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Series Bet - Celtics vs. Pacers
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by Kyle Markus

NBA Series Preview - Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics underachieved in the regular season, finishing with the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference after being projected to win it before the year began. They are hoping to turn over a new leaf in the playoffs, and that journey will begin with a first-round matchup against the Indiana Pacers.

Boston has the benefit of the home court advantage if the series goes to a decisive seventh game, and is clearly the more talented team. Despite the issues throughout the regular season, the oddsmakers are still confident in the Celtics’ ability to be a player in the East postseason.

Boston hopes to pick up an easy first-round victory, but the Pacers defied the odds for much of the season and would love to pull the upset and advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals in NBA gambling.

This NBA basketball series between the Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics will be held at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts and the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. The games will be nationally televised.

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Odds Analysis

The Pacers finished the season with a record of 48-34 overall. The Celtics wrapped up the year with a mark of 49-33. Boston won six of its final 10 games while Indiana only won four of its final 10.

The teams faced off four times in the regular season, with the Celtics claiming three of them. Indiana won the first matchup by a point in early November, but Boston bounced back. The Celtics claimed a January matchup in blowout fashion, 135-108, and then won a pair of games down the stretch against Indiana, by two points and then 20.

Boston’s head-to-head success is another reason why it will be considered the favorite in this one in NBA betting lines.

Injury Report

Boston guard Marcus Smart suffered an oblique injury on Sunday night, and he could reportedly miss the first two rounds of the playoffs. He is a key piece, averaging 8.8 points and 4.0 assists per game while also playing his trademark tough defense. It is a big loss for Boston.

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is dealing with a bruised shin that he suffered on Sunday, but it doesn’t seem like it is going to affect him for this series as the MRI came back clean. That would be a relief, as he is one of the team’s best players, averaging 15.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals per contest.

Pacers shooting guard Wesley Matthews has a sore right toe that he is hoping to manage for this series. He is averaging 12.2 points on the year and is one of the team’s better shooters from three-point range.

Key Stat

9. That’s the number of losses for the Pacers in their final 14 games, as they limped to the finish line and allowed Boston to surpass them for the No. 4 seed. Indiana was surprisingly competitive early in the year but regressed down the stretch.

The team was hurt by the season-ending injury to star forward Victor Oladipo midway through the year. The rest of the roster is a collection of nice pieces, but the high-end talent is lacking without Oladipo in the fold. Despite the late lull, Indiana regularly showed the ability to hang with upper tier opponents during the season and will look to shock the Celtics in this series.

Free NBA ATS Picks

It remains to be seen if the Celtics can truly turn it on when the second round of the playoffs gets here and the competition increases. However, Boston will definitely make it there. The Celtics are the superior team and should not have too much trouble grabbing this series win and keeping their title dreams alive.

The Pacers had a nice regular season but the loss of Oladipo will prove too tough to overcome in NBA odds.

NBA ATS Pick: Boston Celtics to beat Indiana Pacers in five games

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