Playoff Round 1 - Celtics vs. Pacers Prediction and Betting Odds
April 11, 2019
Boston Celtics (49-33)
After nearly making it to the NBA Finals last season with two superstars on injured reserve, many considered it a given that the Celtics would be right back into the mix again this season. While they are, there is not nearly as much optimism surrounding them this time.
Many believed the Celtics had an embarrassment of riches with all the talent on the roster. But at times during the season, head coach Brad Stevens seemed to struggle to find the right lineups. Bad ones led to a lack of chemistry on the court and poor play.
As a result, the hype is not nearly as positive as it was last year. However, while the team has had some issues, it is worth pointing out that they are still one of the better defensive teams in the NBA this season (sixth). On the offensive side of the court, they are scoring more than last year (112.4 points/game relative to 104.0).
Indiana Pacers (48-34)
Indiana was cruising earlier in the season and for a time even looked like a squad ready to challenge for the top spot in the Eastern Conference—but then Victor Oladipo went down. They were able to keep up appearances for a while and held on to the No. 3 seed in the conference.
But they eventually started to have some issues on offense, and the team began to lose some games. Philadelphia eventually overtook them for the No. 3 seed. Towards the end of the season, they had a chance to secure the No. 4 seed when they played Boston in back-to-back games, but they lost both.
Indiana is a good team. When they click, they are able to play some really good basketball. They just seem to have a hard time getting the team to ‘click’ these days. While they won their regular season finale, they lost nine of their last 13 games.
Prediction: Losing Marcus Smart for 4-6 weeks is going to hurt the Boston Celtics but not so much to give Indiana an edge. Expect the Pacers to play better than they have been but not well enough to win the series.
Boston wins the series, 4-3.