Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics Prediction, Preview, and Odds 04-14-2019
The Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers saw plenty of each other down the final stretch of the regular season, and they’ll become even more acquainted during the first two weeks of the Playoffs.
Boston (49-33) beat Indiana (48-34) by a hair for the fourth seed, largely thanks to the two head-to-head victories it earned during the last week and a half of the campaign. The C’s will look to build upon its 3-1 regular-season mark over Indy during the first round, in which it will hold home-court advantage.
Game 1 will tip off at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon at TD Garden, Massachussetts.
Point Guards Matchup Kyrie Irving vs. Darren Collison
Darren Collison and Kyrie Irving. Andy Lyons/Getty Images Darren Collison has had a solid past couple of seasons as Indiana’s starting point guard, but he should be no match for Kyrie Irving in this series. Uncle Drew had an advantage over Collison in every major statistical category this past season, finishing with an All-NBA caliber line of 23.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.9 assists, while shooting 48.7 percent from the field. Collison averaged fewer than half of the amount of points than Irving did with 11.3 PPG, to go along with 3.1 RPG and 6.1 APG, while shooting 46.8 percent from the field. The only area where Collison had a slight advantage was in 3-point percentage, as he edged Irving 40.9 percent to 40.1 percent; though Irving also attempted nearly four more triples per game. Irving had great efficiency against the Pacers this season, shooting 50.9 percent from the field, 45.0 percent from 3 and 100 percent from the free-throw line, so he should have a solid edge heading into this best-of-seven series
Small Forwards Matchup Jayson Tatum vs. Bojan Bogdanovic
Bojan Bogdanovic sprints ahead of Jayson Tatum. Steve Babineau/NBAE The small-forward matchup will be the most fascinating duel strictly from a scoring perspective. Both Jayson Tatum and Bojan Bogdanovic are coming off of career-high scoring campaigns. Boston’s second-year wing averaged 15.7 PPG on shooting clips of 45.0 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from 3-point range, while Indy’s veteran wing put up a team-leading 18.0 PPG on clips of 49.7 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from deep. Even though Bogdanovic had the slight upper hand in scoring and efficiency, Tatum dominated their head-to-head matchups this season. Tatum put up 16.8 points on 51.0 shooting from the field and 47.6 percent shooting from long range, against Indy, while Bogdanovic fell well below his season averages by scoring 13.5 PPG on clips of 43.9 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from 3. Tatum also completely overshadowed Bogdanovic in their most recent matchup April 5, as he outscored his counterpart 22-4 on the road.
Power Forwards Matchup Al Horford vs. Thaddeus Young
Al Horford backs down Thaddeus Young.
There are only two players in this series who have more than 10 years of NBA experience. Those two guys – Al Horford and Thaddeus Young – also happen to be matching up head-to-head at the power forward position.
The 11-year vets put up very similar scoring and rebounding numbers this season, as Horford averaged 13.6 PPG on 53.5 percent shooting from the field, along with 6.7 rebounds per game, while Young put up 12.6 PPG on a 52.7 percent shooting clip, as well as 6.5 RPG.
Horford, however, is a superior facilitator (4.2 APG to 2.5 APG) and shot-blocker (1.3 BPG to 0.4 BPG). He’s also a much more decorated player from an accolade standpoint, being a reigning All-Defensive teamer and All-Star.
Another area where Horford has an advantage is postseason experience. While he has been in the league for the same number of years as Young, Horford has more than twice as many playoff appearances, having played in 111 such games to Young’s 47.
Horford also has a massive advantage in head-to-head wins over Young, owning a 23-8 record in the regular season and a 4-2 mark in the postseason.
Taking all of that into consideration, it’s clear that Boston’s veteran leader has the upper hand over Indy’s.
15-4 SU and ATS in the last 19 home games in the postseason
14-1 SU and ATS in the last 15 playoff games as favorites
Indiana Pacers:2-10 SU and 4-8 ATS in the last 12 games on the road
3-10 SU and 5-8 ATS in the last 13 outings as underdogs
Just like they were neck-and-neck in the standings, the Celtics and Pacers were also neck-and-neck in bench production. Boston and Indy finished ninth and 10th respectively in second-unit scoring, with the former averaging 39.3 PPG to the latter’s 39.1 PPG.
Indiana’s reserve unit is led by double-double machine Domantas Sabonis, who paced the team in rebounding (9.3 RPG) and also finished third in scoring (14.1 PPG) despite averaging fewer than 25 minutes per game. They also have a capable scoring vet in Tyreke Evans, as well as a strong playmaker in Cory Joseph.
The Celtics, meanwhile, have a triple-threat of scorers coming off the bench in Marcus Morris (13.9 PPG), Gordon Hayward (11.5 PPG) and Terry Rozier (9.0) PPG.
Hayward’s outbreak at the end of the year has him trending upward into the Playoffs, making him a major all-around threat in Boston’s second unit. The Pacers know all about that, having surrendered 21 points on a perfect 9-of-9 clip from the field during the last week of the regular season. Morris and Rozier, meanwhile, have a strong postseason resume having both played immense roles in Boston’s success from last postseason.
ATS- Against The Spread
Betting against the spread is a good betting strategy when the point spread is low, or the bettor believes the team they are betting on can beat their opponent by at least the point spread advertised. If the bettor believes the team will win big, betting against the spread will result in a huge payout. An example of betting against the spread would be if a wager that the Boston Celtics (-7) would beat the Indiana Pacers (+7). That means the Celtics would have to win by more than 7 points for the individual to win his bet.