New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics Odds, Pick, Prediction: Familiar Teams Face Off
Mark Blinch/Getty Images. Pictured: RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks.
- Updated Knicks vs. Celtics odds list New York as a 7-point underdog, up half a point from earlier in the day on Saturday.
- The total has also moved half a point as these two teams gear up for a matchup against each other for a second straight day.
- Kenny Ducey gives his Knicks-Celtics pick and preview below.
Updated Knicks vs. Celtics Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds updated at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday via FanDuel.|
The New York Knicks and Boston Celtics have already produced three epic games, including a thriller at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, so Saturday’s series finale (I know, it’s a bit early) promises to be a good one.
New York comes in with a 2-1 lead on Boston in the three meetings between these two and in the better form. Does that mean the Knicks are the bet with the points?
Let’s answer that question with an examination of the numbers below.
New York’s Offensive Outburst Should Cool Off
The Knicks are a rather flawed team, but they’ve managed to figure a few things out over the past few weeks. In that three-week span, New York has ranked fifth among all teams in defensive efficiency, allowing just 106.1 points per 100 possessions. This has to be considered a massive win, considering the Knicks have struggled all season long on the defensive end, and it’s led them to a 6-4 record during that time.
New York also enters here with a 5-2 record against the spread in its last seven, including Thursday’s improbable 25-point comeback against Boston which included a career-high 41 points from Evan Fournier on 10-of-14 shooting from behind the arc.
Fournier is listed as questionable for this tilt against the Celtics due to a thigh contusion, and his loss would be pretty massive considering he’s now averaging 35 points per game against his former club in three meetings. Aside from him, the Knicks are also listing big man Nerlens Noel as questionable as he makes his way back from the league’s health and safety protocols and will once again be without Derrick Rose and Kemba Walker. Ryan Arcidiacono, who the Knicks worked hard to sign to a 10-day contract, also won’t be ready to debut in this one.
It’s worth noting here that the non-Fournier Knicks shot 36.4% from 3-point range against Boston, and likely would not have fallen behind by 25 points on Thursday if not for blistering hot shooting in the first half from the Celtics. They should have a decent matchup inside with Julius Randle going against a weak front line and should get some more scoring out of R.J. Barrett, who should see some positive regression in his shooting numbers.
Celtics (Usually) Dominate Defensively
The core members of this team are also now healthy, with the exception of Payton Pritchard who remains out under the league’s health and safety protocols.
The Knicks may be a better team than the Celtics over the past three weeks, but not by much. In that time — since Dec. 17 — the Celtics rank 10th with a Defensive Rating of 108.8 and have sustained a high level on that end all season long.
At least for a little while, until the dreaded fourth quarter (the Celtics are one of the worst fourth quarter teams in basketball), that held true. Boston’s Defensive Rating hit 120 points on Thursday, but if not for the game of Fournier’s life it likely would have been just a fraction ahead of what we’ve seen lately. Prior to that outburst from the Frenchman, Boston’s defensive rating in both games was 110.4 or better.
The Celtics continue to grind games out at a slow pace, which has been a staple all year long for Ime Udoka. Boston is down in 23rd in Pace this year, and it’s a big reason why the under is 22-17 in all of its games this year, according to our Bet Labs Database.
Thursday’s game between these two teams was very bizarre. The chances of the over hitting in a game with a Pace in the 90s are very slim, yet the shooting efficiency of Fournier all game long coupled with an insane shooting performance from Boston in the first half sent this game into overdrive.
We went over the Celtics’ commitment to pace already, and we have to mention the Knicks’. New York ranks 29th in pace this year — second to last — and it’s taken the total down with it with a 22-17 record to the under this year.
Both of these teams play slow and both have played exceptionally on the defensive end of late. This total is still too high.
Pick: Under 208 (-110)