Home World NBA playoffs odds, picks for Saturday, May 24 – Chicago Tribune

NBA playoffs odds, picks for Saturday, May 24 – Chicago Tribune


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After a nail-biter Game 1 that resulted in an overtime Celtics win, Boston took Game 2 with far more aplomb, winning 126-110.

Can the Pacers pull one back in Game 3 on their home court? Or are the Celtics poised for another dominant Eastern Conference Finals series win?

Let’s take a look at Saturday night’s Game 2 as the series switches venues to Indiana’s Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Celtics vs. Pacers odds

  • Spread: Celtics -6.5 (-115), Pacers +6.5 (-105)
  • Moneyline: Celtics -275, Pacers +220
  • Total: Over 222.5 (-110), Under 222.5 (-110)

Odds via BetMGM

Celtics outlook

Jaylen Brown has had an excellent series for Boston, and he followed up his clutch Game 1-tying three-pointer with a 40-point effort in Game 2. The Pacers lack a true counter to Brown on their roster, and he should continue scoring at a high level throughout this series.

After a quiet Game 1, Derrick White also stepped up in Game 2 with 23 points on 53.3% shooting. He and Jrue Holiday provide secondary offensive production when needed, but their best attribute is their lockdown defense, particularly against a dynamic guard such Tyrese Haliburton.

Celtics fans have been disappointed with the production of Jayson Tatum, and while he finished with 23 points on 9-of-20 shooting (45%) in Game 2, his six rebounds and one 3-point make on seven attempts left something to be desired. Boston can win this series without Tatum at his absolute best, but a signature game could be in the offing sometime soon given the plus matchup.

T.J. McConnell should see a rise in minutes if Tyrese Haliburton can't play in Game 3.
T.J. McConnell should see a rise in minutes if Tyrese Haliburton can’t play in Game 3. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Pacers outlook

Haliburton’s status will be critical to monitor heading into Game 3 after he suffered a non-contact hamstring injury on Thursday night in Boston. This is the same hamstring he hurt in January, and he should be considered a game-time decision for the Pacers.

Haliburton (28 minutes) wasn’t the only Pacers player to see limited time on the court. In the fourth quarter, Rick Carlisle curtailed the minutes of the rest of his starters. Pascal Siakam led the team with just 31 minutes, and Indiana inexplicably punted despite the game still being within reach.

Siakam finished with 28 points on 13–of-17 shooting (76%). If Haliburton isn’t 100% healthy, Siakam will need to shoulder even more of an offensive load for the Pacers. Andrew Nembhard is also a player to watch moving forward after finishing with 28 points on 50% shooting through the first two games of this series.

Celtics vs. Pacers pick

Haliburton’s health will be crucial to determining the winner of Game 3, and it’s very difficult to recommend a wager on either side without further indication of his status. If he is forced to miss Game 3, I like the current odds of T.J. McConnel going over his points plus rebounds plus assists total of 18.5, as he should see 30+ minutes if Haliburton sits.

Regardless, keep an eye on the injury report leading up to Game 3 and be ready to capitalize on value depending on Haliburton’s status. If Haliburton plays, I’d be intrigued by the Pacers +7 at home. If he misses, I love the value of McConnell going over 18.5 PRAs, a number he’s gone over in seven of his last 10 games.

Pick: Pacers +7 (if Haliburton plays), T.J. McConnell over 18.5 points + rebounds + assists (if Haliburton is out)

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