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NBA Betting, Oct 20 Picks: Celtics vs Knicks, O/U 217.5 Total

Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown

Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

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Did you know the Under between the Celtics and Knicks has cashed five of the last six times (83.3%) and seven of the previous 10 (70%)? NBC’s Edge Finder did.

These squads met three times last season and failed to score more than 200 points in all three games. That was without fans. Madison Square Garden will be nuts.


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Nothing changes when these teams meet in New York, as the Under hit four of the last five (80%) meetings.

The last time Boston opened the season on the road, they lost 107-93 to Philly. The time before that? A loss to LeBron James’ Cavaliers 102-99.

This will be New York’s first season-opener since October 17, 2018 versus Atlanta. New York won 126-107. The last time before 2018 that the Knicks opened the season at was 2014, a 104-80 loss to Chicago.

A season-opener at Madison Square Garden does not happen to often, so expect the crowd to play a role.

Both squads were defensive-minded last season. New York led the NBA with 104.7 points per game surrendered and Boston, 11th with 111.2.

The Celtics are going through a coaching change with Brad Stevens leaving his role as head coach to President of Basketball Operations.

That could change a few things for Boston. I thought Stevens was an offensive genius at times, especially out of a timeout or inbound situation, so I feel comfortable with an Under game total with new head coach, Ime Udoka, adjusting to his team and opponent.

New York has the most defensive-minded head coach in the league, Tom Thibodeau. He is so defensive-minded that they averaged 107.0 points per game on offense, ranking 26th in the NBA, while leading the NBA in defensive points per game allowed.

Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier are the big names in this matchup for a revenge angle versus the Celtics. Those two will benefit the Under, in my opinion, as Julius Randle could suffer from Walker’s ball dominance. Walker’s O/U is set at 4.5 and that’s appealing considering he will want to get buckets against his former squad.

Jaylen Brown is questionable and will go through walk-throughs after passing the NBA’s COVID protocols.

Al Horford also tested positive for COVID during the preseason from being around Brown -- Horford was ruled out.

Outside of Brown and Jayson Tatum, the forward depth is Josh Richardson and Grant Williams for Boston.

At the guard position behind Dennis Schroder and Marcus Smart is Payton Pritchard, Romeo Langford and Aaron Nesmith (G/F). We could be getting excellent value on the total, especially if Brown is out.

Either way, I like a defensive battle and expect both teams to struggle for 110 points with New York setting the tone.

Pick: Under 217.5 (2u)

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