Celtics Deep & Talented Bench Makes Them Our NBA Pick Over Knicks

Swinging Johnson

Sunday, December 27, 2015 5:49 PM GMT

The Celtics and the Knicks meet on Sunday night. Let's see what the NBA odds makers are offering on this game with both teams on the second leg of back-to-back games.

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Free NBA Pick: Boston -7½
Best Line Offered: at GTBets

 

New York Knicks (14-17 SU, 18-13 ATS)
Things started so well for the Knickerbockers last night, holding a 10-point lead after the first quarter against an Eastern Conference power. But then the roof began to cave in as the Atlanta Hawks awoke and outscored New York in the remaining three quarters, resulting in a 117-98 blowout over the visitors from the East Coast. The Hawks rewarded all those who backed them in their NBA picks, easily covering the eight-point impost that the NBA odds makers hung on the home chalk.

Not only did the Knicks lose the game but they suffered casualties as well. Seven-foot center Robin Lopez left during the third quarter with blood streaming down his cheek and received six stitches above his right eye. He did not return and left with nine points and four boards. Rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis injured his right finger but the X-rays proved negative which means Porzingis will be suiting up for tonight's contest barring any unforeseen circumstances.

The Knicks come into this contest averaging only 97.9 points per game (23rd) and allowing opponents just 99.5 PPG which ranks them a respectable 11th in that category. In last night's game the team's success when they distribute the ball was evident as New York had 19 assists leading to 63 points in the first half and led by three at the break. However, the Hawks got well in part because the Knicks stopped passing which was evidenced by only six assists in the second half in which New York was outscored 57-35.

 

Boston Celtics (17-13 SU, 17-12-1 ATS)
The Celtics dribbled into Motown as 1½ point traveling favorites and came away with a 98-93 victory last night in a game in which Boston outscored the Pistons in all quarters except the last. Nevertheless, Detroit's late rally fell short as the Celtics had all five starters in double figures and former Piston Jonas Jerebko buried the final nail in the coffin with a game clinching three pointer to cement the five-point victory. Point guard Avery Bradley led the Green with 18 points while Isaiah Thomas had nine assists and 17 points of his own.

After dropping three in a row the Celtics have now won and covered the number in three straight and are looking for their fourth win tonight against their Atlantic division rivals the New York Knicks. Boston has now closed to within a game and a half of the Raptors for the divisional lead and are currently in the midst of a logjam for Eastern Conference playoff seeding tied with Chicago and Orlando for the sixth through eighth spots, yet remain only three games back from top seed Cleveland.

Balance is the key to Boston's success this season as they rank 6th in points scored (103.2 PPG), 8th in points allowed (98.9 PPG), 5th in assists (24.3) and 9th in rebounds (44.3). In more good news for the Celts, second-year point guard Marcus Smart could return tonight after an 18-game absence with a left leg injury.

 

Betting Analysis
This will be the first meeting of these teams this season and the Celtics have split the last four games played in Boston both straight up and against the number. The last time they met in Boston, February 25th of 2015, the Green drew away with a 115-94 victory as 10½ point home favorites. I see this being more of the same with Boston simply possessing a deeper and more talented bench as well as a far more balanced starting five. Certainly they don't boast a bona fide superstar like Carmelo Anthony, but as the Knicks have found out, it takes more than one big name to make a playoff contender.

The Celtics should be in a good spot here. The Knicks come in banged up after a physical game last night while the Celtics are playing superbly balanced team basketball with everyone getting their fair share of minutes, points and assists which results in the elusive "team chemistry" we often discuss. Here are a few betting trends to consider for tonight's game:

Celtics are 5-1 ATS in their last six games as a favorite.

Celtics are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games following an ATS win.

Knicks are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games vs. a team with a winning home record.