Visions of sprained ankles are dancing in the heads of NBA players this holiday season. What effect will the latest injuries have on the basketball betting lines for Sunday’s Celtics-Pacers matchup?
<p><i>Jason’s record on his final NBA picks for 2013, up to December 20 inclusive:</i></p> <p><i>29-28 ATS</i></p> <p><i>6-5 Totals</i></p> <p>How many times has this happened to you: You go to the store and buy a dozen eggs, but when you get home, you find that two of them are cracked? That’s what betting on <a target="_blank" title="Live NBA odds for every game" href="/betting-odds/nba-basketball/">the NBA odds</a> has turned into. You think that Player X is going to play, and he’s a last-minute scratch. You think that Player Y is out, and he makes a surprise comeback.</p> <p>There are ways around this. You can open up the carton and check out the eggs before you buy them. And you can wait until close to tip-off to get the most accurate information possible about which players are going to play. The drawback to waiting is that sometimes the lines set early on by <a target="_blank" title="Read our sportsbook reviews before placing your bets" href="http://www.sportsbookreview.com/">sportsbooks</a> hold the most value. But quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of buying broken eggs – or even worse, recommending that you buy them.</p> <p><b>Ankles Aweigh</b></p> <p><img style="font-size:1em" src="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks-pictures/sullinger.jpg" class="imgSelectedPicture article-image" alt="Image preview" id="ctl00_head_ArticleAdministrator_picturePreview_imgSelectedPicture" />In the NBA, some eggs are more valuable than others. The Boston Celtics (12-16 SU, 15-12-1 ATS) may or may not have PF/C Jared Sullinger in the lineup when they visit <a target="_blank" title="Check out our coverage of their Friday night game vs. the Rockets" href="/nba-basketball/free-picks/nba-picks-rockets-vs-pacers-a-35971/">the Indiana Pacers</a> (21-5 SU, 18-8 ATS) on Sunday afternoon. Sullinger tweaked his ankle during the second quarter of Saturday’s 106-99 loss to the Washington Wizards (+1.5 away); however, he was able to stay in the game, and after getting some post-game treatment, Sullinger insisted there was no chance he’d sit out against Indiana. “No, not at all,” Sullinger told reporters after the Wizards loss. “I’ll play tomorrow.”</p> <p>I don’t trust him any further than I can throw him. Which, at around 260 pounds (him, not me), I estimate would be about four feet. It isn’t that I think Sullinger is lying; if he says he’ll play, he probably will. But we’ve been through this before. There is a non-zero chance that Sullinger will be a late scratch, and a bigger chance that his minutes and/or his productivity will be limited.</p> <p><b>Heavy Lumbar</b></p> <p>This isn’t just one typical egg out of a dozen we’re talking about, either. <a target="_blank" title="Read our preview and pick from Monday night's game" href="/admin/content/SBRForumArticle.aspx?articleId=35856">Sullinger (19.0 PER) has been Boston’s best player</a> with Rajon Rondo still yet to make his debut. The former Ohio State Buckeye hasn’t been talked up a lot; he slid to No. 21 in the 2012 NBA Draft because of concerns about his back, and Sullinger (13.5 PER last year) missed the last two-plus months of his rookie campaign after undergoing lumbar disc surgery.</p> <p>Looks like they did a good job. Sullinger is the lynchpin of this Celtics roster, posting 18.9 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per 36 minutes. He’s also a lot less foul-prone than last year, and he’s even added the 3-pointer to his arsenal (31.3 percent). Over at 82games, Sullinger leads all of Boston’s regular rotation players in Simple Rating at plus-5.7. You definitely want to know that egg isn’t cracked before you buy the whole Celtics carton.</p> <p><b>Rondo Records</b></p> <p>For that matter, we don’t know for certain that Rondo (18.1 PER) won’t make his debut Sunday. He reportedly looked very good during a scrimmage on Friday, and although he’s not expected back until January, who can tell for sure anymore about these things. Everybody is day-to-day.</p> <p>I’d happily recommend adding the Pacers to <a target="_blank" title="Free NBA picks available daily" href="/nba-basketball/">your NBA picks</a> otherwise. They destroyed the NBA lines in Friday’s 114-81 win over the Houston Rockets (+6 away), which was also Danny Granger’s first game back from injury. Granger was held to five points in 22 minutes and committed five turnovers, but a little rust can be expected after such a long layoff. Just ask Kobe Bryant. Uh-oh…</p> <p> <b>NBA Pick:</b> Take the Pacers –12 (–105) at Pinnacle</p> <p>[gameodds]5/250922/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]</p>