Home-court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs could be on the line Friday as the Boston Celtics visit the Indiana Pacers in a matchup pegged as a virtual pick’em on the NBA odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Boston is coming off a 112-102 victory in Miami against the Heat as a 1-point underdog Wednesday, lifting the team to 4-1 straight up in its last five games ahead of Friday night’s Celtics vs. Pacers betting matchup at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Despite their recent strong play, the Celtics remain deadlocked with Indiana in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. And with the Philadelphia 76ers firmly entrenched in third place in the conference standings, Friday’s contest takes on greater importance as a likely preview of an opening-round clash between the Celtics and Pacers.
The Celtics’ current 4-1 SU run comes on the heels of a four-game SU slide that featured two defeats as betting favorites. However, the team continues to struggle at the sportsbooks, failing to record consecutive against-the-spread wins during a lengthy 6-13-1 ATS run that dates back to Feb.26.
That inconsistency also extends to recent road contests, with Boston winning outright in just two of six outings, while going 5-5-1 ATS over its past 11, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.
Despite producing such uneven numbers, the Celtics continue to hold steady at +1800 on the NBA championship odds, dramatically outpacing Indiana, which lags at a distant +8000.
The Pacers return home after posting a 108-89 victory in Detroit as 2.5-point underdogs, sweeping their home-and-home series with the Pistons with their first consecutive SU wins since March 14.
Overall, the Pacers are a dismal 7-12 SU in 19 outings since Feb. 23, but have continued to play steady ball on home hardwood, going 11-3 SU and 10-4 ATS in their past 14. Indiana also picked up a narrow 103-102 win as a 3.5-point underdog at online sports betting sites in its last home date with the Celtics in November.
The Celtics followed up with a pair of recent wins in dates with Indiana at TD Garden, and also have taken four of their last five from the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, but have covered just once in their last six overall meetings with Indiana.
Following Friday’s contest, the Celtics return home to face the surging Orlando Magic on Sunday before closing out their schedule in Washington against the Wizards on Tuesday night. The team is just 1-3 SU and ATS in its last four meetings with the Magic, who have marched into the playoff picture during an 8-2 SU run, but has posted wins in two previous dates with the Wizards this season.