Is It Time For NBA Bettors To Notice The Indiana Pacers?
While the Milwaukee Bucks have rolled to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and even Philadelphia 76ers are getting backing from bettors.
Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers wait in the weeds.
The Pacers are right in the mix with the rest of the Eastern elite but haven’t garnered much support in NBA futures odds. Here is a breakdown of the Pacers’ chances at postseason success in the upcoming 2020 NBA Playoffs.
Success vs. The Best
The Pacers are an impressive 42-26 and No. 5 in the Eastern Conference. But they haven’t matched up with the other top teams in the East.
Versus the Bucks, Raptors, Celtics, Heat and 76ers combined, Indiana was just 3-10 before the restart. One of those wins was against the Bucks without Giannis Antetokounmpo; Milwaukee beat Indiana by 19 and 25 when he played. The Pacers edged the Raptors in overtime one meeting, but lost the other three, including one 46-point drubbing. The Pacers were swept by the Heat, which as of now would be a first-round, 4 vs. 5 matchup.
Indiana will have to reverse its trends against the other good teams in the East if it is to make any noise in the playoffs.
The Oladipo Factor
Victor Oladipo is regarded as the most-complete player on the Pacers’ roster. But Indiana had more success this season when he was shelved with a quad injury.
Prior to the restart, Oladipo played just 13 games before the coronavirus halted the season. Indiana went only 7-6 in those games. In the 52 games he didn’t play before that, the Pacers were 32-20.
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Oladipo originally wasn’t going to come to Orlando, but changed his mind at the last minute. It’s paid off for the Pacers, who have upended the 76ers, Wizards and Magic in a strong 3-0 run.
TJ Warren has been a big reason why. He has scored no fewer than 32 points in the three restart games, including a massive 53-point effort on 20-of-28 shooting in a big win over the Sixers on Aug. 1.
Warren will need to keep it up and become that consistent third-scoring option. It doesn’t appear the team’s top big man will return to the bubble.
Domantas Sabonis aggravated a foot injury in training and is out indefinitely. His 18.5 ppg ranks second only to Warren, his 54% shooting ranks first and his 12.4 rebounds per game is nearly double anyone else on the squad (Myles Turner is No. 2 at 6.5 rpg). He’s also No. 2 in assists.
The Pacers have done well without him so far, but it’s going to be an issue longterm without their star post presence, especially on the glass against teams with size such as the Bucks, Raptors and 76ers.
Turner on if he expects Sabonis to be back: "I'm playing with the mentality he won't be back. I'm preparing for the worst." #PacersSpurs— J. Michael (@ThisIsJMichael) July 28, 2020
Buy Or Sell Pacers?
The Pacers have been under-regarded all season in NBA betting and it has shown up at the counters. The Pacers have covered the spread in 11 of their last 14 games. They were an underdog in six of those. The Over has hit in seven of nine, too, as the offense hasn’t gained enough respect either.
With Sabonis out of the mix, Indiana was an underdog in two of its three restart games — and won them both. It was a big favorite against the Wizards but covered there, too.
Continue buying the Pacers on a day-to-day basis during this regular season in Orlando.
Eastern Conference +6600 (BetMGM)
If the Pacers end up as the No. 4 seed or the No. 5 seed as expected, that likely offers a first-round matchup with the Miami Heat, who defeated the Pacers in both regular-season matchups.
If they rise to No. 3, that means a showdown with the Sixers, who the Pacers beat in Orlando but lost to twice prior.
Without Sabonis in the mix, it’s going to be tough for Indiana against either side in a full series. Sell on the Pacers to win the East at BetMGM.
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NBA Title +10000 (Caesars)
Too many obstacles, too much uncertainty and that’s why they are a longshot in latest NBA title odds. Having Oladipo helps, but losing Sabonis is really going to hurt when Indiana faces teams like the Bucks, Raptors or even Lakers. Sell on the Pacers for a deep postseason run to the title at Caesars.
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About the Author
NFL writer and expert Adam Thompson joined Bookies.com in 2019 after a successful run as senior handicapper for SportsLine and CBSSports.com. He has consistently produced profitable seasons in NFL and college football and established himself as an elite MLB expert in 2018, hitting 61 percent of his money line picks for a profit of $4,062 to $100 players, ending the season on a 22-4 run including 100 percent on World Series games. Previously the award-winning sports editor of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Adam spent nearly 20 years covering the NFL, MLB and college football. Now he shares the insight he gained at Bookies.com through well-reasoned picks and thought-provoking articles and on Twitter at @_Adam_Thompson_.