Edwards has plays on side and total for G1 of ECF

Edwards has plays on side and total for G1 of ECF

As of Tuesday morning, most books had Boston (72-20 straight up, 47-40-5 against the spread) installed as a 10-point home favorite vs. Indiana in tonight’s Eastern Conference finals opener. The total was 221.5 points at many spots, but the number was 221 at DraftKings and 222 at South Point. The Pacers were +330 to +380 (BetOnline) on the money line.

FanDuel has the Celtics as -1100 ‘chalk’ to win the series, leaving Indiana (55-41 SU, 51-41-3 ATS) as a +700 underdog. There are adjusted prices for gamblers looking to back Joe Mazzulla’s squad at cheaper options.

For instance, Boston has just a -144 price at -2.5 games, meaning it would have to win the series in four or five games. The Pacers are +2.5 for a +118 payout. The Celtics are -1.5 games at a -340 price and -3.5 for a +340 return.

Boston needed only five games to get past Miami in the first round and Cleveland in the East semifinals. However, the Heat were forced to play the entire series without their star guard Jimmy Butler. The Cavs were in a similar situation when Donovan Mitchell, who had scored 33, 29 and 33 points in the first three games of the series (and 39 and 50 in Games 6 and 7 vs. Orlando in the first round), was forced to miss Games 4 and 5 due to an injury.

Miami and Cleveland both won outright at Boston in Game 2 when they were listed as double-digit underdogs.

The Celtics are 5-7-2 ATS with four outright losses in their last 14 games as double-digit favorites. They are still playing without Kristaps Porzingis, who is nursing a calf strain.

In 57 regular-season games this year, Porzingis averaged 20.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.9 blocked shots per game. He hit 51.6 percent of his field-goal attempts, 37.5 percent of his 3-pointers and 85.8 percent of his free throws.

The C’s are 3-3 ATS with two outright defeats in six home games during the postseason to date.

Indiana (55-41 SU, 51-41-3 ATS) has thrived as an underdog this year, producing a 28-18-2 ATS record with 25 outright victories. Rick Carlisle’s team made itself at home in Madison Square Garden as a 2.5-point road underdog in Sunday’s Game 7 against the Knicks.

The Pacers raced out to a 39-27 lead at New York by the end of the first quarter and scored 70 first-half points to take a 15-point halftime lead. From there, they coasted to a 130-109 win.

Tyrese Haliburton buried 10-of-17 field-goal attempts and 6-of-12 hoists from 3-point range and finished with 26 points, six assists, four rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot. Pascal Siakam added 20 points, four boards, four assists, one steal and one block, while Andrew Nembhard contributed 20 points, six assists and five rebounds.

Aaron Nesmith drained 8-of-8 FGAs and both of his 3-pointers in a 19-point effort. Myles Turner produced 17 points, five rebounds and four blocked shots, while T.J. McConnell had another solid performance with 12 points, seven assists, two rebounds, one block and one steal.

Boston went 3-2 SU but only 2-3 ATS in five head-to-head meetings between these teams during the regular season.

The Pacers covered the spread in a 129-124 loss at Boston as eight-point road underdogs in the last matchup on Jan. 30. They won outright by a 133-131 count vs. the Celtics as 3.5-point home underdogs when they met on Jan. 8.

Indiana downed Boston 122-112 as a 4.5-point home ‘dog on Dec. 4. Haliburton was the catalyst, posting a triple double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists without a turnover in a flawless performance.

We’ll concede that Boston took it to Indiana in a pair of double-digit wins earlier in the year. But in a loss at Boston on Nov. 1, Haliburton was out injured, and the Pacers made merely 5-of-37 launches from 3-point land (14%) and just 5-of-12 free throws (58%).

We’ll also note how both of the double-digit defeats came before Indiana traded for Siakam, who is now the club’s second-best player behind Haliburton.

The ‘over’ cashed at a 3-2 clip in the five encounters between these teams during the regular season, with the three ‘overs’ producing combined scores of 253, 264 and 259 points. The totals in the five games were 249, 246.5, 250.5, 245.5 and 234 points, so we’re dealing with a number that’s 24.5 points South of the lowest total in the three most recent head-to-head meetings.

The ‘over’ is on an 18-9 run for the Celtics in their last 27 contests, and the ‘over’ is 13-5 for Indiana in its last 18 contests.

PREDICTIONS: ‘OVER’ 221 for one unit and Pacers +10 for 0.5 units.