Knicks vs. Celtics NBA Odds & Picks: Target the Under in Eastern Conference Matchup (Wednesday, April 7)
Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum.
- The Celtics are playing the back end of a back-to-back after losing to Philadelphia on Tuesday.
- New York's defense has had a day to rest after another tight loss to Brooklyn.
- Matthew Trebby explains why there likely won't be much scoring between these to conference foes.
Knicks vs. Celtics Odds
|Moneyline||+135 / -160|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
It’s early April, and a Knicks vs. Celtics matchup has playoff implications for both teams. Can you believe it?
New York and Boston enter this game tied in the Eastern Conference standings with ambitions of hosting a first-round series and avoiding one of the three giants — Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Milwaukee. Head-to-head matchups like this late in the season are crucial.
Forget that for a minute, though. Let’s dig in and find where bettors should find value in this contest.
New York Knicks
The Knicks are hanging on to the eight seed for dear life, and their quest for a playoff berth is boosted by a lack of serious opposition. On paper, the Pacers and Bulls are more talented, but both teams have dealt with injuries throughout the season and are not playing their best at the moment.
For bettors, the most important stat is that the Knicks are 10-17 on the road this season to the over. Knowing its offensive prowess isn’t going to overwhelm anyone, New York makes road games ugly in hopes of winning that way. They’re only 11-16 straight-up (SU) on the road this season, but they are 16-11 against the spread (ATS).
The Knicks’ last two games, both on the road, have uncharacteristically gone over the total, although there’s an explanation for both. The first one was a 43-point win over the Pistons, who are pretty hopeless at this point in the season, and Monday night’s matchup was an intense matchup with the offense-heavy Brooklyn Nets, even though they were without Kevin Durant and James Harden left the game early.
Prior to those two games, the Knicks went under the total in three straight. Those numbers were 206.5, 217.5 and 213.
The Knicks are playing well of late, although their 5-5 record in their last 10 games wouldn’t indicate that. In that span, New York entered play on Tuesday night seventh in the NBA with a 5.0 Net Rating, according to NBA Advanced Stats, and their 103.5 Defensive Rating trails only Utah.
The Celtics might have two impressive offensive wings in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, but that’s about all they’ve had this season. Kemba Walker is no longer the explosive point guard he was in Charlotte, and Boston didn’t adequately replace Gordon Hayward’s scoring production.
Because of those issues, the Celtics are tied with the Knicks for the seven seed in the East after getting beaten by Joel Embiid and the 76ers on Tuesday night.
Boston entered the game against Philadelphia in a similar spot compared to the Knicks, though. In their 10 previous games before Tuesday night, the Celtics ranked sixth in the NBA in Net Rating at 5.4, but their record was just 5-5. Close losses to the Pelicans and Mavericks last week were examples of the hard luck Boston has had of late.
The Celtics entered their game against the 76ers ranked eighth in the NBA in Offensive Rating over their previous 10 contests, and they had to play against Philly without deadline acquisition Evan Fournier, who was out due to health and safety protocols. It would make sense for the French shooter to presumably miss this game.
After going under against Philadelphia, the last six Celtics games have finished below the total, although they’ve had higher totals than the Knicks.
Having played the night before in an intense game against the 76ers, the Celtics are going to struggle to match the Knicks’ intensity. These teams both still have a shot at avoiding the Nets, Sixers and Bucks in the first round of the playoffs, trailing the four seed by just 1.5 games.
In addition, the Knicks are playing the NBA’s second-slowest pace over their last 10 games, while Boston has the 12th-slowest. Especially with the Celtics playing the night before, this is going to be a methodical pace for both.
Given these teams’ trends, the under makes sense, even if it is a lower total than you’re used to seeing.
Pick: Under 215.5
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