The Boston Celtics will look to snap their two-game losing streak tonight as they’ll host the New York Knicks. We’ll preview the game before going over why I’m targeting a first-half bet in this one.
On Tuesday night, the New York Knicks were able to get back into the win column after they had lost four straight games. During that five-game stretch, the Knicks had a NET rating of -7.6, as they had one of their worst defensive stretches of the season during the losing streak.
Allowing second-chance points became a significant issue during the Knicks losing streak, as they allowed an average of 20.6 second-chance points per game in their last five. On the season, New York has been a solid rebounding team, but in their previous five games, opposing teams brought in an average of 43.8 total rebounds per game and 14.6 offensive rebounds per game, which was the most in the league.
On the offensive end, Julius Randle took matters into his own hands to end the losing streak as he had 36 points against the Cavs, including eight made three-pointers. He will need to put together another big game tonight against a Celtics team that will likely come out highly motivated to end their losing streak.
Boston has only scored under 100 points in four games this season, and two of those games have come in the last week. In those two games, the Celtics only managed to shoot 43.3% from the field while averaging 17.5 turnovers. This is uncharacteristic since Boston is ranked 5th in turnovers per game this season.
Defensively, the Celtics played well in their last game, holding the Miami Heat to 98 points, but their offensive shortcomings were too much to overcome, as they only managed to score 95 points. Boston’s defensive rating in their last five games is ranked fourth in the league, so once the offense starts to shoot it better, they should be back on track.
For my play in this one, I’ll be targeting the Knicks 1H spread of +5. Despite recent struggles, the Knicks are 7-3 ATS in the first half, giving bettors 34.86% ROI in those games. Conversely, Boston is 3-7 ATS in the first half of their last ten home games.
New York is second in the league this season in opponent first-quarter scoring as they’ve held teams to an average of 27.2 points. They are also 12th in the league in first quarter, scoring themselves, and 8th in second quarter, scoring, so they have done an excellent job this season coming out of the gate strong. Boston ranks 17th in the NBA in second-quarter points allowed, and with how their offense has looked recently, they could be due for another slow start.
Not having Marcus Smart in their previous two games has proven to be a problem on both ends of the floor, and they will be without him again tonight. New York not having to deal with Smart on defense is a big advantage for them, so I like them to keep it within the number in the first half.
New York Knicks 1H (+5)