NBA Picks: Celtics vs. Knicks Game 1 Picks

Jeff Grant

Saturday, April 20, 2013 1:57 AM GMT

Saturday, Apr. 20, 2013 1:57 AM GMT

The New York Knicks captured their first season series victory against the Boston Celtics since the 2003-04 campaign, as the two teams prepare to face off in a best-of-seven first round series in the 2013 NBA playoffs.

Let’s take a closer look at the NBA odds for this Eastern Conference matchup on Saturday, with the opening tip scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET at Madison Square Garden on ABC.

For a full series breakdown, check out our Knicks vs. Celtics Series Price Odds & Picks article.

Heavy hearts

Boston will be playing for its fans back home in Game 1 of this series, as it deals with the pain and tragedy of the events surrounding Patriots Day this week, which could supply the team an emotional edge in the Big Apple.  

The Celtics finished with a 41-40 overall record, as they weren’t able to play their final home game of the regular season Tuesday.  

Over the last two-plus seasons, the squad is 21-15 straight up (SU) and 17-18-1 against the spread (ATS) in the month of April, with the UNDER going 20-15-1 in that situation.

Strong finish

New York’s 54-28 record was its best finish to a regular season since the 1996-97 campaign, while its 30 home wins were the most since the 2000-01 season.  The Knicks  also secured their sixth Atlantic Division title in franchise history.

NBA handicappers will find that the squad was 29-8 SU and 22-15 ATS as home favorites this year, with the OVER going 20-17 in those 37 opportunities.

Strong defense

Without the services of starting point guard Rajon Rondo, who was lost for the season on Feb. 13, the Celtics have had to rely on their defense to secure the No. 7 seed in the East.

Since the calendar turned to 2013, Boston has ranked eighth in the NBA in allowing 95.9 points, which is much better than sitting in the 17th spot in that particular category from October to December of last year.

It’s still important to note that the OVER was 14-7 in the team’s 21 games as road underdogs of 6.5 to 9 points this season.

Scoring champion

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony finished as the NBA’s scoring champion by averaging 28.7 points per game, as he was truly remarkable over his last eight games—scoring 36.9 points on 53.8 percent shooting in that span.  

New York has the potential to start fast in this affair, considering Anthony led the league in averaging 9.0 points in the first quarter during the regular season—finishing just ahead of Miami Heat star LeBron James (7.8).

[gameodds]5/226772/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Celtics as one of their NBA picks Saturday, as coach Doc Rivers holds a major experience edge on the sidelines over Mike Woodson, which will be clearly evident in the series opener.

Boston will improve to 9-2 SU and 8-3 ATS when playing with triple revenge against a foe in its last 11 tries.

NBA Pick:  Boston Celtics +7.5 at BetOnline

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