NBA Best Bets | Picks Against Spread, Moneyline Prediction, Player Props, Odds for Pacers vs Celtics (Thursday, May 23)

NBA Best Bets | Picks Against Spread, Moneyline Prediction, Player Props, Odds for Pacers vs Celtics (Thursday, May 23) article feature image

The Eastern Conference Finals resume with a pivotal second matchup this Thursday, as Pacers vs. Celtics Game 2 takes center stage tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Read below for our top eight NBA best bets for Thursday, May 23 — featuring six player props, one pick against the spread, and one moneyline prediction for tonight's contest.

NBA Best Bets: Thursday, May 23

GameTime (ET)Pick
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NBA Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

Pacers vs. Celtics

Thursday, May 23
8 p.m. ET
ESPN
Derrick White Over 2.5 Made 3-Pointers (-145)

By Bryan Fonseca

Derrick White has gone over 2.5 threes in 7-of-11 playoff games this season, as well as in 3-of-4 and 6-of-8.

I also think the Celtics win and cover, which is roughly a 10-point spread. The Celtics have seven wins by 10 or more points in the playoffs: White has gone over 2.5 threes in six of those games, averaging 22 points.

The Celtics to cover and White hitting this over is parlayed at +215 on the market, +200 or better across the board, and I think that's worth a sprinkle.

Projecting home blowouts generally means a good effort from role players, and White is the guy against a generally "meh" Pacers defense.

As a 500-foot home run shot attempt, White is +2,900 to lead the game in scoring on FanDuel. He's done this multiple times during the playoffs, and I like his overs, so why not?

Pick: Derrick White Over 2.5 Made 3-Pointers (-145)


Pacers vs. Celtics

Thursday, May 23
8 p.m. ET
ESPN
Jrue Holiday Over 10.5 REB + AST (-112)

By Joe Dellera

The Boston Celtics escaped Game 1 with a narrow victory and one player that was instrumental to the team’s success was Jrue Holiday. Holiday made his impact felt on both sides of the floor and while I have some concerns about the scoring being replicable, the other counting stats were supported by the opportunity.

Jrue played 48.3 minutes in Game 1 which included five minutes of overtime, so we should obviously expect less run today; however, he still would have played about 43 minutes in regulation as Boston has seemingly slashed their bench minutes. He secured seven boards on 14 chances and dished out eight assists on 13 potentials for a combined 15 rebounds + assists on 27 potentials. Given his role seems generally sustainable.

Additionally, Indiana turned the ball over a whopping 21 times and had an eFG% of 60.1%. That eFG% should regress against Boston’s elite defense, and if they limit some of the turnovers, those possessions now end in shots and rebound opportunities. There’s a bit of upside in that regard to mitigate the extra chances in overtime.

Jrue has smoked this line historically against Indiana with more than 10.5 RA in 85% of his games over the last few seasons. While some of this data is old when he was on the Bucks, it does demonstrate that this had been an exploitable matchup for him.

I’ll grab Jrue to exceed 10.5 rebounds + assists.

Pick: Jrue Holiday Over 10.5 REB + AST (-112)


Pacers vs. Celtics

Thursday, May 23
8 p.m. ET
ESPN
Pacers ML (+310)

By Maltman

Before even seeing the results of Game 1, I thought this would be a great spot for the Pacers.

The Pacers fought hard, hit a ton of shots, and then blew it at the end of Game 1 with an overtime loss. To many, this was extremely discouraging, as it felt like it was the Pacers best chance to win a game in Boston.

As I mentioned before the series, the Celtics have not protected the rim well without Porzingis, and that continued in Game 1 as the Pacers shot 78% at the rim. They came out jittery and fell behind by 12 in the first three minutes, before finding themselves and being unstoppable on offense the rest of the way.

The trends also favor Indiana. Boston has lost their last two Game 2s. When up at home in the playoffs, their record is below .500 over the last three seasons. Additionally, since 2003, road teams that lose Game 1 in overtime are 4-4 in their next game. Betting .5u on Pacers at +320 (would bet down to +250).

Pick: Pacers ML (+310)


Pacers vs. Celtics

Thursday, May 23
8 p.m. ET
ESPN
Myles Turner Over PTS + REB (-112)

By Braxton Reynolds

Boston's defense bleeds above-the-break 3s, so Myles Turner's pick-and-pop range will once again be a crucial weapon. He especially torched Luke Kornet's drop coverage in Game 1 and also exploited Kornet's lackluster mobility by slipping screens for relatively unchallenged rolls to the basket.

Tyrese Haliburton's superb passing completely enhances Turner's high ball screen scoring potential too.

Meanwhile, Turner saw 17 rebound chances in Game 1 and managed to snag 10 boards. Although that's a bit higher than expected, the veteran should grab around 7-8 rebounds on a nightly basis with constant double digit potential.

