The Celtics and Knicks prepare to renew a classic Eastern conference rivalry on Monday night. The New York-Boston matchup has been even as of late, with each team winning five times in the last ten they have played, including splitting the wins against the spread. This will be the third out of four times the Celtics play the Knicks this year, with each team winning a game on the road so far.
The Celtics rely heavily on their stars, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, as they are the only team in the NBA with two players in the top ten for usage rate this season. Brown has been ruled out due to personal reasons so the Celtics will have to go without him for the twelfth time this year. Brown has been an integral part of the Celtics astounding season, and has helped them to the best record in the NBA while scoring 26.5 points per game with a 58.4% true shooting percentage. Boston has done well without Brown however, going 9-2 this season when he is sidelined.
Date: Monday, February 27
Time: 7:30 P.M., EST.
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
Here are our favorite bets for this matchup:
Celtics -2 (-115, DraftKings)
The Celtics are having yet another exceptional year after making the finals last year. They are 44-17, the best record in the NBA, but are now only a half game ahead of the Bucks for the top seed in the East amidst Milwaukee’s 14 game win streak. The C’s have the best NBA championship odds at +300 (Borgata). In their last ten games, Boston is 8-2 ATS, with an average point differential of 9 points per game.
The Knicks are having an impressive season themselves, but have surprisingly performed poorly at home this year. Playing at Madison Square Garden, the most historic arena in the United States, comes with its challenges. Every opposing player who plays at the Garden tries to bring their A-game under the bright lights of New York City. As a result, home wins have been difficult to come by for the Knicks this year. They are 14-16-2 ATS when playing at the Garden.
The line opened at -5, but has moved to -2 since the news that Brown will not play was released. Brown being out is not necessarily a bad thing for Celtics bettors, as they are 10-1 ATS when he doesn’t play this year. With the lower two point spread, -115 is solid value for those odds.
Tatum is having his best year of his career, leading the Celtics with 30.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, while being named an All-Star for the fourth time in his career.
Tatum will be playing without Jaylen Brown for the tenth time this year. In those games, Tatum’s usage rate jumps up three percent to 35.7%, and his points per game goes up to 34.2, including going over 31.5 points seven times. Shot attempts will not be hard to come by as Tatum is putting up 23.1 shots per game in Brown’s absences this year.
Over 222.5 Total Points (-110, DraftKings)
The Celtics and Knicks boast two of the best offenses in the NBA, with both teams being top six in offensive rating, and the Celtics scoring the third most points per game.
The over has hit in four out of the Knicks’ last six games, and 19 out of 32 games they have played at home this year. The total has gone over in five out of Boston’s last six games, and four out of the last five times they have played at New York. If you are looking for how to bet on over/unders, check out our NBA betting guide to learn more.