For the third time this season, the Boston Celtics are taking on the New York Knicks.
The last time the Celtics faced the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, they crushed their Eastern Conference foe in a 23-point victory that saw Tacko Fall log his first NBA action late in the blowout. A week later, the Knicks played the C's close at the TD Garden and lost by just two points.
Still, the C's (13-5) have won both games against the Knicks (4-15) and are favored once again in this contest. It's no surprise, as the talent gap between the two teams is wide, but the Knicks should remain competitive as they look to avenge their early-season losses to Boston.
And it is worth noting that the Celtics wins did come with a healthy Gordon Hayward, so maybe they won't be quite as strong against the Knicks without him.
I'm pinch-hitting for our normal pick maker, Darren Hartwell, who sports a 27-14-1 record on the season. Hopefully, I'll do better than I did the first time I stepped in for him.
Here are our betting predictions for Celtics-Knicks, along with two locks against the spread from Sunday's NBA slate.
(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)
Boston Celtics at New York Knicks, 3:30 p.m. ET
Get ready for Celtics-Knicks on Sunday with Celtics Pregame Live at 3 p.m., then Mike & Scal have the call at 3:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Boston, or you can stream them here through the MyTeams App.
Moneyline: The Celtics have already won twice against the Knicks and while one of the games was close, both came early in the season. The Celtics have played well, for the most part, this year and shouldn't have an issue dispatching the Knicks. Thus, the Celtics (-330) seems like the only pick here.
Point Spread: The Celtics opened as 7.5-point favorites against the Knicks but that has since had a minuscule drop to 7. While the Knicks have dropped five games in a row, their three home losses in that span have come by 6, 2, and 7 points. If the Knicks play hard out of the gate and the Celtics continue their early-game struggles in an afternoon clash, I think the Knicks (+7) may end up being the right side here as the C's may have to come from behind to win.
Point Total: The Knicks average 101.4 points per game which is good for second-worst in the NBA. The Celtics limited them to an average of 98.5 points in the two games they played earlier in the season. That number coupled with the slow-start potential of an afternoon game makes this a good bet to hit the UNDER on the 209.5 point total.
Jacob's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 0-3-0
NBA Locks of the Night
Oklahoma City Thunder (+2.5) at New Orleans Pelicans: The Pelicans have lost four consecutive games including the front leg of a home-and-home to the Thunder. While the Pelicans could have a chance to win on their home court, the Thunder are simply playing better ball right now and came very close to beating the Clippers and the Lakers (twice). They could win outright, so that makes them a solid pick here.
Dallas Mavericks (+6) at Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers are on a great 10-game winning streak, but they haven't exactly played the toughest competition during this time and have had some close calls. The Mavericks lost by 9 to the Lakers earlier in the season, but Luka Doncic has been red-hot as of late. They should be able to make this a one-possession game even if they can't emerge victoriously.
Jacob's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 1-1-0
Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Knicks, which tips off Sunday at 3 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 3:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.