Overall, Turner produced 33 points + rebounds in Game 1. I expect him to clear this 23.5 line even when factoring in shooting and rebounding regression. I would play this at 1.5 units.

Pick: Myles Turner Over PTS + REB (-112)


Pacers vs. Celtics

Thursday, May 23
8 p.m. ET
ESPN
Al Horford Over 2.5 Made 3-Pointers (+148)

By Joe Dellera

This number is shocking to me given the volume in Game 1.

Al Horford took a whopping 12 3 point attempts in Game 1 he had the green light all game on these pick-and-pop attempts for Boston. He kept getting lost on the defensive side of the ball and had plenty of opportunities to score.

While 12 attempts seems high, he took 13 in the closeout Game 5 against the Cavaliers. Additionally, without Porzingis he sees a spike to 2.3 made 3s on 5.8 attempts per game. This season, when Horford has taken five or more 3s he has cleared this line in 50% of games. With six or more this jumps to a whopping 78%. Horford has been incredibly efficient with his opportunities.

This is a tough cover for the Pacers and to limit his attempts likely means surrendering opportunities to Tatum, Brown, or White, which is not an advisable plan moving forward.

I’ll grab Big Al to drain three 3s.

Pick: Al Horford Over 2.5 Made 3-Pointers (+148)


Pacers vs. Celtics

Thursday, May 23
8 p.m. ET
ESPN
TJ McConnell Over 17.5 PTS + REB + AST (-110)

By Michael Arinze

Only two Indiana players reached double figures off the bench, and one of them was Pacers point guard T.J. McConnell.

Indiana has had the best bench in the league all season, and McConnell is a big part of the team’s success. He’s often one of the first players off the bench, averaging 19.8 minutes during the playoffs, and his ability to run the offense ensures there isn’t much of a dropoff when the Pacers starting point guard gets a rest.

The Pacers ranked second in pace during the regular season, and Boston seems content to go up and down the court with Indiana. As a result, there should be plenty of opportunities for offense when you have a player with McConnell’s efficiency.

The minutes should continue to be available for the Pacers' backup point guard, making him a likely candidate to exceed his points + rebounds + assists prop of 17.5. It’s also noteworthy that McConnell has exceeded this number in six of his last eight playoff games.

Pick: TJ McConnell Over 17.5 PTS + REB + AST (-110)


Pacers vs. Celtics

Thursday, May 23
8 p.m. ET
ESPN
Pascal Siakam Over 31.5 PTS + REB + AST (-125)

By Joe Dellera

One Pacer that I expect to show up in Game 2 is Pascal Siakam. Siakam was excellent down the stretch of Game 1 even though the Pacers lost because of the way he continued to attack the rim.

Siakam was continually attacking the interior, specifically Al Horford and taking advantage of that matchup late in the game. Considering the Celtics’ options at this point with Porzingis out and Xavier Tillman’s status up in the air (personal), this is a button I can see Carlisle and the Pacers pressing early and often.

Siakam gets into the interior and takes the majority of his shots from midrange but that’s a shot Boston will live with him taking as they’d love to exchange 2s on defense for 3s on offense.

Siakam also contributed from a rebounding and assisting perspective in Game 1 with 12 rebounds on 16 chances and seven assists on nine potentials. While those both should regress a bit, there’s clearly upside in those counting stats.

I expect Siakam to be the offensive hub for the Pacers in Game 2 with Haliburton having a brutal matchup against Jrue and White on the perimeter.  Plus, from a rotational perspective he saw a longer run in the second quarter and played nearly the full 12 minutes in Game 1.

If Boston is going to use their bench, it will be in those minutes which is a softer matchup for Siakam. In the two games Siakam played against Boston alongside Haliburton, he averaged 23.5 points, 9 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

I like Siakam to exceed 31.5 points + rebounds + assists tonight.

Pick: Pascal Siakam Over 31.5 PTS + REB + AST (-125)


Pacers vs. Celtics

Thursday, May 23
8 p.m. ET
ESPN
Pacers +9 (-110)

By Bruce Marshall

The Pacers committed a hoops version of hari-kari in the final seconds of OT in Game 1, looking to have survived into the last half-minute before a couple of unforced errors threw the Celtics a lifeline. 

Matchups, however, look like they will be difficult for Boston, at least until Kristaps Porzingis returns, as Pascal Siakam was getting all of the looks he wanted for Indy out to 15 feet in the opener, while Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner combined for 48. 

Note the Pacers followed up their record-67.1% FG shooting from Game 7 versus the Knicks to hitting nearly 54% in the opener.  This team is hot-shooting at the moment, and barring a complete letdown, should give Boston all it wants every night in this series. Take Indiana to cover the spread.

Pick: Pacers +9 (-110)

NBA Best Bets: Thursday, May 23

GameTime (ET)Pick
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NBA Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

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