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Knicks vs. Celtics Odds, Pick, Prediction | NBA Betting Preview (March 5)

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Knicks vs. Celtics Odds

Knicks Odds +5.5
Celtics Odds -5.5
Over/Under 228
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

We are getting the league’s hottest team versus the league’s best team on Sunday night as the Knicks travel from Miami to Boston to take on the Celtics. The Knicks just handed the Celtics an embarrassing loss on Monday night, so it will be interesting to see if the Celtics can earn their revenge here tonight in front of their home crowd.

Will the Celtics make a statement at home, or are the Knicks simply too hot right now to fade? Let’s dive into how this game might play out, including a betting prediction below.

The Knicks have dominated opponents since their trade deadline acquisition of Josh Hart from the Blazers. Over that stretch, the Knicks have gone 8-0 and rank first in the NBA in Net Rating (+19.0). Their +19 Net Rating puts them 5.4 points above the Bucks for that stretch and 12 full points ahead of the rest of the league for that stretch.

These eight games haven’t been against bad teams either. All eight of their victories have come against teams that are still in playoff contention. It’s been a ridiculously impressive stretch that has many people wondering if this team can compete in the Playoffs.

One of those recent wins came against this Celtics team six days ago at the Garden. The Celtics were missing co-star Jaylen Brown for that one, but it was still a remarkably dominant win against the title favorites. The Knicks were in control for the entire game and defeated the Celtics by 15 points 109-94.

It will be hard to repeat that defensive performance tonight as the Celtics shot 22% from 3 on Monday. It was their worst three point shooting performance of the year, and you have to expect positive regression tonight with Jaylen Brown re-entering the lineup for this one. The Knicks allowed the Celtics to shoot 46% of their shots from behind the arc (91st percentile), so if these shots start falling, expect the Celtics to put up a large number. The Knicks will need to be locked in defensively if they want to have a chance tonight.

On the offensive end, expect the Knicks to benefit from the absence of Robert Williams III in this matchup. Williams is an extremely impactful defender, and the Knicks should generate a few extra looks at the rim and on the glass tonight. Expect Julius Randle, RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson to attack the paint with no true rim protector in the lineup for the Celtics.


Motivation is lining up for the Celtics here as they are now coming off two embarrassing losses as favorites in the past week. We talked about the Knicks loss above, but they also lost to a struggling Brooklyn Nets team on Friday night at home. The Celtics were up 28 points early in that one and ended up getting routed in the second half, losing the game by double digits. It was a very tough loss against a rival team which they have owned over the past few years.

The Nets were successful in running the Celtics shooters off the 3-point line, allowing Boston to shoot just 33% of their shots from deep. The Nets have caught a lot of flak for their post-trade-deadline struggles, but they certainly have a versatile defense, and that showed in their comeback over this Celtics team. The Nets’ ability to switch nearly every action enabled them to run Boston off the line and force them into tough twos.

Fortunately for the Celtics I don’t anticipate the Knicks having the same ability to alter their offensive identity as the Nets did. The Knicks rank 26th in the NBA in opponent 3-point Attempt Rate allowed. They prioritize taking away the rim, but the Celtics can stretch them out and force them into defensive rotations 1-5. With Robert Williams out of the lineup, I expect the Celtics to have five 3-point shooters on the floor at all times.

This should put tons of stress on this Knicks defense, and I expect the Celtics offense to bounce back here. I would look towards the Celtics team total at 116.5 as a potential over play.

Knicks-Celtics Pick

This should be an exciting game between two division rivals, and I expect plenty of points to be scored. This Knicks defense doesn’t match up well with what the Celtics are trying to do on offense, and I expect Boston to capitalize. The Celtics will not shoot sub-25% from 3 tonight, and Jaylen Brown’s return as a playmaker is huge for their offensive ceiling.

On the other hand, expect the Knicks to remain efficient on offense as that has been their calling card all season. The Knicks rank fourth in Adjusted Offensive Rating despite playing the 10th-most difficult schedule of opposing defenses. They’ll be going up against a Celtics defense that ranks fourth in Defensive Rating, but I believe they may be slightly overrated as they have played the second-easiest schedule of opposing offenses.

I will be looking to play the over at 227.5 as I believe we are getting a bit of a discount on this number after an outlier Celtics shooting performance. These two teams have cleared this number easily in two of three games this year, and I expect them to clear it easily tonight. Trust these offenses to positively regress and play this total up to 229.


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