Celtics vs. Pacers Prediction, Odds, Pick: NBA Playoffs, Game 3

min read
Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics and Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics react during the second quarter of the game.
(Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
Nick Hennion @nickhennion May 24, 2024, 3:31 PM
  • The Celtics are -6.5 against the Pacers in Game 3.
  • Boston up 2-0 in the series, now 5-2 SU vs. Indiana this season.
  • Why bettors should target Boston’s first-half team total in Game 3.

It went from bad to worse for the Pacers in Game 2 as they fell by double digits AND lost Tyrese Haliburton in the process. 

That puts them in a 2-0 hole, with the series switching back to Indiana for the next two contests. In good news for the Pacers, they’re a perfect 6-0 SU on their home court this postseason. 

The bad news for Saturday’s hosts? They’re facing a Boston side that is 4-0 SU in their road postseason efforts against the Heat and Cavaliers. 

Here’s a look at the NBA playoff odds and my prediction for Game 3. 

NBA Playoff Odds – Celtics vs. Pacers

  • Celtics Moneyline: -275
  • Pacers Moneyline: +220
  • Spread: Celtics -6.5 (-115)
  • Over/Under: 222.5 Points (-110/-100)
  • Series Price: Celtics (-10000), Pacers (+3000)

Celtics vs. Pacers Prediction – NBA Playoffs, Game 3

Celtics 1H Team Total Over 58.5 Points (-125)

If Haliburton doesn’t feature for the Pacers in Game 3, that presents a big challenge for Indiana defensively. 

According to basketball-reference.com, opponents’ offensive rating rose by 1.4 points without Haliburton on the court during the regular season. 

Additionally, Indiana struggled to limit teams early when Haliburton failed to feature at all. 

Haliburton missed 12 games during the regular season. Sample those 12 contests alone, and bettors will find the Pacers allowed 61.1 first-half points per game. 

That’s without adjusting for the strength of the opposition, but it gets worse when they played a good offense. 

Five of those games came against sides 12th or better in adjusted offensive rating, with three clearing this number. Across all five, Indiana allowed 62.6 points per first half. 

Plus, irrespective of whether Haliburton featured for the Pacers against the Celtics, Boston has excelled at clearing this number. 

Although they failed to surpass it in Game 2, Boston has still cleared this number in four of seven meetings against the Pacers. 

Across all seven contests, they’ve averaged 65.4 points per first half. 

Boston has also cleared this number in half of their road games this postseason against defenses that ranked ahead of Indiana in adjusted defensive rating. 

As a result, I’ll back them to reverse their Game 2 performance and produce a strong offensive showing against a weakened defense.

NBA ATS Records 2023-24

TeamATS RecordATS Win Pct.
Mavericks48-34-0.585
Celtics41-36-5.533

NBA Over/Under Records 2023-24

TeamOver RecordOver Pct.Under Pct.
Celtics43-39-0.524.476
Mavericks36-45-1.444.556

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About the Author

Nick Hennion

Read More @nickhennion

Nick Hennion is a senior content writer for BetMGM. His previous stops include VSiN, NBC Sports, The Action Network and Forbes Betting. He owns a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University and a master's degree from Northwestern University.

Nick Hennion is a senior content writer for BetMGM. His previous stops include VSiN, NBC Sports, The Action Network and Forbes Betting. He owns a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University and a master's degree from Northwestern University.