NBA Betting Preview (May 21): Pacers vs. Celtics Game 1 Predictions

Boston Celtics SG Jaylen Brown drives to the basket in the first quarter. The Celtics beat the Indiana Pacers, 129-124. (NBA Betting)

The Indiana Pacers’ journey through the playoffs continues to be compelling as they advance to the Eastern Conference finals after a hard-fought seven-game series against the New York Knicks. Despite the Knicks’ challenges with injuries, the Pacers capitalized on their opportunity and closed out the series decisively. Tyrese Haliburton’s impressive start, scoring 14 points in the first quarter of the decisive game, played a significant role in setting the tone for the victory.

Conversely, the Boston Celtics also advanced, benefiting from additional rest after concluding their series against the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games. The Cavaliers’ lineup was notably weakened without key players like Jarrett Allen and Donovan Mitchell, which the Celtics exploited to secure their spot in the conference finals.

The matchup between the Pacers and the Celtics is poised to be intensely competitive. During the regular season and the in-season tournament, both teams have had their share of victories against each other. The Celtics won three out of four regular-season games, demonstrating strong performances against the Pacers. However, the Pacers’ victory over the Celtics in the in-season tournament quarter-finals, where they won 122-112, indicates they can challenge and defeat the Celtics when something is on the line.

Let’s look at the betting odds on both teams for this upcoming matchup.

Bet on Pacers vs. Celtics

IND +10.0
BOS -10.0

Pacers vs. Celtics Betting Odds

Pacers Moneyline Odds+375 @ bet365
Celtics Moneyline Odds-425 @ DraftKings
Over/UnderOver 221.5 points (-108) @ FanDuel
Under 222.5 points (-110) @ PowerPlay
SpreadPacers +10.0 (+100) @ Pinnacle
Celtics -9.5 (-115) @ BetMGM
Series OddsPacers +600, Celtics -900 @ bet365
Time/DateMay 21, 8:00 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: TSN1/4
Stream: NBA League Pass
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Betting the Indiana Pacers (8-5 SU, 7-6 ATS, 8-5 o/u)

The Indiana Pacers’ decisive victory over the New York Knicks, winning by a substantial margin of 130-109, showcased their cohesive team dynamics and strong individual performances. Tyrese Haliburton’s impactful start in the first quarter, where he scored significantly, set a solid foundation for the game and continued to contribute effectively, finishing with 26 points and 6 assists in just 32 minutes.

The balanced scoring effort from the Pacers was a key aspect of their success. Pascal Siakam and Andrew Nembhard added 20 points each and provided the Pacers with multiple scoring options, which likely stretched the Knicks’ defence. Aaron Nesmith’s 19 points and Myles Turner’s 17 points further exemplify the depth of scoring talent within the Pacers. As the Pacers advance in the playoffs, this balanced offensive threat combined with strategic execution will be crucial in their upcoming matchups, especially against teams like the Boston Celtics, who they will face in the Eastern Conference finals.

Betting the Boston Celtics (8-2 SU, 6-4 ATS, 5-5 o/u)

The Boston Celtics showcased their depth and resilience in Game 6 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, winning 113-98 to close out the series. Jayson Tatum’s near triple-double performance of 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists, coupled with his 4 steals, underscored his ability to take over games. Al Horford’s significant contribution with a double-double of 22 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists, along with defensive stats of 1 steal and 3 blocks, highlighted his veteran presence and all-around impact.

The Celtics’ ability to secure the series win despite the absence of Kristaps Porzingis speaks to their team strength and strategic execution. Their balanced attack and strong defensive efforts were key factors in overcoming the Cavaliers, who also dealt with their injury challenges. With the early series win, the Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference finals and benefitted from additional rest days. This rest period will be crucial for them to regroup, address any lingering injuries, and prepare strategically for the Indiana Pacers, who have proven to be formidable opponents as they have been knocked out of the in-season tournament quarter-finals by them. The upcoming series against the Pacers, who have shown they can put up strong team performances, will test the Celtics’ adaptability and depth.

Jayson Tatum under 2.5 three-pointers


Pacers vs. Celtics Injury Concerns

  • Bennedict Mathurin (shoulder) has been ruled out for the season.
  • Kristaps Porzingis (calf) is expected to miss the start of the third-round series in the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • For personal reasons, Xavier Tillman is questionable for Tuesday’s Game 1 against the Pacers.
  • In the five times the two teams faced each other this season, the game went over on total points in four of them.
  • The Celtics have gone under in five straight games against the Cavaliers in the second round.
  • The Pacers hit the under in the last four out of five games against the Knicks in the second round.
  • Tyrese Haliburton has recorded under 8.5 assists in his last 4 out of 5 games. His line is at -140 to record under 8.5 assists against the Celtics.
  • Jayson Tatum has recorded under 2.5 threes in his last 9 out of 10 playoff games. His line is at -110 to record under 2.5 threes against the Pacers.
  • Luke Kornet has recorded under 0.5 assists in his last four out of five playoff games. His line is at -115 to record under 0.5 assists against the Pacers.

Pacers vs. Celtics Predictions

  • Jaylen Brown over 5.5 First Quarter Points: -125. Jaylen Brown’s consistent scoring in the first quarter throughout the season against the Indiana Pacers, coupled with his recent playoff performances, underscores his ability to start games strong. His pattern of scoring more than 5.5 points in the first quarter in each game against the Pacers during the regular season demonstrates his effectiveness in establishing an early offensive presence. Additionally, his success in surpassing this scoring mark in five of the last seven playoff games further highlights his reliability as an early-game scorer.
  • Over 221.5 Total Points: -110. Given that the total points line of over 221.5 has been surpassed in four of the last five regular-season games between these teams, there’s a strong indication that both sides have the offensive capabilities to make it a high-scoring affair. Both teams boast talented offences that consistently demonstrate their ability to engage in such matchups. Consequently, there is a reasonable expectation that this trend of games exceeding the projected points total will continue, given their recent performance history and offensive prowess.