NBA Odds & Predictions

Thursday Night NBA Pick: Celtics vs. Knicks Prediction

Jessica Gridiron
In our Thursday night NBA prediction, we take a look at the NBA odds and provide a pick for tonight's Celtics vs. Knicks game on FanDuel Sportsbook.
In our Thursday night NBA prediction, we take a look at the NBA odds and provide a pick for tonight's Celtics vs. Knicks game on FanDuel Sportsbook. / Maddie Malhotra/GettyImages

Atlantic Division rivals face off in tonight's Thursday Night NBA showdown. The stumbling Boston Celtics travel to the disappointing home of the New York Knicks in tonight's prime-time battle. In this forecast, let's dive into the Celtics vs. Knicks matchup and determine the best bet for this Thursday Night NBA prediction.

Thursday Night NBA Pick: Celtics vs. Knicks Prediction

This season, Boston is a disappointment compared to their expectations entering the season. They own an 18-20 overall record and have been exceptionally bad on the road, going 7-12 on the season.

New York started the season extremely hot but has come back down to earth. They enter this game with the same 18-20 overall record as Boston while going 8-11 at Madison Square Garden. These two teams met three weeks ago in Boston, and the Celtics dominated the fourth quarter en route to a 114-107 victory.

Beantown Business

The Celtics enter this game on the back end of a back-to-back. Superstar Jaylen Brown missed a driving layup as time was expiring as Boston fell to the San Antonio Spurs by a final of 99-97. Boston and New York both sit tied at the basement of the Atlantic Division, looking up at the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and Toronto Raptors.

Boston's offense ranks 23rd overall in effective field goal percentage (eFG%) and top 10 in offensive rebounding and free throw rate. The Celtics' one area that could improve is their turnover rate (TO%), ranking 15th overall. They operate at a slow pace, so this offense isn't predicated on speed and needs to hit their shots to be successful. Boston is not missing any key players due to health and safety protocols or injuries that bodes well tonight.

Defensively, Boston comes into this game with a top 10 defense. They are seventh overall at defensive eFG% and rank top 14 at defensive rebounds and turnover rate. As with their offensive TO%, they rank 19th overall at causing turnovers on defense and could improve in that area. The Celtics are an efficient team if they can control the eFG% on both sides of the ball.

Bing Bong No More

After their 5-1 start to the season, New York has stumbled to a 13-19 record the remainder of the way. They struggled to figure out how to improve their team, benching Kemba Walker at times while starting him others. The dominant defense from a year ago has disappeared, and the Knicks look completely disinterested at times.

Offensively, New York enters this game with an average offense. They rank 23rd in eFG%, get plenty of offensive rebounds (9th), and get to the free-throw line at a top 10 rate in the league. They are one of the slowest teams in the league in pace, and their poor eFG% doesn't help the cause. They will be facing an elite defensive eFG% team in Boston tonight and will have their work cut out for them.

On defense, New York is also middle of the road. Their defensive eFG% ranks 8th overall, but that's where any positive notes end. The Knicks are 25th at causing turnovers and 13th at defensive free throw rate. As on offense, the Knicks' half-court style of play hasn't delivered promising results this season. This game may come down to how well these two teams can shoot the ball in tonight's matchup.

Celtics vs. Knicks Prediction and Pick

As mentioned before, New York is far from dominant at home with an 8-11 record overall and 7-12 ATS at The Garden. Although the Celtics own a 7-12 straight-up record on the road, they boast a 10-9 ATS record. This game will be a low-scoring defensive battle with two top 10 defenses regarding eFG% and two offenses in the bottom 10 in offensive eFG%. Boston has more firepower with an essentially healthy roster, while New York will be missing both Walker and Derrick Rose in tonight's matchup. Considering the game script of this being a low-scoring affair, I'll bypass the 2.5 point spread and take the Celtics on the moneyline at -134 at the FanDuel Sportsbook.

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