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Pacers Celtics Betting Predictions – Pacers And Celtics Fight For Positioning In The East

Posted by Craig Parsons on 1/1/2013 5:46:41 PM

The Indiana Pacers are moving up the ladder in the NBA's Eastern Conference. The Boston Celtics are on the verge of being outside a playoff spot. The two teams meet on Friday.

Indiana Pacers @ Boston Celtics – Friday, January 4  
Online sports betting line: No line

Why Indiana Will Win

Even an online horse betting guru with relatively minimal knowledge of professional basketball would be able to tell you that the Pacers have a really good chance of winning this game. Indiana's defense is performing at a very high level. The Pacers scored just 88 points on Monday afternoon, but that point total was enough to beat the Memphis Grizzlies in a classic defensive grinder. Indiana has known for the past few months that without Danny Granger, it would have to rely on its defense to win games, and that's exactly what it has done under its resourceful head coach, Frank Vogel. The Pacers could have fallen off the map without Granger, but their ability to play strong team defense and make solid rotations is what has kept them in the thick of the Eastern Conference race. Indiana's resilience is a great reason to pick the Pacers, even on the road.

Why Boston Will Win

When a winning poker hand exists, you don't need to worry about outside influences or factors. You just play the hand. Boston has a winning set of cards at home. While the Celtics enter 2013 with a 5-11 road record, they are 9-5 at home. There is a clear differentiation between the way the Celtics play in their home building and away from it. Boston just got back from its West Coast late-December road trip, a swing that the team has rarely if ever handled well over the past few years, even while it made the NBA Finals in both 2008 and 2010 and proved itself to be one of the top teams in the league. Now that the Celtics are home from that West Coast trip, they will be able to re-focus.

When Boston plays well, it defends well. The Celtics reached their zenith under head coach Doc Rivers when assistant coach Tom Thibodeau was able to devise defensive game plans and find ways to stop elite opponents. Thibodeau's reputation grew to such a degree that the Chicago Bulls chose him to be their next head coach, a move that has worked out well for the Bulls in recent years. This is something that has eroded the Celtics' defensive quality, but Boston's decline in defensive ability is something that has come with age as well. This is simply an older team with legs that are more jelly-filled than they were four years ago. Boston, playing at home, generally reacts better on defense. It communicates better and feeds off the home crowd. The Celtics will have had a day off before this game, so they should be able to produce a top-drawer defensive effort. The fact that Indiana is still playing without its foremost scorer, Danny Granger, should give Boston a key boost as well.

Who Will Win

This feels like a 50-50 game, but Boston is likely to play with just enough extra desperation to dig out a one-possession win on its home floor.

NBA Basketball Betting Pick: Boston


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