The Boston Celtics look to stop the bleeding with an Eastern Conference matchup on Friday night. Boston hosts the Indiana Pacers at TD Garden, with the Celtics losing their last three games. Indiana is 15-15 on the season, and the two teams will be jockeying for playoff positioning throughout the 2020-21 campaign. Marcus Smart (calf) and Romeo Langford (wrist) will miss the game for the Celtics, with TJ Warren (foot) and Caris LeVert (medical) ruled out for the Pacers.
Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. ET in Boston. William Hill Sportsbook lists the Celtics as 2.5-point home favorites, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 219.5 in the latest Pacers vs. Celtics odds. Before you make any Celtics vs. Pacers picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it returned over $5,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks last season. The model also is up almost $8,700 on top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. Dating back to last season, it enters Week 10 of the 2020-21 NBA schedule on a stunning 85-49 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Pacers vs. Celtics spread: Celtics -2.5
- Pacers vs. Celtics over-under: 219.5 points
- Pacers vs. Celtics money line: Celtics -145, Pacers +125
- IND: The Pacers are 4-6 against the spread in the last 10 games
- BOS: The Celtics are 3-7 against the spread in the last 10 games
Why the Pacers can cover
Indiana is a well-rounded team with strengths on both ends of the floor. The Pacers are a top-eight team in the NBA in assist rate (62.8 percent) and turnover rate (13.5 percent) offensively, leading to a top-five mark in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.94). That is the bedrock of an effective offense, and the Pacers have an above-average effective field goal shooting mark of 54.3 percent.
Defensively, Indiana is above-average overall, giving up only 1.1 points per possession, and the Pacers are No. 7 in shooting efficiency allowed. With a top-10 mark in turnover creation rate (14.7 percent), the Pacers can put heat on a Celtics team that has trouble protecting the ball and generating assists so far in 2020-21.
Why the Celtics can cover
Boston is an above-average offensive team, scoring 111.5 points per 100 possessions. One big reason for that success is the presence of a pair of dynamic shot creators in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and both average more than 25 points per game on strong efficiency. The Celtics are also a top-five offensive rebounding team, securing 29.4 percent of their own missed shots offensively.
Boston could create free throw attempts at a high rate in this matchup, as the Pacers are a below-average team in free throw rate on both ends of the floor. Indiana also struggles as an offensive rebounding team, and Boston is a top-10 group in creating turnovers, forcing a giveaway on 14.7 percent of possessions. The Celtics, in general, excel at creating steals (8.2 per game), and they limit transition well, giving up only 12.0 fast break points per game this season.
How to make Celtics vs. Pacers picks
SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total, projecting both teams combine for 221 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits in over 50 percent of simulations. You can get that pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Pacers vs. Celtics? And which side of the spread hits over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks.