Free NBA Picks: Bust Your Bookie With Celtics vs. Pacers 1st Half Bet

Jordan Sharp

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 4:34 PM GMT

Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2016 4:34 PM GMT

Now that the B1G Tournament is over in Indianapolis, the Pacers are set to return home tonight to welcome in the Boston Celtics. The NBA Odds have the Celtics as +2 underdogs on the road.

Jae Crowder Injury
The Celtics got dealt a pretty big blow in their most recent game, as Jae Crowder will miss the next few weeks with an ankle injury. While Crowder is probably more known for his defense, his offense is going to be sorely missed tonight for the Celtics as they head on the road. Boston has been pretty consistent this season when playing in any venue, but playing without Crowder is going to be a challenge.

For starters, his shooting really helped the Celtics space the floor, and while Evan Turner can fill in nicely on the defensive end, his shooting is definitely a downgrade. This is going to allow the Pacers to pack the paint and try and stop Isaiah Thomas, because Crowder was pretty much the Celtics second option on offense next to Avery Bradley, and now without him, it leaves a big hole on the wing for Boston offensively.

This season, the Celtics’ Offensive Rating goes down from 108.8 with Crowder on the floor, to 102.2 with him off it and this is definitely going to affect our NBA picks for today. That’s one of the bigger jumps of any Celtic this season. That might be a tough adjustment for the C’s early on in this game, and while it may be a bit risky considering how fast both these teams play, the first half under looks like a very inviting play here on Tuesday night.

 

The Sharp Pick
Another factor in this one is how well these two teams have been playing on defense this season. Both of them rank inside the top five teams in Defensive Efficiency this season, and considering this is their fourth meeting of the year, defense might once again rule here tonight. While this isn’t true for some teams, I have the feeling that since these teams have met so many times this season, they are probably getting used to and recognizing each other’s offensive sets. This could create a nice environment for the first half to go under.

Not only are the Celtics trying to play without Crowder, but also in previous games both this season and last season, these two teams have gotten into some low scoring first halves. Last season they met three times and in all three of those games one team failed to get to 40 points.

This season the scores in the first halves have been a little higher, but one common theme has been poor shooting and turnovers. These two teams are averaging close to 20 turnovers per game against one another this season, and that could lead to some lower scoring first halves as well. Plus, other than one game back in November where the Pacers shot over 48 percent from the floor, the other times this season no team has been above 45 percent from the floor. Both teams average about 45 percent shooting on the road and at home in their respective positions tonight, and if that holds the under looks like a great wager on the NBA odds boards with 101 ½ in the first half.

On top of all this is the fact that Boston is rested coming into this one and the Pacers are not. Indiana is playing their third game in four nights, while Boston has had three full days off to rest before this one. The rest is definitely going to help Boston’s defense, and in their last three times playing on their third game in four nights, the Pacers and their opponent’s first half scored were 77, 77 and 85 points.

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NBA Pick: UNDER 101.5 in the 1st half. 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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