Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Celtics vs. Pacers odds, picks, Game 3 best bets: Why Indiana’s home-court advantage won’t matter vs. Boston

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Now that the 2024 NBA postseason has begun, the basketball betting market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports will be providing daily picks for the duration of the postseason. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick for every game between now and the NBA Finals.

Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics

The Pacers are 6-0 in home games this postseason, but that record is a bit misleading. Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t play in any of the Bucks games. Neither did OG Anunoby in the Knicks games. Damian Lillard missed one and played injured in the other two. Josh Hart’s abdominal strain came in Game 6 of the Knicks series. They haven’t beaten a single healthy opponent at home this postseason. The Celtics, meanwhile, had the NBA’s best road net rating (+7.7) and have nearly doubled that this postseason (+15.3). Their road games haven’t been especially difficult either, but with Tyrese Haliburton dealing with a hamstring injury, this one may not be either. The Pick: Celtics -7

Your pick on the point total comes down to what you expect out of Tyrese Haliburton. Indiana still scored at a league-average rate with him on the bench this season, but if he’s out, he’ll be replaced in the starting lineup with a better defender (regardless of who it is, because Haliburton is just that bad on defense). If he does suit up, not only does Indiana get an offensive boost, but the Celtics get a hobbled version of an already poor defender to pick on. This has been such an offense-centric series so far that I’m going to pick the over, but if Haliburton is eventually ruled out, I’d likely flip to the under. The Pick: Over 223.5

Let’s try to figure out who the individual beneficiaries could be if Haliburton is either out or compromised. Pascal Siakam may get more shots, but they’d also surely be harder ones. T.J. McConnell probably should get more minutes, but Rick Carlisle has always been hesitant to overextend him. What about Andrew Nembhard? He’d seemingly slide into the starting point guard slot if Haliburton is out. He’s already averaging more points this postseason (13.1) than his projected Game 3 line (12.5). He seems like the likeliest recipient of extra volume because of Haliburton’s injury. The Pick: Nembhard Over 12.5 Points

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