Boston Celtics at New York Knicks odds, picks and prediction
The Boston Celtics meet the New York Knicks Wednesday at Madison Square Garden for both teams' regular-season openers. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET. Below, we look at the Celtics vs. Knicks odds and lines, and make our expert NBA picks, predictions and bets.
New York finished last season 42-35 overall, 47-30 against the spread (ATS) and 32-44-1 Over/Under (O/U), which includes the postseason.
The Knicks were eliminated in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs 4-1 as a 4-seed to the 5-seed Atlanta Hawks. PF Julius Randle won the 2020-21 NBA Most Improved Player award and led New York in points (24.1), rebounds (10.2) and assists per game (6.0) last season.
Boston was 38-40 overall, 36-42 ATS and 40-38 O/U last season, including the playoffs. The Celtics clinched a postseason berth as a 7-seed last season by beating the Washington Wizards in the inaugural NBA Play-In Tournament.
The Brooklyn Nets beat the Celtics 4-1 in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs to end Boston's season. The Celtics were led by All-Stars SF Jayson Tatum (26.4 points per game) and SG Jaylen Brown (24.7 PPG).
New York was 2-1 overall and ATS vs. Boston last season.
Celtics at Knicks odds, spread and lines
- Money line: Celtics +110 (bet $100 to win $110) | Knicks -135 (bet $135 to win $100)
- Against the spread (ATS): Celtics +2.5 (-112) | Knicks -2.5 (-107)
- Over/Under (O/U): 217.5 (O: -115 | U: -107)
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Celtics at Knicks key injuries
- SF Jaylen Brown (return to competition reconditioning) questionable
- C Al Horford (health and safety protocols) out
- C Nerlens Noel (knee) doubtful
Celtics at Knicks odds, lines, picks and predictions
Knicks 112, Celtics 106
BET the KNICKS (-135) for 1 unit even though I'm higher on the Celtics for the season as a whole because New York has one of the biggest home-court advantages in the NBA.
Also, we have to see Boston's offensive scheme under first-year head coach Ime Udoka because if the Celtics play like they did last season, then the Knicks have even more value in this spot.
Boston's ball-dominant wings Tatum and Brown love to operate in the mid-range. According to CleaningTheGlass.com, Tatum's mid-range, field-goal volume was in the 85th percentile of forwards and Brown's was in the 84th percentile of wings last season.
New York's defense was elite in all parts of the floor and had the third-best defensive field-goal percentage on mid-range shots (according to CleaningTheGlass.com). If the Celtics settle for contested mid-range jumpers, then the Knicks will be in good shape defensively.
The Knicks were seventh in mid-range field-goal volume and the Celtics ranked 22nd in defensive mid-range field-goal shooting. Not only that but New York's starting backcourt of SG Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker comes over from Boston.
Walker struggled to stay healthy with the Celtics so, theoretically, he will be at his healthiest in the first game of the season. Fournier gives the Knicks more perimeter shooting and helps space their offense out.
Finally, the Celtics will be without Horford, and Brown could play but has missed a couple of weeks after testing positive for COVID-19. Boston's injury report combined with the analysis above makes the KNICKS (-135) plus-EV for me.
PASS because the Knicks -2.5 (-107) doesn't make a ton of sense when you can just spend a little extra on New York's money line.
Slight "LEAN" to the OVER 217.5 (-115) for a tiny wager if at all since all three of the Celtics-Knicks regular-season meetings last season went Under the total.
However, both teams were very good from behind the arc last season. New York ranked third in 3-point shooting percentage and Boston ranked 11th. On top of that, New York's offseason additions of Fournier and Walker raise its offensive ceiling but don't bring a lot on the defensive end of the floor.
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