Pacers vs. Celtics Odds, Picks | NBA Betting Prediction & Preview (Friday, March 24)

Pacers vs. Celtics Odds, Picks | NBA Betting Prediction & Preview (Friday, March 24) article feature image

Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • The Celtics look to continue their home dominance as they host the Pacers on Friday night.
  • Our expert expects Boston to get off to a fast start and is betting the Celtics in the first quarter.
  • Continue reading for Andrew O'Connor-Watts' best bet and analysis for Celtics vs Pacers.

Pacers vs. Celtics Odds

Pacers Odds+11.5
Celtics Odds-11.5
Time7 p.m. ET
TVNBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Indiana Pacers face the Boston Celtics in a rematch of a barn burner from Feb. 23 in which the Celtics won 142-138 in overtime.

Both teams were fully healthy in that game, but the Pacers may be without Tyrese Haliburton tonight. He's questionable with a knee contusion that has kept him out of six straight contests.

The Celtics return home after a six-game road trip, but should be fully healthy, except for Payton Pritchard, who is doubtful with a heel injury.

Let's breakdown the odds and I'll give out some picks for the Indiana Pacers vs. the Boston Celtics.

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers have been a strange team since Haliburton went down with a knee contusion. They’ve been mediocre from a record standpoint (3-3 straight up and ATS), but their wins have come against solid competition.

They split two road games against the Pistons (not solid competition), lost to the tanking Hornets and the 76ers without James Harden, but destroyed the Bucks and beat the Raptors.

The Pacers seemingly only get up for certain games, but it’s been difficult to figure out which games those are.

One thing that has been consistent is their defense, but not in a good way. During this stint without Haliburton, the Pacers have the eighth-worst defense in the league, according to NBA Advanced Stats.

Offensively they’ve weathered the storm, ranking 10th in True Shooting Percentage (59.9%) and 12th in Effective Field Goal Percentage (56.4%).

Andrew Nembhard and T.J. McConnell have effectively filled the void in backcourt duties and while Indiana’s playmaking has taken a slight dip, its tempo hasn’t. The Pacers still rank ninth in Assist Percentage (64%) and fifth in Pace (101.5).

Boston Celtics

Boston has also had its ups and downs, which can partially be attributed to some injuries, but is more likely motivational.

The Celtics losses have been rough and their wins have been unimpressive. In their past 10 games, the Celtics have only beaten one team with a record above .500 and that was a Kings team on the end of a brutal road trip playing their fifth game in seven nights.

The losses have come at the hands of suspect competition. The Celtics failed to beat the roster-gutted Nets, the plummeting Blazers, tanking Rockets and a not-quite-sure-if-they’re-tanking Jazz squad.

The Celtics are trending to the over lately (6-4 in their past 10 games), but that’s been largely due to their first quarter offense, which has been off the charts.

Boston ranks third in first quarter Offensive Rating at 128.1 thanks to high-volume 3-point shooting (12.6 attempts per first quarter) at an excellent clip (39.7).

Pacers-Celtics Pick

I like the first quarter over and for Boston to cover the first quarter spread if it’s -3.5 or better.

Boston's offense has been great to start games and the Pacers are the worst first quarter team in the league (26-46-1 ATS), according to EV Analytics.

For the total, Indiana is 7-3 to the first quarter over and Boston is 5-4-1 to the over in its past 10 games. Both offenses should get out to a fast start and we should see plenty of scoring.

If you don't want to play both, I'd play the over as I have a slight lean to Pacers for the full game, even without Haliburton.

Picks: Celtics 1Q -4 or Better | 1Q over. Play to 60.

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