6 Indiana Pacers vs 1 Boston Celtics
You are probably reading this after game one of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Indiana Pacers and the Boston Celtics, and that is perfectly fine. My prediction and preview of the series does not change much, but the way we have been betting, I would think twice about what I think.

Can the Pacers Keep Up the Pace?
Let’s break this down really quick. In game one, the Celtics opened up to a monstrous 12-0 start in the garden, but that gap slowly closed in the first quarter as the Pacers stormed back and trailed by three (34-31). Obi Toppin dropped 11 points off the bench in the first quarter as well, giving Indiana the spark they needed. In the second quarter, we saw the Pacers carry that momentum over and eventually tie the game up at 64-64 going into halftime.

In the third quarter, the Pacers officially secured their first lead at 66-64 right after halftime. Just under five minutes remaining in the third, the Celtics pulled back in front by double digits at 87-75 after an emphatic Jayson Tatum contact layup in traffic plus the and-one play at the line. Boston once again allowed Indiana to crawl back into the game after a Haliburton buzzer-beater closed the Celtics lead to one at 94-93 heading into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Celtics stayed ahead for a decent amount of time, but the Pacers were hard to put down. Indiana jumped ahead by four at 108-104, silencing the Celtics crowd heading into a Joe Mazzulla timeout. The Pacers grabbed their biggest lead of the game after an Andrew Nembhard step back jumper over Al Horford to make it 115-110. In one of the most unreal fourth quarters in one of the BEST game ones I’ve watched in the ECF, Jaylen Brown knocked down a tight three-pointer with second remaining to eventually send both sides to overtime! Jayson Tatum scored 10 points in overtime leading Boston to edge out a pesty Indiana squad.

Laying Out the Blueprint
I believe home court advantage will play a factor in this series, at least the Pacers hope so. Indiana sure is going to need it, but Boston should win the first two games in the garden like they have been doing all season. The only hiccup that concerns me for the Celtics is the absence of Kristaps Porzingis, and I think that showed a little in game one with Horford taking most of the workload. With Porzingis out, the Pacers can take advantage of the Celtics interior defense. Horford and Tatum are the main guys defending the paint and I’ll take my chances with Pascal Siakam, Myles Turner, and Toppin down low. I’m just not sure that will be enough to beat this disciplined Celtics squad in the long run, but they could come close.

For the Pacers, they’ll need their fans to show up but also come prepared to battle. The Celtics have been phenomenal all season and have arguably the best defense remaining in the playoffs. Most people are thinking the Pacers need to win their games at home most importantly, but no, they HAVE to steal a game from Boston at the garden and probably be perfect at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in order to win this series.

Betting Picks
*Game One: 128 Indiana – 133 Boston OT*
Game Two at BOS: W BOSTON
Game Three at IND: W INDIANA
Game Four at IND: W BOSTON
Game Five at BOS: W BOSTON


5 Dallas Mavericks vs 3 Minnesota Timberwolves
Today is game one for the Western Conference Finals and I was much more excited to watch this series until game one of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Minnesota Timberwolves will host the Dallas Mavericks for the first two games of this series, and I think that may play a big factor early on. Will Anthony Edwards, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Rudy Gobert be too much for the Mavericks or do Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and company have what it takes to upset the T-Wolves?

Are Minnesota’s Big Men Too Much for Dallas to Handle?
Tonight’s matchup is much anticipated considering the stars of both teams are heavily beloved. The tide could shift very quickly after tonight’s result though. I sense trouble in Big ‘Sota for Dallas, simply because of the Timberwolves’ defense and Dallas’ depth to combat Towns and Gobert. I am excited to see how Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively II perform against some of the best centers in the league, but my money is on Minnesota when it comes to that battle. Some of the best offense this postseason versus some of the best defense this postseason should equal an entertaining matchup. I unfortunately have high expectations after the Pacers-Celtics game, do you blame me?

Luka & Kyrie Need to Stay Hot!
If the Maverick’s two anchors can stay afloat and play some great basketball, then this should be a close series. As long as those two can play well consistently, I have no reason not to believe Dallas can make it to the finals. Although they have been inconsistent as of late, they did not need to drop 40 each night to beat the Thunder or Clippers. With Minnesota, I don’t necessarily think they have to drop 30+ a night, but they will certainly have to be on their A-game considering they are on the road to start the series. Bottom line is these two (Doncic & Irving) are the heart of this offense and when they are rolling, they are hard to beat, when they aren’t rolling it can be quite sloppy.

Are the T-Wolves Ready for the Big Show?
I will be the first one to say I have doubted the Timberwolves the entire series, mainly against Denver. I figured they would beat Phoenix but wouldn’t have been surprised if they lost. On the other hand, I figured the Nuggets would secure another trip to the conference finals, but they choked in the second half of game seven. Lesson learned for Dallas, if you allow Minnesota to claw their way back into a playoff game, then you bet your ass they will do that! We saw it happen at least once in each series they’ve played in. I just don’t worry as much about Minnesota because of its love for defense. If the Timberwolves can score effectively night-in-night-out and pressure the Mavericks into tough shots, I see Minnesota winning in six games. If Minnesota plays like that did in game one against Phoenix and games 3-6 against Denver, then I have no doubt in Dallas to win this series in five-seven games. I can almost guarantee that no team will sweep the opposing but be careful tailing that advice!

Betting Picks
Game Three at DAL: W DALLAS
Game Four at DAL: W DALLAS

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