Pacers vs. Celtics Game 1 Betting Preview: Bet on Boston’s Home Playoffs History

Pacers vs. Celtics Game 1 Betting Preview: Bet on Boston’s Home Playoffs History article feature image

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11).

Game 1 Betting Odds: Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics

  • Spread: Celtics -7
  • Over/Under: 209.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: TNT

>> All odds as of 10:45 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

Brad Stevens and the Celtics will start their trek toward a title with a first-round series against the pesky Indiana Pacers. Can Boston cover the big number at home? Our analysts discuss.

Betting Trends to Know

No. 4 seeds have struggled to cover the spread in the playoffs since 2005, going 73-88-4 (45.3%) against-the-spread (ATS) in the opening round. It has been even worse since 2010, as 4-seeds are just 34-57-4 (37.4%) ATS. — John Ewing

The Celtics-Pacers’ over/under opened at 210.5 and has been bet down to 209.5. Since 2005, in playoff games with high totals (200 or more points), it has been profitable to bet the under when the line decreases one or more points: 76-58-1 (57%). — Ewing

The over is 19-7 (73.1%) in Celtics home games this season when they are facing a conference opponent; they’re the most-profitable team to the over in this spot in the league. The over/under in the Pacers/Celtics game is 209.5, which would be the second-lowest total in a Celtics home game against an Eastern Conference opponent this season. — Evan Abrams

Mears: How I’m Handicapping Today’s Game

I wrote the Celtics-Pacers series preview here, and I think this is the most compelling argument for Boston: On the year, these teams are fairly even. But since Jan. 23 — the day Victor Oladipo went down with an injury — the Pacers haven’t been playing at the same level…

  • Before Oladipo injury: 32-15, +5.9 Net Rating (4th), 110.6 ORtg (15th), 104.7 DRtg (4th)
  • After Oladipo injury: 17-19, -1.1 Net Rating (18th), 109.3 ORtg (22nd), 110.3 DRtg (12th)

They’re largely playing the same in terms of scheme, but without Dipo to provide efficient scoring. That’s concerning, as are their offensive sets. They’re a very mid-range-heavy team, which is going to be challenging to have success with against a motivated Boston defensive unit at home.

Speaking of being at home, Brad Stevens and his Celtics have pretty extreme playoffs splits there vs. on the road. Historically, Stevens is 10-11 ATS on the road in the playoffs vs. 17-9 at home. He’s easily the most-profitable home playoff coach since his first appearance in 2014. He’s also the most-profitable coach to the moneyline at home.

Some analysts will make the argument that Marcus Smart’s injury will hurt the Celtics in the playoffs. I don’t necessarily disagree with that sentiment — Smart is one of the best perimeter defenders in the world — but I’m just not sure it matters that much in this series, as the Pacers offense doesn’t have enough to take advantage.

This series will really come down to whether the Pacers can score against the Celtics. I’m a little skeptical: Indiana will run a lot of pick-and-rolls, and the Celtics will gladly counter by dropping a big and allowing the Pacers’ ball-handlers to fire away from beyond the arc (they won’t) or from mid-range (they will, which is tough).

Thus, I’m interested in betting the Celtics, but if you’re worried about a seven-point spread in what could be a slow-paced, defensive affair, the moneyline of around -300 is worth a look.Bryan Mears

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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