The Indiana Pacers will host the Boston Celtics at Gainbridge Fieldhouse tonight as the quarterfinal round of the NBA In-Season Tournament gets underway.
The Pacers were a surprise winner of East Group A, outperforming the NBA odds to go 4-0 in group play. Not only did the Pacers sweep their group — featuring the Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers — but they also racked up a plus-39 point differential, earning the right to host this quarterfinal game against the Celtics.
The Celtics, on the other hand, had a less smooth path to the quarterfinal. They needed a 23-point victory against the Chicago Bulls in the final game of the group stage to win their group. While the Celtics pulled it off, Billy Donovan was very vocal about his thoughts on the Celtics' 'hack-an-Andre Drummond' strategy.
We are now down to only eight teams left in the NBA In-Season Tournament! Will the Celtics or the Pacers be the first team to punch their ticket to the semi-final in Las Vegas? Let's dig in with our free NBA picks for Celtics vs. Pacers on Monday, December 4.
Want more from this game? Rory Breasail has you covered with his Celtics vs. Pacers props.
Celtics vs Pacers odds
Celtics vs Pacers predictions
The Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers played each other a little more than a month ago, with the Celtics defeating the Pacers 155-104. Do I expect the Celtics to win by 51 points again? Not at all, but this previous game showcased how difficult a matchup the Celtics are for the Pacers specifically.
The Pacers like to play with a ton of...erm, pace, and their goal is to overwhelm you. They aren't trying to win with defense. When you match up this style of basketball against a Celtics team that features Jrue Holiday, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Derrick White on the perimeter, there's a problem.
Not only do the Celtics have multiple weapons that can take advantage of the layup line, but they also have perimeter defenders who can make the game uncomfortable for Pacers guards, something Indiana can't reciprocate.
Tyrese Haliburton has publicly stated that Holiday is one of the toughest matchups in the NBA for him and that he thinks the veteran guard is one of the best defenders at the point of attack. If you're the Pacers, it's very concerning that the Celtics have a defender who can disrupt the game of your best player, but you have nobody who can guard either Tatum or Brown.
The Celtics will be without Kristaps Porzingis on Monday night, but you have a slight edge here by backing Boston. I like the Celtics closer to a 6-point favorite against the Pacers. This means we can price the spread of Celtics -5 at -117, but we're seeing it available at BetRivers for -108.
My best bet: Celtics -5 (-108 at BetRivers)
Celtics vs Pacers same-game parlay
I briefly touched on the Haliburton versus Holiday matchup in the preview for the spread pick of Celtics -5, but there is more to unpack with this matchup and why I like Haliburton to go Under his total of 27.5 points.
Not only has Haliburton praised Holiday as one of the toughest matchups for him in the NBA, but the 23-year-old is also under the weather. The Pacers point guard missed Saturday's game against the Miami Heat and is listed as questionable tonight.
Considering the magnitude of the game, I would expect Haliburton to give it a go, but I find it hard to believe he will be at full strength. Not only is Haliburton dealing with an illness, but his total is inflated because he is coming off five straight Overs and a 44-point game against the Heat in his last outing. Haliburton typically trades more in that 21.5 to 23.5 window, but his total on Monday is trading at 27.5.
Facing one of the best defenders at the point of the attack, dealing with an illness, and currently trading at one of his highest point totals of the season, give me the Under all day.
For Holiday, the Pacers allow a ton of layups, and the shooting of Al Horford and everyone on the Celtics should help keep Myles Turner away from the rim. Tatum and Brown will have an easy time scoring against the Pacers, but I prefer attacking Holiday’s prop because there is a bigger edge at the 14.5 points for Holiday than the 30.5 for Tatum.
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Celtics vs Pacers spread and Over/Under analysis
The Celtics opened as a 4.5-point favorite over the Pacers at FanDuel and are now trading at -5 as the game approaches tip-off. There is still a Celtics -4.5 floating around out there at BetMGM, but it comes at a cost, as there is increased juice on the Celtics' side of the spread.
The total for this matchup has been climbing ever since the odds were posted at DraftKings. DraftKings originally opened the game total at 236, and we are now all the way up to 241.5. For me, this is a sign that Haliburton will play despite the questionable tag.
Celtics vs Pacers betting trend to know
The Pacers have gone Over the total of 241.5 in eight of their last 10 home games. Find more NBA betting trends for Celtics vs. Pacers.
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Celtics vs Pacers game info
|Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianpolis, IN
|Monday, December 4, 2023
|7:30 p.m. ET
Celtics vs Pacers latest injuries
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