[7:00 PM] Celtics @ Pacers

Who will WIN this matchup?

Boston Celtics (3-4)

@ Indiana Pacers (4-4)


Current odds:

Boston Celtics: (+127)

Indiana Pacers: (-140)


ESPN simulations have Indiana as 57% favorites to win the game.

58% of sports bets are currently on Boston to win as (+127) underdogs.

The line for this game is Pacers by 3 points.

Both the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers have been woeful on defense early in the season, but the Celtics have some momentum in that category heading into a visit to Indianapolis on Saturday night. The teams entered Friday’s action ranked 28th and 30th, respectively, in the NBA in defensive scoring, but the Celtics bucked that trend with a dominant showing in a 115-87 rout of the New York Knicks. Isaiah Thomas scored 29 points and Avery Bradley added 15 and 10 rebounds as Boston snapped a three-game slide with its most lopsided win since last Nov. 28.

The Pacers, who pulled into Friday’s visit to Philadelphia giving up an average of 113.3 points, went to overtime with the lowly 76ers for the second game in a row before falling 109-105. Paul George scored 26 points and hit 7-of-7 free throws, part of Indiana’s 22-of-23 effort from the line, one of the few bright spots in what resulted in Philadelphia’s first victory of the season. The Pacers have won five of the last six at home against the Celtics, although the two meetings at Indiana last season were decided by a total of seven points.

A significant cause of Boston’s defensive problems has been the absence of center Al Horford, who missed his fifth straight game Friday due to a concussion but is champing at the bit to return to action, which could happen Saturday or Monday in New Orleans.

Mired in a scoring slump since the season began, guard Monta Ellis was moved out of the starting lineup for Friday’s contest, but a big part of the move was to bolster the bench while Rodney Stuckey continued to recover from a hamstring injury. Ellis took to the move with a season high-tying 19 points to go along with team highs of five assists and four steals. George sprained his thumb against the 76ers but was able to return to play 40 minutes for the second time this season.

Pacers C Al Jefferson is averaging 13.3 points while shooting 61.3 percent over his last three games. He averaged 4.3 on 23.8 percent in the previous three contests.


StreakSmarts Pick: Boston Celtics

Confidence: 4/10

StreakSmarter Pick