Celtics vs Knicks: Back Boston's Offense at MSG

Action Network analyst Chris Baker breaks down how to bet Celtics vs Knicks on their season opener on Wednesday.

Celtics vs. Knicks Odds

Celtics Odds -3.5
Knicks Odds +3.5
Moneyline -162 / +136
Over/Under 225.5
Time Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Here’s everything you need to know about Celtics vs Knicks on their season opener — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.

The new-look Celtics travel to Madison Square Garden to take on the Knicks on opening night. Will the Celtics’ talent win out, or will the Knicks’ continuity be more important here?

Let’s get to our Celtics vs Knicks prediction and pick.

Celtics vs Knicks Prediction

The Knicks won the regular-season series 3-1 over the Celtics last year, but this is an entirely new season, and the Celtics are much improved year-over-year. The Celtics’ top-six players are Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday, Kristaps Porzingis, Al Horford and Derrick White, and they collectively might be the best six-man rotation the NBA has seen over the past few seasons.

This was already an elite Celtics team as they finished last season first in Net Rating (+6.9). Their starting five from last season had a Net Rating of +12.2, and that likely improves this season with Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis replacing Marcus Smart and Al Horford. Starting-five efficiency will be key in this matchup as the Knicks’ starting five wasn’t particularly dominant last season.

The Knicks thrived when Immanuel Quickley and Josh Hart were on the court, and overall their bench Net Rating was one of the best in the NBA. The Celtics should certainly have the edge among the starters, but the Knicks have significantly better depth, and that matters in a regular season game.

The Knicks bench consists of Josh Hart, Immanuel Quickley, Donte DiVincenzo and spot minutes from Deuce McBride. Hart and Quickley ranked 33rd and 34th in the NBA in WAR according to 538’s RAPTOR in 2022-2023. They were the second-most and third-most impactful Knicks according to RAPTOR last season.

Donte DiVincenzo quietly had a solid year as he finished 62nd in WAR, shot 40% from 3 and ranked in the 90th percentile in Steal Rate (2.1%), per Cleaning the Glass. The Knicks didn’t make splash moves like the Celtics did, but swapping Obi Toppin for DiVincenzo in the lineup is a significant upgrade.

The Knicks’ bench unit will likely face some combination of Payton Pritchard, Al Horford, Sam Hauser and Oshae Brissett. Consequently, New York will have an edge during these bench minutes, and this may present live-betting value if the Knicks starters struggle.

The Celtics offense should have an edge behind the 3-point line as the Knicks defense is designed to take away the rim. Boston ranked second in offensive 3-point Attempt Rate in 2022-2023 while the Knicks were 26th in defensive 3-point Attempt Rate Allowed.

This disparity likely will persist this season as the Celtics ranked first in offensive 3-point Attempt Rate (47.2%) during the preseason while the Knicks defense ranked last in defensive 3-point Attempt Rate Allowed (50.1%).

Expect the Celtics to get up plenty of 3s on Wednesday, and the Knicks could be in trouble if these shots fall. The Celtics shot below 35% in all three of their losses to the Knicks and shot 52.9% from deep in their win.

This total is hovering around 223.5, but these teams smashed that number in three of their four games last season. The Knicks ranked among the five slowest teams in Pace last season, but there is a clear edge for the Celtics offense here, and the Knicks always seem to find ways to get to their spots against this Celtics team.

Celtics vs Knicks Odds, Picks

I lean towards the Celtics on the spread but would rather play their team total over 113.5 points as their offense has a clear edge over the Knicks defense.

The Knicks’ starting defense has two really strong defenders in Quentin Grimes and Mitchell Robinson, but the rest of their starters are either average or poor defenders.

Additionally, Kristaps Porzingis should pull Robinson away from the paint, which should open up driving lanes for Tatum, Brown and Holiday. Robinson is a quality interior defender, but asking him to close out nonstop in pick-and-pop situations will put the Knicks defense in constant rotation.

While the Celtics bench is weaker than the Knicks bench, Pritchard and Hauser can certainly shoot the ball, and they will have enough offensive juice to maintain the scoring pace when some of the starters sit. Bet the Celtics team total over 113.5.

Pick: Celtics Team Total Over 113.5