Celtics vs. Pacers prediction: Odds, betting advice, player prop bets for Game 4 on Monday, May 27 | Sporting News

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Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and the Celtics look to close out the Eastern Conference Finals with a 4-0 sweep of the Pacers on Monday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN). The series odds — with Boston off the board and the Pacers a +10000 long shot to advance — suggest that Indy is one bad quarter away from waving the white flag. Savvy bettors know that (a) it ain’t over ’til it’s over and (b) there are always opportunities to make some value bets.

With Tyrese Haliburton’s hamstring keeping the All-Star point guard sidelined for at least the immediate future, it will be incredibly difficult for the Pacers to dig themselves out of a 3-game hole. Andrew Nembhard had a career performance in Game 3, pouring in 32 points. Pascal Siakam, Myles Turner, and T.J. McConnell all chipped in 22-plus. Indy won the second quarter 38-25 and led by 18 in the third quarter. And still, the Celtics won.

MORE CONFERENCE FINALS BETTING: ECF MVP: Brown or Tatum? | Tyrese Haliburton injury update

Even without Kristaps Porzingis — still out with the calf injury that has now cost him four weeks — Boston continues to be the most dominant starting five in the NBA. Tatum was masterful in Game 3, with 36 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and no turnovers. Al Horford, once called “Average Al” in New England, hit seven 3-pointers and had three huge blocks. Brown remains the most underrated running mate in the Association, and Derrick White might be the best shot-blocking guard in NBA history. And Jrue Holiday — the one NBA champion on the Celtics’ roster — had the most clutch defensive play of the playoffs.

This has been one of the more entertaining potential sweeps in recent memory. Game 1 was an overtime thriller that Brown forced Boston’s way with a last-second corner three, at which point Tatum took over in the extra minutes. Game 3 came down to the final possession, with Indy getting a clean look at a game-tying three after the heroic Holiday steal. If anyone expects the Pacers to roll over in this one, they haven’t been paying attention.

Let’s get to the top BetMGM value bets for Game 4 of the Celtics vs. Pacers Eastern Conference Finals, including the best spread, over/under, and player prop wagers for the evening. 

Best NBA playoff odds and picks: Top ATS pick

Pacers +2.5 (1Q) vs. Celtics (-120)

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla has been doing something peculiar with his rotations early in the game — if and when Boston establishes a strong first-quarter lead, he turns to multiple bench players simultaneously in hopes of getting something, anything going in the form of second-unit offense. Last time out, Payton Pritchard, Sam Hauser and Oshae Brissett helped whittle a nine-point first-quarter lead down to one at the close of the first frame. That trio finished the game with two points in 36 combined minutes. 

Who can blame Mazzulla for trying to get a spark from his bench? Already down Kristaps, Boston has been severely top-heavy the entire postseason. It’s understandable for a coach of a 64-win, No. 1 seed — which has gone 11-2 in the playoffs — to not want to play each one of his starters 38-44 minutes per game (insert cautionary tales about Tom Thibodeau and Nick Nurse here). However, early commitments to initiating bench production often come with negative effects in terms of first-quarter covers.

Over their past four games, the Celtics have a collective first-quarter plus-minus of +2. They lost the first frame of Game 2 by two points on their home floor and barely eked out a lead in Game 3. Indy, meanwhile, has led the NBA in first-quarter scoring at home (32.4) and ranked top-five in average first-quarter margin (+3.1) since the start of the 2023-24 season. Bet on Rick Carlisle’s scrappy Indiana squad to give it everything it’s got at the start of Game 4, coming out firing and possibly even winning the first quarter outright.

FIRST QUARTER PREDICTION: Celtics 28, Pacers 27 — Boston wins the first quarter (-185) but Indiana covers the +2.5 spread (-120), and the first-quarter score finishes just UNDER the projected total of 56.5 (+100).

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

Pacers team total UNDER 108.5 vs. Celtics (-135)

While it’s easy to envision the Pacers getting out to a strong early start, it’s a bit more difficult to project them stringing together four strong quarters. Mazzulla and the Celtics already withstood what feels like Indiana’s best punches sans Haliburton, and it seems unlikely to get another 32-point performance from Nembhard — never mind 23 from T.J. McConnell. It seems unlikely that Boston will let its guard down against these players for a second-straight road game. 

When the Celtics are locking down defensively, they are one of the best core rotations of the 21st century. They have tremendous size, great footwork, and an incredible balance of perimeter clamps and across-the-board rim protection. Their D in the second half of Game 3 was something you rarely see in the modern age of NBA hoops — the kind of physical, fiery, fierce team effort that would make even the Ben Wallace Pistons nod their heads in respect.

Haliburton served as the captain of Indiana’s aggressive speedboat offense all season, helping the Pacers rank first in scoring and top two in offensive rating and pace. But when he’s out or banged up, Indy takes a big step back offensively. In the now five games Indiana has been without Hali when facing top-four seeds in either conference (Minnesota, Denver twice, and now Boston twice), the Pacers have gone 0-5 while averaging 108.4 points per game. Boston wants some rest ahead of the Finals, and it now knows that even the Haliburton-less Pacers deserve its best collective defense. Indy won’t exceed 108 tonight. 

FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Celtics 115, Pacers 108 — Boston wins (-300) but Indiana narrowly covers the +7.5 spread (-110), and the final score finishes just OVER the projected total of 222.5 (-110).

Best NBA playoff odds and picks: Top player prop bets

Derrick White assists: OVER 5.5 (+105)

White has been a massive part of the Celtics’ success all season long, and he has averaged around 18 points per game this postseason. And even when his shot has been a bit inconsistent, he has made abundant contributions with his playmaking and perimeter defense.

Plus odds on six assists seems outrageously generous here. White has six-plus assists in four straight contests, and the core four teammates around him are all shooting lights-out right now. With Indiana consistently collapsing on White outside the arc and failing to rotate in time to help, he’s able to find the open shooter over and over again. Smash the OVER and enjoy the show.

Andrew Nembhard points: OVER 15.5 (-130)

Nembhard has been a beast in the high screen-and-roll game, cooking the Knicks in the semis and now exposing the Celtics when big men switch onto him. He shoots well from outside, midrange, and at the basket, and his hyper-efficiency has bought him increased usage with Haliburton sidelined. Sporting News has successfully predicted Nembhard’s scoring OVER three games in a row, and we’re going back to the well in Game 4. 

There was no reason to expect Rick Carlisle to shy away from Nembhard as a scoring catalyst in Game 4. The 24-year-old was escalating from a backup role to starting point guard after shooting 56.9 percent over Indiana’s previous 14 contests, after all. And while nobody could have seen his 32-point explosion coming, it also seems shortsighted of sportsbooks to gift bettors an OVER this low. Nembhard has scored 16-plus in three of his past four contests, and he looks like the most confident Pacer on the floor! 

Jayson Tatum double-double (-150)

Tatum not only logged 36 points in Game 3 — he also had 10 boards and eight assists. You’re eating some juice here, but the guy is doing everything in his power to prove that he’s indeed an MVP-caliber player for a championship team. If Indy doubles him, he’ll rack up dimes. If he struggles with his shot, he’ll crash the boards. He hasn’t finished with single-digit points in a game since January 11, and he has a double-double in 10 of 13 playoff contests this year. The juice is worth the squeeze.

NBA playoff bets and spreads tonight: Full odds board

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

Game Time Moneyline Spread O/U
Celtics @
8:00 pm
BOS -300;
IND +240
BOS -7.5

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