The Celtics remain the lone team on top of the Eastern Conference standings behind another impressive win against the Heat in their last game out. Impressive because they were depleted with multiple starters taking the night off. The Knicks find themselves still firmly in the mix of the play-in tournament, desperately needing to string together a few wins to get out of that area of seeding. Can they surprise the nation and get a much-needed win against the elite Celtics?
New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics Betting Odds
Oddsmakers don’t think so as they opened the Knicks as a +6.5 underdog. Bettors are in agreement with their bleak chances, taking the Celtics up to -8.5 as of writing. This comes as no surprise as the Celtics are back to full strength and possess an elite defense that is number one in the league. Their scoring consistency has rounded back into form with Jayson Tatum putting together an MVP type season, making the Celtics a dangerous overall unit poised for a championship run.
As for the total, oddsmakers believe points will be scored at a moderate pace by setting the total at 226.5. Bettors are hard pressed to see how points will be scored at a consistent rate, backing the under down to 222. Like the Celtics, the Knicks success has relied on their defensive capabilities with elite interior production. This has been to overshadow their offensive woes, bringing no sort of perimeter presence and shaky paint production at best.
New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics Prediction
The Pick: Wait on the over
Even with that said, the heavy steam towards the under is bringing some intrigue. Should it continue to fall, I will take a position on the over. Even with the Knicks offensive woes, they can still find interior scoring at a pace that could match a low total. The Celtics should have little to no issue establishing their offense either, throwing out multiple weapons in all positions to stretch out the defense and create open holes.
The Knicks would play the key part in a potential over, being a much worse offense in terms of consistency. They lack any reliable three point presence, forcing any and all production to come from the interior. This poses a potential scare as the Celtics are one of the best defensive unit in basketball that excels in limiting high quality looks at the rim. Julius Randle will be the focal point when the ball is in his hands on the block. Should he command the attention of help defense, his facilitation will be vital to get the Knicks open looks elsewhere.
As for the Celtics offense, it will be business as usual as they are more than capable of burning you from the inside and out. The Duo of Tatum and Brown are two-way scorers who can keep a defense reeling with their play making abilities. Al Horford is a stretch big, punishing opposing big men who don’t respect his outside jump shot. Should the Celtics stretch out the Knicks defense early, they will have no issue getting to the rim for high quality scoring opportunities.
- Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings in Boston
- Over is 4-1 in the last five meetings overall
- Knicks are 26-9 ATS in their last 35 road games
Can the Celtics offense continue to be efficient without Marcus Smart?
Derrick White vs Knicks perimeter defense
Marcus Smart has molded into a key player for the Celtics with his elite on-ball defense and improved offensive capabilities. He sadly remains out for the foreseeable future while he deals with a nagging injury.
Trying to replace his production has been the emergence of Derrick White, a perimeter threat who has improved his passing to keep the Celtics offense humming.
While it has been vital to keep five productive players on the floor, the ability of Tatum and Brown being able to take over the offense has helped White as he has been used to find openings on the perimeter and punish opposing defenses.
Pass on this for now and wait to see if the under keeps taking steam before buying on the over.
New York Knicks Starting Lineup
Boston Celtics Starting Lineups
New York Knicks Injuries: Evan Fournier (O), Mitchell Robinson (O)
Boston Celtics Injuries: Marcus Smart (O)