Celtics vs. Knicks Predictions, Odds, Preview

May 16, 2021
by Jonathan Willis
NBA Expert

The New York Knicks are currently in line for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks look set to outlast the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat to earn home court advantage in its first round series, and the right to dodge either Brooklyn or Milwaukee.

A win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday would ensure the Knicks of the No. 4 seed, and the Celtics don’t have anything on the line after being locked into the play-in tournament as the No. 7 seed.

Celtics vs. Knicks Betting Resources

Betting Odds - Celtics vs. Knicks

Line Movements

Subject to Change

  • Spread: Knicks -8.5
  • Money-Line: New York -375, Boston +290
  • Total: 216.5

The Celtics are locked into the seventh seed and a spot in the play-in tournament starting on Tuesday. (AP)

Celtics vs. Knicks Current Form-Last Game

In early April, the Knicks’ chances of making it to the postseason were up in the air. They were two games under .500 after a loss to the Celtics on April 7, but that’s when Julius Randle and the Knicks put together the best run of the 2020-21 season.

They won nine straight games before losing to the Phoenix Suns on April 26, and that set the Knicks up to finally break their playoff drought.

New York has won six of their last nine games coming into their regular season finale. The Knicks lost road games to Denver, Phoenix, and the Los Angeles Lakers, but they knocked off Memphis and the Clippers to show they can beat quality teams on the road.

They returned home on Thursday and knocked off San Antonio 102-98 before Saturday’s afternoon matinee against the Charlotte Hornets.

Randle had one of his best games of the season with 33 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists in a 118-109 overtime win. Nerlens Noel had five blocks on defense and Reggie Bullock went 5-of-9 beyond the arc in the victory.

The Celtics are reeling right now. They lost nine of 13 games and four in a row prior to their win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.

They lost star guard Jaylen Brown for the rest of the season too, and they won’t have him available for the entirety of the playoffs.

Boston was able to knock off Minnesota on Saturday afternoon though. The Celtics led by 19 points at halftime and cruised to a 124-108 win over the Timberwolves.

Jayson Tatum had 26 points and 11 rebounds, but the Celtics gave a lot of lightly used players big minutes otherwise. That was evidenced by Luke Kornet playing more minutes than any other Boston player.

Celtics vs. Knicks Head-to-Head

  • Apr. 7, 2021 - Celtics 101 vs. Knicks 99, New York +3, Under 208
  • Jan. 17, 2021 - Knicks 105 at Celtics 75, New York +7, Under 210

In the first game between these teams this season, the Knicks hammered the Celtics, 105-75. Boston had a hard time creating offense without Tatum, and the only player with more than 10 points was Brown.

Meanwhile, both Randle and R.J. Barrett posted double-doubles for the Knicks.

The Celtics edged the Knicks, 101-99 last month, but Boston failed to cash as three-point favorites. Brown was once again the Celtics’ top scorer with 32 points, and he and Tatum outdueled Randle and Barrett.

(SU-Straight Up, ATS - Against the Spread, OU - Over-Under)

Boston Celtics Betting Outlook

Inside the Stats (2020-2021)

  • Overall: 36-35 SU, 32-38-1 ATS, 37-34 OU
  • Road: 15-20 SU, 15-20 ATS, 19-16 OU

We might see a lot of unfamiliar faces on the floor for Boston. The Celtics don’t have anything to play for since they are locked into the No. 7 seed. They sat guards Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart, along with centers Tristan Thompson and Robert Williams III on Saturday, and all four players won’t play on Sunday either.

Evan Fournier will see a lot more action. Boston acquired him from Orlando at the trade deadline in order to shore up the backcourt.

Fournier is averaging just 12.7 PPG in his 15 games with Boston, but he is making 44.8% of his threes. He has seen a lot more action over the last week and has scored at least 15 points in seven straight games.

Rookie Payton Pritchard is going to be on the court a lot more too. Pritchard is averaging 7.7 PPG, but he has scored in double digits the last two games.

The former Oregon Duck has made 41.6% of his threes this season, and there’s a decent chance head coach Brad Stevens asks for more from him in order to ready Pritchard for the playoffs.

New York Knicks Betting Outlook

Inside the Stats (2020-2021)

  • Overall: 40-31 SU, 46-25-1 ATS, 32-39 OU
  • Home: 24-11 SU, 22-12-1 ATS, 17-18 OU

It’s been a pleasure to watch Randle thrive this season. He has been superb in his first season under Tom Thibodeau. Randle leads the Knicks in points (24.0 PPG), rebounds (10.2 RPG), and assists (5.9 APG).

Thibodeau is likely to give him a bit of a rest with the playoffs on the horizon though, as Randle has played 44, 45, and 46 minutes in his last three games.

Barrett is averaging 17.6 PPG as the second leading scorer on the Knicks. He has struggled over his last three games though, averaging 13.7 PPG while making less than a third of his field goals.

However, the former Duke standout has still improved markedly on his rookie season, as he made just 40.2% of his field goals and 32% of his threes last year.

Aside from Randle and Barrett, there are four other quality three-point shooters on the team. Bullock, Derrick Rose, Alec Burks, and Immanuel Quickley have all made at least 39.5% of their threes.

That’s why the Knicks are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the league, sinking 38.5% of their treys.

Defense has turned around the fortunes of this team. The Knicks rank first in opponent shooting percentage, opponent three-point shooting percentage, and scoring defense. That’s why New York is set to make its first playoff appearance in eight years.

Key Injuries

Boston Celtics

  • SG Jaylen Brown: Wrist - Out
  • C Tristan Thompson: Pectoral - Questionable
  • PG Kemba Walker: Neck - Questionable
  • C Robert Williams III: Toe - Questionable
  • PG Marcus Smart: Calf - Questionable

New York Knicks

  • C Mitchell Robinson: Foot - Out

Celtics vs. Knicks Prediction

With nothing of importance on the line, New York will easily handle Boston in its regular season finale.

Score Prediction: Knicks 112, Celtics 103
Best Bet: New York -8.5