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Tipico One-Play Payday (Feb. 26)

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Friday is finally here, and if you frequent FTN Bets, then you know what that means — another “One-Play Payday.”

If you aren’t familiar, every Friday FTN Bets and I will bring you the “One-Play Payday” on Tipico Sportsbook — one play, whether it be a spread, total or moneyline, that stands out as a rock-solid play for the Friday NBA slate, to help sweeten what’s already one of the best days of the week.

Today’s one-play payday is the Indiana Pacers +3.5 against the Boston Celtics. This spread would have made sense a year ago, as these teams were cemented in a bloodbath, fighting it out for the 3/4/5 seeds in the Eastern Conference, but this season has been a tale of two teams.

The Celtics have been downright abysmal over the last six weeks. Since Jan. 17, they’ve won consecutive games only once (over the course of 21 games), with a record of 7-14 over that span. Even more recently, they’ve dropped three consecutive games while allowing 119 points per game over that span while ranking fourth-worst in the NBA in defensive efficiency). Sure, they come into this game at home where they’re 9-4 against the spread this season, but they’re still under .500 against the spread on the season (15-17) as a whole.

The Pacers are also not a team that should be taken lightly, especially by a struggling team looking to snap a three-game skid. The two-man combination of Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis should be able to have their ways with the Celtics defense, as Brogdon matches up with Kemba Walker (60th out of 83 qualified point guards in defensive real plus/minus), while Sabonis draws a matchup with an interior that ranks in the bottom half of the NBA against six of his seven player traits, per FTN’s advanced DvP tool.

As a team as well, the Pacers have been impressive, posting the seventh-highest defensive efficiency metric in the league over the last three games, while winning three of their last five games. With both teams coming off of a loss, they’ll both be hungry to right the ship. This helps ensure a potentially close game (as Vegas seems to see it playing out), but given how putrid Boston’s form is, I feel great getting the Pacers as 3.5-point underdogs here, as their moneyline has a ton of potential to be a good value depending on where it ends up before the game tips off.

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