The Indiana Pacers will attempt to stave off a three-game deficit in the Western Conference Finals on Saturday when they host the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of their best-of-seven series. The No. 6-seeded Pacers have reached the conference finals for the first time in 10 years, but their breakout season could be headed toward an endi unless they get back in the series with a Game 3 victory. They haven't lost on their home floor since November, but the Celtics are undefeated on the road in the 2024 NBA playoffs. Kristaps Porzingis (calf) remains out for Boston. Tyrese Haliburton (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Indiana, though he reportedly won't play in this one

The game from Gainbridge Fieldhouse will tip off at 8:30 p.m. ET. Boston is a 7.5-point favorite in the latest Pacers vs. Celtics odds from SportsLine consensus, while the over/under for total points scored is 222.5. Before making any Celtics vs. Pacers picks, be sure to check out the NBA predictions and betting advice from the SportsLine Projection Model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters the conference finals in the 2024 NBA playoffs on a sizzling 94-61 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning more than $2,800. Anyone following the model has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Pacers vs. Celtics and just locked in its picks and NBA playoff predictions. You can visit SportsLine now to see the model's picks. Here are the NBA betting lines and trends for Celtics vs. Pacers:

  • Celtics vs. Pacers spread: Celtics -7.5
  • Celtics vs. Pacers over/under: 222.5
  • Celtics vs. Pacers money line: Celtics -311, Pacers +247
  • BOS: The Celtics are 21-18-3 against the spread as a road favorite this season.
  • IND: The Pacers are 37-26-3 ATS when playing with one day of rest.
  • Celtics vs. Pacers picks: See picks at SportsLine

Why the Celtics can cover

The Celtics have made just one NBA Finals appearance since 2010, and many basketball observers have voiced the belief that the dynamic tandem of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were at least partly to blame because both have at times struggled to produce when it matters most. Tatum is still hearing those whispers and hasn't done a lot to dispel them, going 2-for-10 in the fourth quarter of Game 1 before eventually making some key plays in overtime. Tatum was also quiet for much of Game 2 before finishing with 23 points, many of which came late in the second half with the outcome already in hand.

But Brown, who is now the NBA's highest-paid player after signing a five-year, $286 million extension before the season, is starting to alter some perceptions. He memorably hit the corner 3-pointer with time expiring in Game 1 to force overtime before finishing with 26 points. In Game 2, he was the most dominant player on the court, repeatedly scoring in the open floor or from the perimeter in the 20-0 spurt that gave the Celtics control. He finished with a game-high 40 points.

Brown failed to be named to any of the All-NBA teams this season, and those close to him have suggested the lack of recognition motivated him to have a memorable postseason. "He cares about the right stuff, but I think stuff like that motivates him," Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. See which team to pick here.

Why the Pacers can cover 

Even without Haliburton, the Pacers have shown they have enough depth to get by even without their best player. Haliburton has had numerous games during the 2024 NBA playoffs in which he fell short of his season average of 20.9 points, and the Pacers managed to win regardless. One such example came in Game 6 of their second-round series against the Knicks in which he scored just 15 points, tied for third best on the team with two others. The Pacers won 116-103 to force Game 7 in New York.

A big part of Indiana's depth lies in a versatile backcourt that has helped pick up the slack. Second-year point guard Andrew Nembhard has developed into a consistent contributor who isn't afraid of the big moment. He is averaging 13.1 points per game in the 2024 NBA Playoffs, up from his average of 9.1 in the regular season. Veteran reserve T.J. McConnell also has stepped forward with averages of 10.2 points and 5.5 assists in the postseason. See which team to pick here.

How to make Pacers vs. Celtics picks

SportsLine's model is leaning Under on the point total, projecting 221 combined points. It has also generated an against-the-spread pick that hits in well over 50% of simulations. You can only get the model's picks at SportsLine.

So who wins Pacers vs. Celtics, and which side of the spread hits in well over 50% of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Celtics vs. Pacers spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that has returned more than $2,800 on its NBA picks this season, and find out.