Pacers Roaring, But Rested Celtics Should Have the Edge

Jason Lake

Friday, November 2, 2018 8:22 PM UTC

Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 8:22 PM UTC

After taking Friday off to recover, the Boston Celtics will have a leg up on the NBA odds when they visit the Indiana Pacers this Saturday night at the Fieldhouse.

Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through Nov. 1: 3-2 ATS, 1-1 Totals

Boston vs. Indiana

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Friday, 7:00 p.m. ET, Indianapolis (NBA-TV)Free NBA Pick: Celtics ATSBest Line Offered: at Heritage

Hoopin’ ain’t easy, folks. The NBA takes its toll on the human body – just look at the Boston Celtics (6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS), who are still trying to get Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward up to full speed after last year’s injuries. Fortunately for the Celtics, they’ll have a full day to rest and recover before visiting the Indiana Pacers (5-3 SU and ATS) on Saturday. The Pacers will be playing their third game in four days; they’re in Chicago Friday night to take on the Bulls.

That’s enough of an edge right there for an early recommendation on Boston as our preferred NBA pick. The Pacers are playing at a higher level than the C’s thus far, checking in at plus-6.60 on the Simple Rating System at Basketball Reference; Boston are a step behind at plus-6.26 SRS. But Indiana’s heavy workload should provide us the profit margin we need once the NBA odds for this matchup are posted.

You Take Your Right Foot Out

As usual, there are personnel questions heading into Saturday’s contest. The Pacers are healthy, but swingman Jaylen Brown (minus-2.0 BPM) is day-to-day for Boston with a sore right foot. He missed Thursday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks, which the C’s held on to win 117-113 as 2.5-point home faves.

Would Brown’s absence be a good thing for the Celtics – at least for one night? He’s been a net negative on the court thus far, his role diminished and unclear after the return of both Irving (plus-3.9 BPM) and Hayward (plus-1.4 BPM). However, Brown’s level of play was much better in Boston’s back-to-back games against the Detroit Pistons. The C’s won both games, but split the cash SU and ATS. We won’t worry too much about it either way.

Sabonin’ in the Boneyard

As for the Pacers, it remains to be seen what happens to them on Friday as we go to press, but they look like the real deal – just as they did in last year’s playoffs, where they nearly upset LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the opening round. In fact, they look even better this year, as Domantas Sabonis (plus-8.5 BPM) appears to be making The Leap in his third season as a pro.

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Domantas Sabonis scores 10 straight points for the @Pacers!

He has 13 PTS on 6-6 FGM on @ESPNNBA pic.twitter.com/PxwCh8t9Ke

— NBA (@NBA) November 1, 2018
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In a generic situation, we’d probably go with Indiana for our picks, given their small-market status. But again, they’ll be put through the wringer on Friday, even if it’s against an inferior Bulls team, and they’ll have to travel after the game, even if it’s a short hop from Chicago to Indianapolis. Wait for Saturday’s shoot-around to see what Brown’s status is, compare the projections to the NBA lines when they come out, and may the sphere be with you.

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