Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through Apr. 15: 25-29-1 ATS, 0-4 ML (minus-9.35 units), 34-21-1 Totals
Indiana (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) at Boston (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. ET, TNT
Free NBA Pick: Over
Recommended Sportsbook: Pinnacle
Everything is going according to plan. Game 1 of the NBA playoffs saw a whole lot of missed shots, and predictably enough, the market has over-reacted for Game 2 in many of these first-round series – including Wednesday’s matchup between the Indiana Pacers and the Boston Celtics. They had a total of 210.5 points on the board for Sunday’s opener, which they didn’t come close to reaching in an 84-74 win for Boston (–7.5 at home). At press time, the total for Game 2 is 202.5 points, down from 204 at the open.
Of course we’re going to recommend the ‘over’ for your NBA picks. As ugly as Game 1 was, we’re more than happy to zig-zag and take our chances that the Pacers and Celtics will perform closer to their original expectations on Wednesday. Not much point betting the spread, either, not with Boston still priced at –7.5, and not with the projections at FiveThirtyEight putting the C’s at –7. Let’s do this.
The situation on the ground is pretty much the same for Game 2. Marcus Smart (plus-0.6 OBPM, plus-1.3 DBPM) remains out of commission for Boston with a torn oblique; in theory, that should help the ‘over’ beat the NBA odds, although Jaylen Brown (minus-1.5 OBPM, minus-0.6 DBPM) hasn’t kept up his end of the bargain starting for Smart – he only scored two points in the opener on 1-of-5 shooting.
Maybe some rest will help. Brown has been slowed down by lower back spasms, but he told reporters before Game 1 that he was “feeling better every day.’ Good, because Terry Rozier (minus-1.0 OBPM, plus-0.2 DBPM) isn’t going to help our cause much. He came off the bench Sunday and shot 1-for-6, finishing with five points. As a whole, the Celtics connected on 36.4 percent of their field-goal attempts in the opener; credit the Pacers and their No. 3-ranked defense (104.2 points allowed per 100 possessions), but some of that is just dumb luck.
At the other end of the court, credit the No. 6-ranked Celtics defense (104.9 points allowed/100) for holding Indiana to 33.3-percent shooting, but again, we’re banking on some regression to the mean for Wednesday’s rematch. Doug McDermott (0.0 OBPM, minus-2.1 DBPM) isn’t likely to go 0-for-5 from downtown again. Same goes for Bojan Bogdanovic (plus-1.4 OBPM, minus-1.4 DBPM) and Darren Collison (plus-1.2 OBPM, 0.0 DBPM) combined. Neither of these two teams runs the floor like gazelles, mind you, but a small wager on the ‘over’ seems entirely reasonable at this low, low total.