Celtics vs Knicks Odds Preview: New-Look Celtics Favored in MSG

But Can Home Team Steal the Show?

Celtics Slightly Favored Over Home Team Knicks

The Boston Celtics continue to have lofty expectations. After another conference finals appearance, Boston shuffled its team and acquired two All-Stars, Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday. As such, Boston has the shortest odds (tied with Milwaukee) to win the NBA Championship.

It gets a chance to start fast by winning in New York. The Celtics vs Knicks odds favor Boston by three points. However, the Knicks may be the better team here.

Celtics logo Boston Celtics vs New York Knicks Knicks logo

(68-34) | (53-40)
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Day/Time: Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Stream: ESPN

Celtics Have Had Mixed Results as Chalk

We don’t want to call Boston “overrated” without a single game in the 2023-24 NBA season yet. But their recent betting trends have been a mixed bag. Boston had the NBA’s best net rating in the regular season last year (6.7). It was the only team that ranked in the top five in both offense and defense. And yet, Boston finished with a cover rate of just 51.1% (47-45-0) as a favorite.

In short, Boston got to a point where it became overestimated by the public and the oddsmakers. Thankfully, the Celtics are only three-point favorites versus New York. Boston finished 11-4 against the NBA spread (ATS) as a favorite of three points or fewer.

This was all a season ago. The Celtics still have its core of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. But gone are key players like Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon. In their place are Porzingis and Holiday, who are upgrades on paper. And yet, the team could start slow if they are not all up to speed.

Chemistry, although unquantifiable, is a real thing. Holiday is a point guard and will be a primary ball carrier while Porzingis will be heavily involved on both sides of the floor given his pedigree. Boston is right to be favored by the Celtics vs Knicks odds. But this team can start slow or even struggle throughout the NBA game.

If that’s the case, betting the total of 226.5 to go under could be a solid strategy. The totals went under in 53.1% (23-26-1) of Boston’s road games last season. The trend could continue, especially if the Knicks’ offense remains excellent.

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Jalen Brunson Continues To Be Tip of Knicks’ Spear

The stereotype of Tom Thibodeau-coached NBA teams is that they will play slow-paced and hard-nosed defensive styles. That was apparent in his first two seasons with the team. But thanks to the addition of Jalen Brunson, the team’s first star point guard since Jeremy Lin over a decade ago.

Brunson significantly bolstered New York’s offense. The team went from 23rd in rating (109.7) in 2021-22 to fourth (117.0) last NBA season. However, the defense fell from 110.2 (11th) to 114.2 (19th). Still, the Knicks made the postseason and their 56.2% cover rate was the fifth-best in the league. So it was an overall improvement.

Opposing teams like Boston will need to get at Brunson if they hope to disrupt New York’s offense. Thus, the point guard matchups will be one to watch here.

“My preparation, my focus, is going to have to turn another notch up,” Jalen Brunson said via Zach Braziller of the New York Post. “Teams are going to try to do things to get me uncomfortable, but I’ve been able to adapt in any situation. How teams play me or whatever, it’s all about how I can be effective to help my team win. They are going to take things away, but how am I going to respond to make sure we’re in (a) position to win.”

Indeed, Brunson’s play will heavily influence the Celtics vs Knicks odds. If Boston can get to him, the other Knicks will have to step up. How they respond can be the difference in the NBA score predictions.

For NBA betting news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.

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