As we move past the halfway point of the season, many of the teams are starting to hit their mid-season stride.
The Indiana Pacers are 14-5 at home and they’ll play host to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday evening, as the two continue to jockey for their position in the Eastern Conference standings.
The latest projections state that the Celtics will finish 54-28 and the Pacers 53-29. Odds on the game will be available at the Bovada online sportsbook, one of the best in the business. And the Portland Trail Blazers will host the struggling Chicago Bulls in a late game.
Boston Celtics @ Indiana Pacers
Although Indiana’s record is better than the Celtics’ one, analytics sites, like TeamRankings, still have them ranked as the No. 2 team in the league. The Pacers fall in at No. 8, but they have the No. 1 defense, which makes them tough to beat in any arena.
We haven’t seen what the lines will be yet, but the Celtics have covered in 12 of their last 18 home games. We should expect this to be lined out as a close game. The Pacers have been scoring much more while on the road than at home.
- Road Offense versus Home Offense, Pacers 109.35 – Celtics 111.79
- Road Defense versus Home Defense, Pacers 106.65 – Celtics 103.17
- The Celtics have won six of the last ten games against the Pacers.
- The Pacers and Celtics are each 5-5 against the spread against each other
The point spread will probably end up around five points in favor of the Celtics. Kyrie Irving is back and has the rust shaken off with the game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.
Even without Irving, the Celtics have been pouring it on. Gordon Hayward has hit his stride. He put up 35 on the Wolves the other day.
Hayward is showing signs of his days in Utah. If he truly is back, it spells trouble for teams playing against the Celtics late this season and into the playoffs.
I expect the Celtics to take this game, but if the point spread closes around 6, I would take the Pacers to cover the point spread.
The Chicago Bulls @ Portland Trail Blazers
The Chicago Bulls are in shambles right now. At 10-30, the only team behind the Bulls right now is the Love-and-Lebron-less Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Bulls No. 28 road offense will be heading off against Portland’s No 12 home defense. The Blazers just on the better side of ‘middling’ defense, should be more than enough to handle the Bulls offense that only scores 99 points per game.
That said, Zach Lavine is playing well, so we might not see as big of a point spread as one might expect. The Blazers are putting up 113 points per game at home right now, so we should expect the spread to reach double digits, perhaps between ten and 14.
Unless a miracle happens, the Trail Blazers are going to win this game. Moe Harkless and Evan Turner have both been dinged up, but they should be ready to be back in the rotation this week. CJ McCollum has been quiet, but he put up 24 against the Houston Rockets, so the Blazers offense might be waking back up.
If the spread is 10 or under, the Blazers would be the choice to cover the number. If the number hits fourteen, I would start to lean on the Bulls to cover. 11,12, or 13 points is a no-fly zone.