celtics nets game 1 odds pick prediction
Apr 23, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Boston Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum (0) dunks the ball as Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (9) shooting guard Landry Shamet (20) and center DeAndre Jordan (6) look on during the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NBA fans will get to see the much-anticipated playoff debut of the new-look Nets tonight when they host Boston in Game 1 of a best-of-seven series. The early-season pairing of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving with James Harden still remains somewhat a mystery to most, as the trio has managed just over 200 minutes of court time together across eight games this season.

Let’s take a closer look at the best wagering markets with our Celtics vs. Nets Game 1 betting pick, complete with the best odds, prop predictions, and analysis.

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The one thing we all know is that this is a bona fide super team and will be hard out for anyone in these Playoffs, let alone the struggling Celtics.

Many see this series as a potential changing of the guard with the Nets seemingly inevitable return to contender status and Boston’s much-discussed turmoil between Coach Brad Stevens and his players, despite the team reaching the conference finals in three of the last four seasons.

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Celtics vs. Nets Game 1 Odds

Here are the current odds for Celtics vs. Nets at DraftKings Sportsbook:

Clippers-3 (-112)-143O 216.5 (-112)
Mavericks+3 (-109)+123U 216.5 (-109)

Bets We Like Independent of Outcome

First Half Spread – Boston Celtics +5 (BetMGM -115)

A bit of a projected-ability line here, as opposed to an earned one. The assumed inevitable greatness of this star-studded Nets roster coupled with their 3-0 SU and ATS regular season sweep of Boston has created a bit of an inflated line tonight and we want to capitalize on the first half portion of that.

For starters, we gain a little edge by getting more than half of the full-time spread here with Boston. Secondly, common logic would dictate that it should take a bit for three guys who have not yet spent four games worth of minutes on the court together to jell completely. If you are going to jump on that premise, it stands to reason you should do so as early as possible in this series.

Getting It Together

Sure, Irving, Durant, and Harden are great enough that they could still come out and get hot from the opening tip, but five points is still a generous spot for a half of NBA Playoff basketball against a team with a red hot star that knows they need to steal Game 1 if they have any real shot at this series.

Despite rumors that Brad Stevens has lost the faith of some of his players, the guy is still a proven player-whisperer and a great tactician with time to prepare. You have to believe he puts his team in the best position to win this one as possible when compared to a Nets coaching staff that is more of a figurehead riding it’s star power to whatever heights it will take them.

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Despite losing the first two head-to-head meetings by 28 and 12 points, respectively, Boston actually covered this first half spread in both games. We have seen them get hot from deep in the playoffs before, which can be enough sometimes. And they are quietly in the Top-10 in the league in 3-point percentage, as well.

The Nets impressive regular season record masks an important subtlety that we want to exploit here. Brooklyn’s revolving door of available players and lack of continuity has seen them fail to cover this first half spread in each of their last twelve games against teams that finished the regular season in the Top-6 in their respective conferences. Games like that had as close to a playoff atmosphere as you are likely to find in the regular season, making that a solid sample space with regards to tonight’s affair.


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Celtics vs. Nets Betting Prediction

It’s true that it may take the Nets a while to find their peak potential as a team, but we also believe that is more likely to manifest through a defensive evolvement and a crisper transition offense than it is in just a sheer ability to outscore opponents. That ability has been ever-present, regardless of who has been on the court for Brooklyn.

The Nets boast the league’s second best scoring offense (118.6 points per game), doing it with the NBA’s best field goal percentage (49.4%). We mentioned Boston’s quality from behind the arc, but it was bested still by the Nets, who shot 39.2% from deep, the second best mark in the league. With Boston attempting the tenth most threes this season and Brooklyn the 12th most, this one is almost assuredly going to have a barrage of attempts and makes from behind the arc.

Nets do the Simple Stuff

We also love Brooklyn’s ability to earn and make free throws. They get to the line the eighth most in the NBA and make 80.4% of their freebies, the league’s sixth best mark. We witnessed last night in the Golden State versus Memphis game how a close game’s total points can spike late due to free throws and the same could occur here if Boston can hang around in a game they know they need.

Vegas may feel as we do, seeing as this total is still perilously near 230, despite these two teams playing under all three times they met this season. The two did play four straight games over the total coming into the 2020-2021 season, however, with three of those four also topping tonight’s posted number.

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Both teams were more likely to play over the total this season when playing at night (57.7%) than during the day (28.6%). They also combined to play 34 of 59 games over when facing above .500 opposition (57.6%).

Boston played six of their seven games over as a dog of five or more points this year. Lending to our assertion that Stevens excels with extra time to prepare his team, the Celtics have played five of their last six games over after three or more days of rest.

Brooklyn has played seven of their final ten regular season home games over the number. That includes cashing the over in seven of the last nine on this court where they were favored. They have 41 games already this season that have reached at least 228 total points. If they make a run in these NBA Playoffs, it will be because of their unique ability to score the basketball and tonight feels like the perfect spot for a wide open game that could see both teams top 120 points.


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Bob Wankel is a credentialed Phillies writer for Crossing Broad. He is also Vice President of Sports Betting Content at XL Media and co-hosts Crossed Up: A Phillies Podcast. A South Jersey resident and graduate of Monmouth University, his past work includes 12+ years in education and six seasons as a freelancer at NFL Films. On Twitter: @Bob_Wankel E-mail: bob.w@xlmedia.com