Pacers vs. Celtics: NBA Picks

Joe Freda

Friday, January 4, 2013 3:24 PM GMT

The Boston Celtics have dropped four straight games, with a 0-4 ATS mark at basketball betting windows. Friday’s NBA slate has Doc Rivers’ club hosting the Indiana Pacers, who have a 3-2 spread record in their last five road spots. Will it be best to keep fading the Celtics or would a play on the ‘total’ have more value?

Celtics, Pierce continue skid at home

Boston’s latest defeat came in Wednesday’s 93-83 setback as a 2 ½-point home dog against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Celtics trailed by as many as 18 points, while sizably outrebounded, 39-27. 

Celtics mates Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett united for 29 points, while grabbing seven boards each. Boston’s Rajon Rondo notched 11 points and a team-high 10 assists, logging his first double-double in eight games.

The duel’s combined 176 points ducked below the NBA betting lines ‘total’ of 180, moving the UNDER to 4-1 in the Celtics’ last five games. Celtics forward Jeff Green recorded 10 points off the bench, hitting 4-of-5 field buckets. 

Pacers, George hold off Wizards at home

Indiana notched its sixth win in seven games with Wednesday’s 89-81 victory over the Washington Wizards, while falling short of cashing as 11-point home ‘chalk.’  The Pacers led by as many as 17 points, sinking 26-of-31 free throws.

Pacers forward Paul George put up team-highs of 29 points and 14 boards, leading his club to outrebound Washington, 48-41. Indiana’s D.J. Augustin logged six of his side’s 17 assists, while finishing with 18 points. 

The contest’s combined 170 points plunged below the ‘total’ of 181 ½, making the UNDER 4-1 in Indiana’s last five battles. Pacers center Ian Mahinmi came away with a season-high 11 rebounds off the bench, while just missing a double-double with nine points.

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Back the UNDER in Boston

The NBA odds makers at BetOnline.com opened Boston as a three-point home favorite, while first setting the ‘total’ at 181 ½. Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (13 PPG, 11.6 APG) is listed as “probable” due to a hip injury, but expects to be in the lineup.

I am adding a ticket on the UNDER here as part of my NBA picks for Friday’s betting action, looking for a tight affair at TD Garden. The UNDER has cashed at 5-2-1 in the last eight meetings between these rivals, including a 2-1-1 mark in last season’s four affairs. 

Indiana has been held to 91 PPG in its last five matchups, while mustering a sparse 88.7 PPG away from home this season. The Pacers have ranked 27th in the league for field shooting (42.6 percent), while bringing one of the NBA’s top defenses to “Beantown,” allowing just 90 PPG.

Boston has held visiting foes to 87 PPG in its last five home dates that did not go to overtime. Rondo ranks second in the Eastern Conference for steals (1.9 SPG), while the Celtics have broken the century mark in scoring just one time in their last 10 games.

The UNDER has cashed at 11-4-1 in Indiana’s last 16 games against Eastern Conference foes, while going 11-5-1 in the Celtics’ last 17 matchups against clubs with winning records. Look for the UNDER trends to hold serve again here, with both squads keeping the octane low.

NBA Pick: UNDER 181 ½ (BetOnline.com)