NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | May 21

05/20/2024
NBA
NBA Picks and Best Bets
NBA Best Bets 2023-2024

The NBA Playoffs have reached the Conference Finals, which get underway on Tuesday. The Indiana Pacers are surely riding high after knocking off the Knicks, but they now have to face the top-seeded Boston Celtics. Game 1 is Tuesday night in Boston with the Celtics heavily favored. Of course, the Pacers aren’t necessarily a team to take lightly. For the first game of the playoffs, the USA Legal Betting team will share three different picks for Tuesday’s game while using odds from three of the best sports betting sites.

Indiana Pacers vs Boston Celtics Best Bet:

Celtics -9.5 | -110 at bet365

One of the biggest trends in the playoffs has been Boston’s strong starts in Game 1 of each series. Last round, they covered a 12.5-point spread against Cleveland with a 25-point win. Prior to that, they covered a 14-point spread with a 20-point win over the Heat. That should make anyone using Massachusetts sportsbooks confident that the Celtics will come out strong in Game 1. Even if they don’t win by 20 points, covering 9.5 points is reasonable.

Keep in mind the Pacers could be a little tired at this point in the postseason. They’ve had just one day of rest after beating the Knicks in Game 7 on Sunday. This will also be the fourth consecutive game that Indiana has had to travel between games. Even if the journey from New York to Boston isn’t that great, all of that travel has to catch up with the Pacers at some point. That will make keeping Game 1 to a single-digit margin just too tough.

Bet365 Sportsbook Logo
Celtics -9.5 | -110 at bet365

Indiana Pacers vs Boston Celtics Best Bet:

Over 221.5 | -115 at BetMGM

Tired or not, the Pacers are going to push the tempo in this series, believing that Boston’s depth could become an issue. After all, that turned out to be key to Indiana beating the Knicks in the last round, so they’re going to give it a shot in the conference finals. Thus far, eight of Indiana’s 13 playoff games have gone over the point total, including the last two games of their series with the Knicks. In those seven games, the Pacers scored over 110 points six times. 

As long as that trend continues, it’s hard to fathom this game staying below 221.5 total points. In fairness, the Celtics are 5-5 O/U during the playoffs. But they’ve been held below 100 points just once and have topped 110 points four times. Those games were against far superior defensive teams than the Indiana team they’ll face in this series. That should make it a little easier for the Celtics to ensure this game hits the over.

BetMGM Sportsbook
Over 221.5 | -115 at BetMGM

Indiana Pacers vs Boston Celtics Best Bet:

Myles Turner Over 16.5 Points | +102 at BetRivers

If the Celtics have a weakness, it could be their interior defense and depth. They still don't have Kristaps Porzingis available, putting a lot of pressure on veteran Al Horford to play a lot of minutes with Luke Kornet as the backup. That should be good news for Turner, who averaged 17.1 points during the regular season. He just has to hit his season average in Game 1 for this bet to pay.

In seven games against the Knicks, Turner scored at least 17 points four times, including a pair of games in which he scored over 20 points. He also had at least 17 points in four of six games against Milwaukee in the first round. Turner has hit this number more times than not during the playoffs and figures to have a favorable matchup against Boston, which is why we’re a fan of this prop bet for Game 1.

BetRivers
Myles Turner Over 16.5 Points | +102 at BetRivers

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Bet365 Sportsbook Logo
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