The Boston Celtics fell to 25-26 on the season on Tuesday night, which is identical to the New York Knicks record through 51 games. Who would have guessed that this scrappy Knicks would be battling for playoff seeding with the likes of a Boston team that was in the Eastern Conference Finals just last season? Not many outside of the five boroughs, I would venture to guess.
Free Picks: Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks
Knicks Look To Inch Ahead Of Celtics With Win At TD Garden (Season Betting Record: 75-84)
New York’s Knickerbockers have been as unforgiving on defense as the starchiest pair of drawers, giving up the least points per game (104.1), the lowest opponent shooting percentage (44.1), and the lowest opponent three-point shooting percentage (33.5) in the NBA this season. A sturdy defensive line packed with big, burly guys like the Knicks have at their disposal is exactly what the Celtics don’t need to be dealing with just now.
Tristan Thompson is just returning from the health and safety protocols and is still working on his conditioning, Kemba Walker is out since it’s the second game of a back-to-back, and Jaylen Brown is dealing with a laundry list of ailments right now as well. Oh, and their shiny new trade deadline addition, Evan Fournier, will be out at least another week because of the protocols, so it’s not like they can give Brown much of an extra breather.
The Knicks have been one of the best road teams against the spread this season, sitting seventh in the NBA with a 16-11 ATS mark as the away team, including an attention-grabbing 6-1 ATS run in their last seven road contests. New York has also been stellar against the Eastern Conference this season, going 21-12-1 ATS against those foes.
New York is 10-3-1 ATS when they have the rest advantage this year, which is exactly the situation they find themselves in against the Celtics, who are on the second leg of a back-to-back. It just so happens that Boston is 1-6 ATS in their last seven games on no rest, and are also 4-8 ATS when they have a rest disadvantage, the fourth-lowest mark in the association.
Boston’s recent struggles defending the three-point line (allowed a 39.3 percentage over the past month) could be a big issue on Wednesday night too considering the Knicks have been shooting the lights out lately, draining 38.9 percent of their triples over the past month, good for fifth in the NBA over that span.
Boston is not in a good spot right now with all of their injury issues, so we’re going to go with New York’s underdog spread at a +4.5 NBA point spread on solid -111 NBA odds as one of our best bets for today.
Another NBA pick that seems like a can’t miss for this matchup is the under on the game’s 217.5 total points prop at decent -132 NBA odds. Four of the past five meetings between these titans of the Northeast have gone under the total, and ditto for seven of the past 10 clashes in Boston.
The Celtics’ last five straight games have gone under and so have their past seven games in a row at TD Garden. A dozen of the Celtics’ 20 games as the home favorite this season have gone under, as have 12 of New York’s 18 games as the road dog.
The third and final of our top picks for this tilt is on New York’s best player and first-time All-Star, Julius Randle. As we mentioned, Thompson is not yet back to full strength for Boston, Daniel Theis is long gone, Robert Williams continues to be inconsistent, and the rest of their big man options leave much to be desired. Randle should not encounter any problems having his way with that front line to hit the over on his 21.5 points prop at -125 NBA odds.
- Boston is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games playing on 0 days’ rest
- New York is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 against the Eastern Conference
- The under is 21-11 when New York is the underdog this season
- Julius Randle has scored 22+ points in 5 of his past 8 games
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The Los Angeles Clippers will renew hostilities with the Dallas Mavericks, who they dispatched in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
The Denver Nuggets and the league’s presumptive NBA MVP will look to get off to a strong start against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1.
The Golden State Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies in the final play-in game, which will determine the Western Conference’s eighth seed.
The Washington Wizards will host the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night with the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference on the line.
Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve.