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Pacers vs. Celtics Eastern Conference finals Game 1 prediction: NBA picks, odds for Tuesday

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After a hard-fought seven-game series with the Knicks, the Pacers will meet up with the juggernaut Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.

Boston plays host for Game 1 on Tuesday night as 10-point favorites at Caesars Sportsbook, with Indiana just 48 hours removed from eliminating the Knicks.

The Celtics have the benefit of six days rest ahead of Game 1.

Perhaps the Pacers can carry their hot shooting into Boston, but this Celtics team is a totally different animal than the shell-of-themselves Knicks that they just ousted.

For starters, don’t expect Indiana’s hot 3-point shooting from poor shooters to continue.

Andrew Nembhard shot 52.6 percent from 3-point range against the Knicks after hitting just 35.7 percent from deep during the regular season.

The same goes for Myles Turner, who shot an insane 48.3 percent versus his 35.8 percentage during the regular season, and even Tyrese Haliburton shot a substantially higher percentage from 3-point range in the semifinals (43.9 percent on 9.4 attempts per game vs. 36.4 percent on 7.8 attempts).

Those three guys’ hot shooting was the difference in a series where the Knicks also lost most of their roster to injury.

Meanwhile, the Celtics, who struggle in close games, figure to build big leads off of dry spells from the Pacers.

As I broke down in the series Celtics-Pacers series preview, this isn’t likely to be a drawn-out series.

Boston had the second-best defensive efficiency in the NBA (110.6), just behind the league-leading Minnesota Timberwolves.

Pacers vs. Celtics prediction and bet for Game 1

As for betting on Tuesday’s game, the Celtics have a distinct advantage that you don’t see often.

Their shots never get blocked and they rarely turn the ball over.

Boston allowed just 3.5 blocks per game, a significantly lower rate than any other team, with the Mavericks coming in second at 4.2.

They also allowed just six steals per game, the lowest number in the NBA as well.

Prop totals seemingly aren’t tracking this as a potential shift for the Pacers, as Turners block total has stayed steady at 1.5 blocks for Game 1, the same number it was throughout the Knicks-Pacers series according to scoresandodds.com.


Tyrese Haliburton shouldn’t expect many free turnovers in this series. Getty Images

The same goes for Haliburton’s blocks+steals prop, which has stayed steady at 1.5, according to the outlet, despite the change in opponent.

The Knicks were blocked 5.3 times per game in the regular season and an insane 6.3 times per game in the postseason, compared to just 3.7 for the Celtics during the season and 2.0 times in the playoffs.

That postseason average for the Knicks was more than three times Celtics’ figure, and no one will argue that Turner is an elite rim protector at any level.

Meanwhile, Boston has been allowed the fewest steals in the NBA (4.7) during the season and the second-fewest in the playoffs (4.6).

The Knicks struggled to stop steals with their injured backcourt, allowing 5.9 steals per game in the playoffs – about middle of the pack – compared to just 6.7 in the regular season, a top-10 number.


Betting on the NBA?


Add all of that up and you have an edge.

This is a trend I expect to bet each game of this series, and is certainly worth betting on Tuesday with multiple players.

Take advantage of the trend before the books catch up.

Pacers vs. Celtics Game 1 picks

  • Myles Turner under 2.5 blocks + steals (-135, Bet365) | Under 1.5 blocks (+104, BetRivers)
  • Tyrese Haliburton under 1.5 steals + blocks (+105, BetMGM)
  • Obi Toppin under 0.5 steals + blocks (+130, Bet365)
  • Pascal Siakam under 1.5 steals + blocks (-185, Caesars)
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