Let’s take a closer look at the NBA odds for this Eastern Conference quarterfinals matchup at the TD Garden, with Friday night’s opening tip scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.
New York has opened up this best-of-seven series with 87-71 and 85-78 victories over Boston, with both games going UNDER the betting total. The Knicks have held the Celtics to 48 combined points in the second half in those affairs.
The Knicks were 9-9 straight up (SU) and 11-7 against the spread (ATS) as road underdogs during the regular season, with the OVER going 11-7 in that situation.
Emotions will be high
Boston will play its first home game since the tragic bombings that took place at the city’s marathon nearly two weeks ago, which should supply a veteran-laden roster an emotional boost after failing to capture a victory in the Big Apple.
The Celtics were 27-13 SU and 22-17-1 ATS at home this season, with the OVER going 21-18-1 in those 40 opportunities.
Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony is averaging 36.0 points in the first two games of this series, which isn’t very surprising due to leading the league in scoring during the regular season, but he’s also dished out just two assists in that span.
He’s been a fast starter the entire year—pacing all players around the league in averaging 9.0 first-quarter points, which was just ahead of the Miami Heat’s LeBron James in that particular category (7.8).
NBA handicappers are going to have a hard time backing the Celtics in this spot due to their lackluster second-half performances in the first two contests, but it’s important to note that they’ve gone 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS in the third game of a NBA playoff series the last two-plus seasons.
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Celtics in the first half as one of their NBA picks against the spread Friday night, as they’ve won six of nine home games as favorites of three points or less dating back to the beginning of the regular season.