The red-hot Knicks put their eight-game win streak on the line when they face the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. We break down the matchup — and why we’re targeting Jaylen Brown with our best bet — in our full Knicks vs. Celtics betting preview below.
The New York Knicks take their eight-game winning streak on the road to face the Boston Celtics on Sunday night.
New York is the hottest team in the league, with this red-hot run including a 109-94 victory against Boston on February 27. The Knicks have not only picked up vital victories but are also exceeding the NBA odds’ expectations with a 7-0-1 ATS mark in this span.
The Celtics don’t look as dominant since the All-Star break and are coming off an ugly loss to Brooklyn in which they blew a 28-point lead.
While they were missing Jaylen Brown for the last matchup with New York, the team is 3-2 SU and just 1-4 ATS in the second half of the schedule with an advanced net rating of -2.6 – a steep decline from an NBA-best +6.2 before the break.
I dig into the point spread and Over/Under total for this Atlantic Division rivalry and give my best NBA picks and predictions for Knicks at Celtics on March 5.
Knicks vs Celtics best odds
Knicks vs Celtics picks and predictions
Friday’s disastrous defeat to the Nets serves as a wake-up call for the Boston Celtics, who have been sleepwalking since coming out of the break. Efforts have been inconsistent and Boston hasn’t shown up for a full 48 minutes, giving head coach Joe Mazulla a number of things to nitpick.
One theme that Mazulla harped on following the Brooklyn game and continued to point to heading into Sunday’s showdown with the scorching-hot New York Knicks is 3-point shooting – or the lack of it. Mazulla told reporters on multiple occasions this week that his team has to shoot more from beyond the arc, after going 9-for-29 from distance against Brooklyn.
In the five games since the All-Star break, the Celtics are launching just 35.6 shots from distance per contest and making 13.6 of those long-range looks – a 38.2% clip. That’s a notable decline in activity from outside, as Boston attempted 42.2 average 3-pointers before the break, making 16.6 per game for 37.8% shooting.
Knowing Mazulla’s focus and what New York’s offense is bringing to the table (more than 15 triples per game on near 41% shooting from deep during this eight-game run), the Celtics’ shooters have the green light to let it fly from 3-point land.
Jaylen Brown’s 3-point total for Sunday is set at 2.5 with the Over priced at +106. Brown was 3-for-8 from outside in the loss to the Nets but has been spotty from the perimeter in recent outings due to injuries, most notably a protective mask that he’s had to adjust to the past two weeks.
However, he finished 15-for-27 against Brooklyn (55.6%) which was his best shooting performance since donning the mask.
Brown is attempting 5.5 triples per game in his four outings since the break (2.5 makes), which is two less than his season average of 7.5. On top of Mazulla pushing for more pop from the perimeter, Brown could see more shooting opportunities if backup guard Malcolm Brogdon misses Sunday’s showdown (questionable with an injured ankle).
New York’s defense allows home teams to average 37.7 3-point attempts (third most) for 13.4 makes from distance per road game, and while Brown missed the most recent game with the Knicks, he did torch this team for 30 points back in November, including a 6-for-11 day from downtown.
My best bet: Jaylen Brown Over 2.5 made threes (+106)
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Knicks vs Celtics spread analysis
Boston opened as low as a 5-point home favorite and this spread has climbed as high as a cheaper -5.5 at some books as of Sunday morning.
New York boasts a remarkable +14.8 net rating during this run, fueled by solid two-way basketball, but it’s the offense that’s truly anchoring this stretch, with the Knicks playing efficient basketball and getting scoring depth from all over this lineup.
New York took this show on the road Friday, edging Miami 122-120 on a last-second 3-pointer from forward Julius Randle, giving Knicks bettors another ATS windfall as 1-point road underdogs. New York finished the game shooting 58% from the floor and hitting 17 triples against a Heat squad that ranks No. 5 in defensive rating on the season.
Boston also ranks among the defensive elite overall but hasn’t been the same team on that end of the floor since the mid-season hiatus. The Celtics have sunk from No. 4 in defensive rating before the break to 26th over the past five outings and will miss center and key interior defender Robert Williams III for today’s game.
The Celtics are coming off a gutting loss to Brooklyn last time out, blowing a 28-point lead which is the biggest blown lead in the NBA this season. The Nets finished with a 10-point win against a listless Boston team that managed just 41 total points in the second half. That gave Beantown bettors their third straight ATS loss.
The Celtics are 34-30 ATS on the year with an 18-15 ATS record at home. The Knicks own an NBA-best 21-10 ATS count as visitors, part of an overall 36-26-3 ATS record.
Knicks vs Celtics Over/Under analysis
This Over/Under hit the board as low as 226.5 points and has since risen to as high as 228.
The February 27 matchup between these rivals at Madison Square Garden opened with a total of 226 and sunk to 223 with news that Brown would be sidelined, eventually closing at 223.5 points. The 109-94 final score stayed well Under that number, as the Celtics struggled to score on 44% shooting from the field and made only 9 of 42 threes.
Sunday’s Over/Under reflects the Knicks’ scoring success during this run but New York still ranks out among the slower-tempo teams in the NBA. On the season, it boasts a pace rating of 97.54 which isn’t too far off the rating of 98 during the eight-game winning streak.
Boston sits middle of the pack in pace overall (99.51 pre-break) but has been a touch sluggish since returning from the break, marching out a pace rating of 96.39 which ranks 27th in the Association. The C’s are shooting just two fewer shots per contest in that span with the biggest difference being that lack of activity from outside mentioned above.
Coach Mazulla mentioned a need to increase 3-point attempts heading into this game, so expect Boston to get back to bombing from distance – or at least an uptick in attempts compared to previous games.
Given the contrast in success for these teams and the urgency on the Celtics to right the ship following such an embarrassing loss, this Atlantic Division meeting could take on a playoff-like atmosphere as New York attempts to keep the wins coming and Boston needs to re-stake its claim as the best in the East. Don’t be surprised to see defensive intensity ramp up in the final two frames if this game is as close as the spread indicates.
Boston is 2-3 O/U since the schedule picked up again and is 31-31-2 O/U on the season, going 21-11-1 O/U at home. New York, on the other hand, is 5-3 O/U on its winning streak with a 14-15-2 O/U mark on the road feeding into an overall 34-29-2 O/U mark this season.
Knicks vs Celtics betting trend to know
The Knicks are 31-11 ATS in their last 42 road games. Find more NBA betting trends for Knicks vs. Celtics.
Knicks vs Celtics game info
|Location:||TD Garden, Boston, MA|
|Date:||Sunday, March 5, 2023|
|Tip-off:||7:30 p.m. ET|