Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics Game 1 odds, picks and predictions

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The No. 7 seed Brooklyn Nets stop by TD Garden Sunday to start their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series with the No. 2 seed Boston Celtics. Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC). Below, we look at the Nets vs. Celtics odds and lines, and make our expert NBA picks, predictions and bets.

Brooklyn advanced to the postseason by beating the Cavaliers 115-108 in Cleveland Tuesday in the 7- versus 8-seed play-in game but failed to cover as a 9.5-point road favorite. The Nets won four consecutive games to end the regular season.

Boston clinched the 2-seed and won the Atlantic Division on the final day of the season by crushing the Grizzlies 139-110 in Memphis. The Celtics are 34-12 straight up (SU) with the best net rating in the NBA at plus-12.7 since Jan. 1, and the next closest team is the Phoenix Suns with a plus-8.1 net rating.

The Celtics are 3-1 SU and against the spread (ATS) versus the Nets this season, which includes three straight victories, and the total is 4-0 Over/Under (O/U). However, Brooklyn eliminated Boston 4-1 in the first round of the postseason last year and covered in all four victories (4-1 ATS).

Also see: Bet Slippin’ Podcast: NBA April 17 playoff breakdown

Nets at Celtics odds and lines

  • Money line (ML): Nets +140 (bet $100 to win $140) | Celtics -175 (bet $175 to win $100)
  • Against the spread: Nets +4.5 (-120) | Celtics -4.5 (-105)
  • Over/Under: 224.5 (O: -110 | U: -110)

Nets at Celtics key injuries

Nets

  • PG Ben Simmons (reconditioning) out

Celtics

  • PF Robert Williams III (knee) out

Nets at Celtics picks and predictions

Prediction

Nets 115, Celtics 111

Money line

LEAN to the NETS (+140) because Brooklyn’s spread is the sharper play. However, there’s some value in betting the Nets to steal Game 1 since PF Kevin Durant is the best player in this series and I expect KD to ball out this postseason.

KD averaged 40.5 points per game (PPG) on 61.4% shooting in the two Nets-Celtics games in Boston during their series last postseason.

Boston likes to run a lot of iso-sets through its two All-Star wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown but Brooklyn has two better 1-on-1 players in KD and PG Kyrie Irving.

Kyrie has also always played well versus Celtics PG, and Defensive Player of the Year candidate, Marcus Smart. Kyrie is averaging 24.5 PPG on .513/.403/.904 shooting with 6.1 assists in their 11 head-to-head meetings.

All of Brooklyn’s 5-man lineups with both KD and Kyrie on the floor are scoring 13.2 more points per 100 possessions, which is in the 98th percentile of the NBA for all 5-man units, according to CleaningTheGlass.com.

Granted, Boston’s defense has been far better than Brooklyn’s this season but the Celtics will be without their best defensive player in Williams and I think the Nets’ defense shows up in this series.

Again, it’s more of a LEAN towards the NETS (+140) because I prefer Brooklyn’s spread.

Author: Lucy Green