Pacers vs Celtics Game 2 Prediction: NBA Expert Pick, Odds (Thursday, May 23)

Pacers vs Celtics Game 2 Prediction: NBA Expert Pick, Odds (Thursday, May 23) article feature image

Pictured: Pascal Siakam of the Pacers and Jaylen Brown of the Celtics for Action Network’s odds, pick, and prediction for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Pacers vs. Celtics Odds

Thursday, May 23
8:00pm ET
Pacers Odds
-110o / -110u
Celtics Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about Pacers vs. Celtics on Thursday, May 23 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today's game.

The Pacers and Celtics are coming off of a thrilling overtime finish in Game 1. Indiana played with a lot of force for a team coming off of such a grueling series against the Knicks.

Teams coming off of a Game 7 against teams who didn't go seven games are just 16-30-1 ATS, including Wednesday night’s Mavericks Game 1 victory against the Timberwolves, per Action Network’s Evan Abrams.

It might be tougher for the Pacers to hang around moving forward, however. I expect some of that fatigue to hit them in Game 2.

Indiana Pacers

To the Pacers' credit, they didn’t let an early 12-2 run by Boston get away from them. They traded quarters all the way to overtime before the Celtics put the game away late thanks to some solid play by Jayson Tatum.

Indiana’s depth was key in Game 1, specifically big minutes from Obi Toppin and T.J. McConnell, who scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, off the bench.

The most noticeable wrinkle to this series so far is the fact that only a few players for Indiana were in the positives from a plus-minus perspective: Pascal Siakam (+5), Aaron Nesmith (+1), Toppin (+2) and Ben Sheppard (+5).

Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner were both a surprising -11, despite putting up decent counting stats.

I think most of that can be chalked up to the fact that they’re starters who play against one of the best starting lineups in the NBA, but that does clue me into the idea that we might be able to use these substitution patterns to our advantage.

It's something to monitor moving forward.

Boston Celtics

Boston came out of the gate hot, catching the Pacers seemingly off guard. But Indiana recovered quickly.

The Celtics still managed to close out the first quarter with a 34-31 lead, though.

All five Celtics starters played 40+ minutes and had positive plus-minuses. It was the Pacers' depth that caused problems for Boston in Game 1, but the C's were able to play their starters big minutes because of the rest advantage on Indiana.

Payton Pritchard was -15 and Sam Hauser was -8 in their combined 32 minutes.

Tatum had a great game, racking up 36 points, 12 rebounds and four assists on 12-of-26 shooting. But the usual late-game offensive issues continue to plague him, led mostly by poor shot selection down the stretch. Early, however, he was great.

My colleague Joe Dellera has consistently bet the over on Tatum’s first quarter points line precisely because he’s gotten consistent big minutes without Kristaps Porzingis in the lineup.

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Pacers vs. Celtics

Betting Pick & Prediction

I like the Celtics to come out of the gate strong and cover the first quarter spread of -2.5. Even in the disappointing Game 1, they still managed to lead by three points, simply because their starters are superior to Indiana’s.

They have defensive answers for a lot of the Pacers' players, but when the second units come in, that’s when things get a bit trickier.

I don’t mind parlaying Celtics 1Q and Pacers 2Q for that reason, but for the sake of an official play, I’ll go with just the first quarter look.

If I'm wrong and the Celtics come out sluggish, I'll look to live bet them for a better full-game number. But Indiana's elite offensive abilities make it a threat to backdoor cover a near double-digit spread.

Pick: Celtics 1Q -2.5

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