🏀 Is Boston Too Big a Favorite?

The Celtics and Pacers kick off the Eastern Conference Finals with Game 1 at TD Garden tonight. The C's are the clear favorite, but Indy is rolling right now and might not be getting the love they deserve 🫡 (2 min read)

Can Indy Shock the World?

After a thrilling Conference semifinals series vs. New York, punctuated by a historically efficient outing in Game 7, the Pacers are riding high as they enter Boston with the Eastern Conference title on the line. Indiana’s Conference Finals run is one of the most unlikely in recent memory, and has many calling out the East as a subpar conference and touting Boston’s path as a “cakewalk” (now -1100 to make the finals) 🤔

  • However, while the Celtics would be deservedly slandered for losing this series as the favorite, we need to give the Pacers their due

  • Indiana benefitted from some injury luck (as did Boston) in these playoffs, but their victories were nonetheless convincing. Plus, they had a historical regular season to back it up

Boston will of course present a different level of competition for Indiana, as evidenced by their status as the only offensively superior team this year (or any year!). But to take the Pacers lightly heading into this matchup would be a fool’s errand, as they have proven their mettle on the biggest stage. Indiana has one of the league’s brightest young stars in Tyrese Haliburton, a true floor general who raises the ceilings of his teammates 💪

  • What we saw in Game 7 was a masterclass of the highest order, with each player empowered to thrive in the Pacers’ dynamic offensive system. It’s impossible to overstate just how historic of a performance we witnessed

While Haliburton is the engine that drives the Pacers’ offense, it’s the well-rounded nature of this machine that makes it such a threat. Pascal Siakam has proved to be a more than capable co-star, fitting in seamlessly since his midseason acquisition and providing the championship experience which Indiana was sorely lacking 🏆

  • The Pacers’ greatest advantage over the Knicks was not their star power, but rather their legion of capable role players

  • TJ McConnell, Aaron Nesmith and former Knick Obi Toppin all showed out at different points throughout the series. Nesmith has a chance to join Toppin this round in exacting revenge on franchises that drafted and ultimately traded them 👀

While all of the points above belie Indiana’s status as a legitimate competitor, none of these facts discount Boston’s claim as prohibitive favorite. I think the national media is actually underselling Boston’s prestige, in claiming that Western Conference juggernauts like the Nuggets and Timberwolves were stronger title favorites than the Celtics. Boston has proven themselves as the best team in the NBA all year, and the stats back it up ☘️

  • In addition to boasting the top offensive rating of all time, the Celtics ranked third league-wide in defensive rating

  • They are truly one of the most well-rounded squads we’ve ever seen — take a look at their insane lead in net rating 👇

Of course, Boston has fumbled away all of its equity in the public eye after so many lengthly playoff runs without a championship. This is what happens when a team establishes a track record of consistent excellence — a championship is needed to validate their place in league history. Celtics fans should view it as a privilege, rather than a curse, that the media gives their team such little leeway 🫡

  • As with every Boston playoff run, the games will ultimately come down to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown solidifying their claim as the league’s top duo. This series presents an opportunity to tune out the negativity and show out vs. a less than stellar defensive opponent

  • Spread: Celtics -10

  • Moneyline: Celtics -480, Pacers +370

  • Over/Under: 220.5

Trivia Question: When was the last time the Pacers reached the NBA Finals?

For My Parlay Gurus

The spread indicates a clear lack of faith in Indiana — I’ve already stated why I think this attitude underestimates the Pacers’ offensive power. While I see Boston ultimately prevailing in Game 1, look for a closer margin of victory than Vegas is predicting 👇

  • Pacers +10 @ Celtics: -110

  • OVER 220.5 Total Points Scored: -112

$100 on this bet would win you $242 — if we hit, make sure you email [email protected] for a chance to win an Overtime hoodie*. Many will enter, only some will win 😉

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Trivia Answer: The Pacers last Finals appearance came in 2000, where they fell in six games to the Lakers

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