2024 NBA playoffs: Three bets for Pacers-Celtics Game 1

How much pressure is on Jayson Tatum to lead the Celtics to a title? (1:28)

Alan Hahn and Austin Rivers discuss the pressure Jayson Tatum is under to produce a championship for the Celtics. (1:28)

The Eastern Conference finals begin Tuesday night, and the Boston Celtics (64-18, 43-35-4 ATS) are under immense pressure. Sure, things have gone their way throughout this year's playoffs as they avoided Jimmy Butler and Jarrett Allen, and only faced Donovan Mitchell for two games. Still, anything less than an NBA championship this year would be suboptimal for Boston, and we might see that urgency on the court tonight against an Indiana Pacers (47-35, 44-36-2 ATS) team that has exceeded expectations.

Let's dive into some best bets for Game 1 (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET).

Basketball Power Index by ESPN Analytics. Injury aggregation by Rotowire.com. Odds by ESPN BET

Best bet: Jaylen Brown over 24.5 points.

The Pacers likely won't be able to slow down the Celtics' offense in Game 1. Boston is healthy, deep, and poised to make Indiana face some difficult decisions. Do the Pacers double-team Jayson Tatum, or do they single-cover him and Jaylen Brown and live with the outcome? The beauty of the Celtics is that whether they slow down the pace or embrace it, they are versatile enough to win. Brown is positioned to have a great series, especially considering how well he has played lately. He has surpassed 24.5 points in three of his past five games while shooting 59% from the floor. Expect Brown to be aggressive and attack the basket in this series.

Best bet: Tyrese Haliburton under 32.5 points, rebounds and assists.

Jrue Holiday and Derrick White are going to cause chaos for Haliburton in this series. The Knicks' defense had success containing him until they ran out of gas. The Celtics should be able to target Haliburton on pick-and-rolls, exploiting his weak defense, forcing him to burn energy and limiting his impact offensively. Haliburton went under 32.5 points, rebounds and assists in three of his past four games, and the Celtics have done a great job limiting opposing point guards all season.

Best bet: Myles Turner over 15.5 points and 1.5 total 3s made.

Turner has the best matchup for Indiana in this series, especially with Kristaps Porzingis injured. I'd be surprised if Indiana doesn't exploit Boston's frontcourt. Turner has scored over 15.5 points in four of his past five games, averaging 10.2 field goal attempts and 31.1 minutes per game over that span. He has also surpassed 1.5 triples in four of those five games, averaging 4.2 3-point attempts per game.