NBA basketball returns to the Madison Square Garden in great fashion. We got the Celtics visiting the Knicks in what promises to be an excellent season opener for both teams. So, two bitter rivals face off in the first game of the season, but who exactly has the edge and why, let’s break it down.
Celtics Betting Preview:
Everybody knows that the preseason does not matter, but just to note, they went 2-2. They won the first two games but lost the next two. You know the usual, new coach, new system, but Jayson Tatum is still there, and this team will go as he goes. There is not much to be said other than that. It’s Tatum, and it’s Brown. Some excellent additions have been made in the likes of Josh Richardson and Denis Schroder, which in time should look fine; certainly, enough for the playoffs, but an early matchup vs. the Knicks might prove difficult for the Celtics. Their offense did not look as sharp in the preseason, and they might struggle to generate points, especially if Brown sits out this match. As of now, he is listed as a GTD decision. His role is an important one and him sitting out or playing makes a huge difference.
Knicks Betting Preview:
Oh, the Knicks, how brilliantly did they play to reach the playoffs only to fizzle out against the Hawks, which exposed their main flaw, shooting. The Knicks had nobody to take a shot, and some of those struggles will continue this year. Their best shooter by far, Bullock moved on, leaving a lot of bricks to be passed around. Kemba Walker did arrive, but how much of a plus remains to be seen, especially after further knee issues last season. The New York native, if healthy, should be a solid addition for a rotation that desperately needs a player like him. In terms of playstyle, Tibbs will do Tibbs, strong defense, low-scoring games, and dogfights every night. Some teams will buckle under that pressure, especially in Madison’s bright lights Madison but most teams with good offenses should, in theory, have their way with the Knicks.
Tatum – Randle
This matchup almost These players will not go at each other directly, but how their teams do will largely depend on how they do. If Jaylen Brown sits out, Tatum will need to have one of his heroic performances if the Celtics hope to leave Madison with a W. We are talking about 40+ points which will be tough against this defense. As for Randle, well, preseason showed just how much he is worth to the Knicks. They went 4-0, with Randle the best scorer, the most consistent rebounder, and the most reliable passer on nights. If he flirts with a triple-double, it could be interesting.
Boston offense vs. New York defense
This matchup will decide the game. Yes, it’s extensive, yes it’s very unusual to phrase it this way, but it really will come down to that. Boston did not show anything that would make anyone believe this will be a top 10 offense in the preseason. Very talented scorers in there but most of that comes down to iso play. Schroder is no Nash, and it’s hard to see this being a very fluent offense with a lot of motion. New York was a top 10 defense under Thibodeau last year, and it’s hard to see why that should change. Walker is not a great defender, but they should be able to hide him on most nights. Nerlens Noel is a big body in the center of the defense that does a lot of work for the team, so his GTD status is something to keep an eye on.
Knicks – Celtics betting lines
1,5 points favor the Knicks in this matchup, and that seems rather accurate. On paper, Boston should be the better team, but playing in Madison, they are pretty even. The over/under is set at 215,5, which seems a bit high considering it’s the first game of the season and the Knicks reputation of playing suffocating defense. The player’s efforts might not be as high as usual, with the fitness lacking a bit as well, so be sure to remember that.
Free Betting Pick
Okay, so this mostly comes down to how you look at it. If Brown plays, the odds should favor Boston despite him coming back from COVID-19. Boston will have a very tough time if he doesn’t play as Jayson Tatum won’t be enough alone. So keep an eye on the status of Brown and adjust accordingly. For now, I’m betting on the consistency of the Knicks with the same coach and same system. New York -1,5
When it comes to the over/under, it will once again come down to Brown. If he plays, the overlooks are enticing, but the under seems more likely if he doesn’t. It will largely depend on the defense’s effort, and in the first game of the season, that’s always tricky to gauge.