Early Playoff Jitters Will Lead To First Half Under

Sunday, April 14, 2019 2:35 PM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 14, 2019 2:35 PM UTC

The Indiana Pacers are looking to shock the basketball world by beating the Celtics without their best player. Is it possible that the Pacers surprise some people after a slew of upsets on day one of the playoffs?

Jordan’s NBA Picks: 55-38 (Playoffs 1-0)

Indiana (48-34 SU & 40-41 ATS) at Boston (49-33 SU & 38-42 ATS)

Sunday, 1:00 PM EST

Free NBA Pick: UNDER 1H

Recommended Sportsbook: 5Dimes

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The Pacers aren’t getting much love in terms of their chances to advance in this series, but that doesn’t mean they won’t surprise some people ATS. However, a better play in this early afternoon playoff game might be the first half under.

Afternoon Playoff Under

If you watched the Sixers play their early afternoon game against the Nets on Saturday, it was clear to anyone watching that the Sixers were not in sync. They were eventually getting booed by their home fans.

I doubt the Celtics get booed by the Boston crowd on Sunday, but these early afternoon games are almost always a little shaky early on. Add in the magnitude of the playoffs and this being the first game and I think everyone is going to be way to amped up.

That could lead to some turnovers, a ton of long missed shots and potentially some foul trouble depending on how close the refs officiate this game.

If that’s the case and both of these teams come out fired up on defense, the first two quarters could be very low scoring. While that was not the case in most of these two team’s regular season meetings, if you look at their first half metrics from the regular season, the under might be a great play.

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The Sharp Pick

The Pacers have been much better on defense at home this season, but since Oladipo went down, their first half road defense hasn’t suffered too much. They are allowing 105.9 points per 100 possessions in the first halves on their road games since late January.

With defense being their only chance of beating the Celtics, they will center their focus on stopping Kyrie Irving and letting the other Celtics kill them. Indiana doesn’t have the luxury of leaning on a talented offensive player either, so if the C’s defense is locked in, the Pacers could struggle to score.

We saw it in their final matchup of the season from Indianapolis. The Pacers only scored 47 points in that first half and I could see them being even lower than that in Game 1.

The Celtics have allowed only 104.2 points per 100 possessions in the first halves of their home games this season. Bank on that for this matinee playoff game.

First Half Score Prediction: Pacers 49 – Celtics 53

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