Pacers haven't been as electric since losing to the Lakers in the In-Season Tournament a month ago, but they did get their 20th win of the season by housing the Hawks last night.

The Pacers are 8-6 since the conclusion of the IST, but have won six straight since losing six of seven — a stretch where they only beat the Charlotte Hornets at home.

Notably, the Pacers beat the Milwaukee Bucks both at home and on the road this week. They also have wins over the Houston Rockets, New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls in this current run, where they're back to putting up absurd point totals with regularity.

All the Pacers offensive numbers are elite, but the defensive number are not. They have the highest field goal percentage (50.8 percent) in the league while putting up the second most attempts per game (93.0), but rank just 14th in field goal attempts per 100 possessions (89.9).

The Pacers also excel in ball movement, of course, with Haliburton leading the NBA in assists. The team is averaging 29.7 dimes per 100 possessions, second to the Denver Nuggets. The Celtics actually allow the fourth-fewest assists per 100 possessions at 24.9.

One area for concern if you're Indiana: The Celtics are the best team in the league in opponent field goals per free throw attempt at .150, meaning they're great at defending without fouling. The Pacers aren't — at .246, they allow the second most field goals per free throw attempt — only the Detroit Pistons are worse. Both teams are near the bottom 10 in free throw rate, so we'll see if this has an impact.

Celtics vs. Pacers Picks, Odds

Saturday, Jan 6
7:00pm ET
Celtics Odds
-110o / -110u
Pacers Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

I've had a difficult time with this one from a team standpoint, but I like the Pacers to score over 120.5 points, which I played at -125 on DraftKings Saturday morning.

The line at +6 feels tasty, but NBA spreads are annoying unless you feel like you have a strong hold of the situation, and this game provides a level of unpredictability in either direction. But I think the Pacers will continue to score at an absurd pace, even against the Celtics, who are traveling from Boston to Indiana for the second leg of this back-to-back.

Prop wise, give me Derrick White over 2.5 3s at +100, which I wrote about in our Best Bets file for today's games.

Pick: Pacers over 120.5

Prop Pick: Derrick White Over 2.5 3-pointers

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