NBA Picks: Celtics vs. Knicks

Jeff Grant

Monday, January 7, 2013 4:31 PM GMT

Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 4:31 PM GMT

The Boston Celtics are enjoying their first win streak since mid-December, as they prepare to take on the New York Knicks for the first time this year at Madison Square Garden. Let’s take a closer look at this Eastern Conference rivalry from a NBA betting perspective.

Getting it done on the defensive end
 
Boston has won back-to-back games against the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers, as it limited those foes to a combined 156 points, with both games going UNDER the total. The Celtics are hoping that the return of shooting guard Avery Bradley will continue their defensive ways in this matchup, but they now face a team that averages 103.6 points per game on their home court. The franchise is 5-10-2 against the NBA betting lines (ATS) on the road this season, with the UNDER going 10-7 in that situation.
 
Back on track
 
After dropping two straight games, New York has gotten back on track in capturing its last two contests, including a 114-106 victory over the Orlando Magic as six-point road favorites Saturday. The Knicks were led offensively by forward Carmelo Anthony, who scored 40 points in 45 minutes of action, while he’s averaged 34.4 points per game over his last 10 contests. It’s still important to note that the team is 1-9 ATS after scoring 105 points or more this season.
 
Home-court advantage
 
Sports bettors need to know that each team won twice on their home floor in this series a year ago when looking over the NBA odds page, but the road team has covered the spread in six of the last eight overall. Both games played at Madison Square Garden went above the total, with New York averaging 112 points per game in those affairs.
 
Can Pierce deliver?
 
Paul Pierce is averaging a team-high 19.6 points per game in his 14th year with the Celtics, which is important to consider when making your NBA picks against the spread Monday night. The former Kansas Jayhawks start averaged 35.7 points versus the Knicks last year—his highest mark against any opponent during the shortened 2011-12 NBA season.
 
[gameodds]5/133716/19-999996-1096-198-93/us[/gameodds]
Prediction
 
I’m going to recommend that readers play the total as one of their NBA picks, as the OVER is 2-0 after the Celtics have gone below the number in three or more consecutive games this season. The OVER is also 13-5-2 in the Knicks last 20 games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
 
NBA Pick: Over 194
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