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Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics Game 1: Picks, Predictions, Odds and Player Props

The Eastern Conference Finals between the Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics begin on Tuesday night.

Unfortunately, the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs was marred by injuries, meaning that neither the Celtics nor the Pacers had to play at a consistently elite level in order to advance.

What is fortunate, however, is that both the remaining teams are in a position to test each other. While Boston comes in as a heavy favorite over Indiana, it also can’t sleepwalk to the NBA Finals. Indiana’s pace will make the Celtics uncomfortable.

For the Pacers, the Celtics' combination of size and shooting will be like playing a different sport after taking down the remnants of the New York Knicks.

Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics Game 1 betting picks and predictions

Over 221.5 Total Points (-110)

The Celtics had the NBA’s best offense this year, a title they usurped from the Pacers midseason, who finished a close second. The way they each get there though is completely different.  

The Celtics take and make more threes than any other team, while the Pacers use their speed to rack up points in the paint. I’m expecting both defenses to take some time to adjust to these radically different styles, which is why I expect Game 1 to be all about the offenses.  

Kristaps Porzingis is the Celtics' best answer to Indiana’s interior scoring, and he’s officially out for Game 1 due to his nagging calf strain. After two sleepy series in prior rounds, the Pacers are going to catch the Celtics off guard in transition a few times before they get settled in.  

The Celtics will have an even easier time scoring. The Pacers throttled New York’s offense in Round 2, but their performance against that battered Knicks group is not predictive of their play here.  

The Pacers' preferred method for slowing down Jalen Brunson was to put two on the ball. But that is simply not an option against the Celtics. Any time a Celtic gets doubled, a great shooter is one pass away. The entire goal of their offense is to draw two and kick to an open player behind the arc.  

But the Pacers also have no hope of guarding Boston one-on-one, their perimeter players are simply too talented.

Tyrese Haliburton Under 19.5 Points (-120)

Tyrese Haliburton is the key to the entire series for Indiana. While the Pacers are a team that to this point has thrived on depth, ultimately, he needs to be the best player in the series if Indiana has any chance of winning.  

That might sound farfetched, but for the first two months of the season Haliburton was arguably the best offensive player in basketball. Whether he never quite got right from his hamstring injury, or something mentally changed, he hasn’t consistently returned to that form since.  

He did show signs of life in the Knicks series, averaging 21.3 points per game. But the teams that Haliburton has just beaten — and at times struggled against mightily — are much worse than the one he is about to play. Not only is Boston by far the best team the Pacers have faced, the way they are good should prove troubling for the All-Star guard.  

Haliburton is not the fastest player, so he uses a lot of screens to get separation to drive and kick. But the Celtics have good defenders at every spot on the perimeter, and they’ll simply switch those screens.  

The Pacers point guard showed difficulty beating the likes of Isaiah Hartenstein off the dribble for long stretches, so I expect he’s in for a rude awakening when he’s working through screen to get off Jrue Holiday only to have Jaylen Brown waiting on the other side.  

Haliburton averaged just 15.8 points per game against the Celtics during the regular season, three points below his season average. Great players adjust, but early on I expect Tyrese to struggle.

Read more betting picks and predictions for the NBA on site.

Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics Game 1 odds

IND Pacers

+375 ML

BOS Celtics

-500 ML

Spread

BOS Celtics -10.5

Total Points

O/U 221.5

Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics Game 1 player props

Player Points

Jayson Tatum (BOS Celtics)

O/U 29.5

Jaylen Brown (BOS Celtics)

O/U 25.5

Pascal Siakam (IND Pacers)

O/U 20.5

Tyrese Haliburton (IND Pacers)

O/U 18.5

Derrick White (BOS Celtics)

O/U 16.5

Andrew Nembhard (IND Pacers)

O/U 10.5

Read Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics Game : How to watch, TV channel, streaming, start time, injury report and stats on site.

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Odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

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