Celtics vs. Pacers prediction: Odds, betting advice, player prop bets for Game 2 on Thursday, May 23 | Sporting News

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As the conference championships roll on, the Celtics will face the Pacers in Game 2 on Thursday night (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN, Sling).

Game 1 on Tuesday was a rollercoaster, starting with Boston landing some haymakers early thanks to Jrue Holiday, Indiana bouncing back with fervor, and the Celtics saving themselves with some late-game Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum heroics. 

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The Pacers covered their +9.5 spread in Game 1, and now they’re getting 8.5. Will Boston view Tuesday as a wake-up call and run away from Indy like it has so many times this postseason? Or, will Rick Carlisle’s squad come back as feisty as ever and steal one on the road?

Let’s get to the top BetMGM value bets for Game 2 of the Celtics vs. Pacers series, including the best spread, over/under, and player prop wagers.

Best NBA playoff odds and picks: Top ATS pick

Celtics -2.5 vs. Pacers (-120)

The Pacers gave Boston a real scare in Game 1, erasing an 11-point third-quarter deficit and seizing control. If not for terrible late-game execution from Indy and a heroic corner three from Jaylen Brown, the Celtics would be facing a 1-0 series deficit right now. 

It’s not quite the wakeup call that Boston had in Game 2 of its past two series against the Heat and Cavs — but it’s close. Expect Boston to come out swinging in Game 2, not taking anything for granted or anyone too lightly.

The Celtics lead the NBA in first-quarter points per game (31.5), and they won the first frame of Game 1 34-31. Bet on the home squad to dominate the opening 12 minutes in Game 2. 

FIRST QUARTER PREDICTION: Celtics 32, Pacers 26 — Boston wins the frame (-210) and covers the -2.5 spread (-120), and the final score finishes just OVER the projected first-quarter total of 57.5 (-115).

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Best NBA playoff odds and picks: Top over/under bet

Celtics team total OVER 116.5 (-125)

Let’s face it — these teams are offensive juggernauts. They each sat atop the Association in total points per game and they have combined to average 243 points per game over their past three contests. Boston put up 133 in Game 1, and that’s despite missing a whopping 30 three-pointers!

Boston scored 117 in regulation, and everyone can probably agree that the Celtics have room for improved execution and some positive regression in Game 2. If Joe Mazzulla’s squad can continue getting to the line a bunch (30 times in Game 1), clean up its ball security, and take better shots throughout the middle portion of the game, the Celtics should easily eclipse 117.

You could just as easily play the OVER on the full-game total of 224.5 (-110), especially if you have more faith in Indiana to bounce back from a tough loss and potentially tired legs from playing six hard-fought games in 11 days. While the best bet for the combined total seems to be OVER, betting on the Celtics’ team OVER feels less volatile in this situation. 

FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Celtics 119, Pacers 111 — Boston wins (-400) and eclipses its 116.5-point team total (-125), but Indiana covers the +8.5 spread (-105). 

Best NBA playoff odds and picks: Top player prop bets

Derrick White points: OVER 15.5 (-125)

White has been a massive part of the Celtics’ success all season long, and he has averaged 17.9 points per game this postseason. He shot poorly in Game 1, however, so his scoring projection yields plenty of value tonight.

With Kristaps Porzingis still sidelined, White’s solid usage should remain despite shooting just 38.5 percent on Tuesday. He has taken 30 shots over the past two games, and he has totaled 13-plus attempts in seven of Boston’s past nine playoff games.

The trust is there in this system, and White never lets a down game tarnish his confidence. Don’t expect as much Payton Pritchard and Sam Hauser in this game, and don’t expect the Pacers to give up as many open looks to Tatum and Brown. White is the x-factor, and he should easily best 16 here.

Andrew Nembhard points: OVER 10.5 (-130)

Nembhard has been a beast in the high screen-and-roll game, cooking the Knicks and now the Celtics when big men switch onto him. Rick Carlisle should utilize his hyper-efficient guard way more often, as he’s shooting 57.6 percent over his past 13 games. He has also bested this point total in four straight contests and in 11 of the past 13 overall. Smash it!

Sam Hauser points: UNDER 3.5 (-165)

Hauser had a solid season as a backup sniper, but he looked completely lost in Game 1 against the Pacers. In a fast-paced game against a run-and-gun young squad constantly going for the jugular, Joe Mazzulla can’t risk giving too much run to an inexperienced and one-dimensional role player who’s obviously in over his head. Hauser will be lucky if he scores three points. 

NBA playoff bets and spreads tonight: Full odds

All odds courtesy of BetMGM, an authorized gaming operator of the NBA.

Game Time Moneyline Spread O/U
Pacers @
8:00 pm
BOS -400;
IND +310
BOS -8.5

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