The Indiana Pacers are fighting for that 8th place spot and last Postseason berth in the Eastern Conference and they couldn’t have a better or more beat-up opponent in this spot than the 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Saturday night but can visitors come through against a team with nothing to lose? Let’s examine the Trends, recent series numbers and come up with a logical NBA pick for the important weekend scheduling spot for the Pacers in the City of Brotherly Love and Bouncing Basketballs.
The Indiana Pacers (39-35 SU, 16-21 Road) head to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Saturday not to make a deposit, but to play the host Philadelphia 76ers (9-66 SU, 6-31 at Home) in a big game of professional basketball for the Pacers who currently sit in 8th place in the Eastern Conference. Oddsmakers have opened the visiting Pacers huge 11-point favorites (Bookmaker) here with the game’s Total (Points) set at 205½ (Bookmaker).
The Indiana Pacers (36-37-1 ATS, 19-18-0 ATS Road) are 5-5 in their L10 and currently sit precariously in 8th place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, just 2 games ahead of the 9th-place Chicago Bulls (37-37) and only ½ game behind of the now 7th-place Detroit Pistons (40-35) for that last Playoff berth in the conference. In its last game, Indiana suffered a tough Loss at Home in Indianapolis on Tuesday night to those rival Bulls, 98-96, as Jimmy Butler hit a 3-point jumper with 3.7 seconds left in the game to keep Chicago’s Playoff spirits (and chances) up for the time being at least.
Paul George (20 points, 9 rebounds) and Ian Mahinmi (18 points, 7 rebounds) for Indiana in a tough Loss which would have put them above Detroit in the standings and a game in which the hosts had fewer TOs, outscored Chicago 52-36 Down Low and 15-5 on Fast Breaks and had a chance for a win at the buzzer only to see CJ Myles shot miss. It was the first win for the Bulls in Naptown since Dec. 29, 2014. Indiana was just 3-for-19 (15.8%) on its 3’s and new Free Agent pickup PG Ty Lawson had 8 points in the setback for the Pacers (200/1 NBA odds to win NBA Championship, BetVictor). In the Injury Department for Indiana, PG Joseph Young (Illness) is listed as Questionable while SF Paul George (Ankle) is listed as Questionable for this game, but with it meaning so much, expect him to at least see some minutes, especially after playing and playing so well against Chicago on Tuesday.
The Philadelphia 76ers (34-40-1 ATS, 15-21-1 ATS Home) and Head Coach Brett Brown have had a miserable season and no doubt can’t wait for (yet another) rebuilding Offseason and a sweet Draft choice, but with the NBA’s worst Record (9-66), a 10-game Losing streak, a -10.5 Point Differential and have L23 of 24. This team would be relegated if this were European Soccer league and not the NBA. Three Road wins (3-43), 2 Conference Wins (2-12) and 3 Conference (3-35) Wins is the stuff that good Comedy is made up for Sports Gamblers, and the 34-40-1 ATS mark is almost admirable, although still a money-maker for Philly faders. In their last game the 76ers lost their 10th in a row falling 100-85 to the Charlotte Hornets here at Home at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night as the short-handed Sixers (6-31 SU at Home) dressed just 10 players for the game as PF Nerlens Noel missed a 4th straight game with a Right Knee Contusion.
Philadelphia was led in scoring by Robert Covington (18 points), Ish Smith (15 points), Reserve Nik Stauskas (13 points) and Isaiah Canaan (10 points). Besides PF Noel, who was listed as Out for Friday’s rematch (CHAR -13½, 209½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) with the Hornets with SF Jerami Grant (Knee) also missing the Hornets game—he’s listed as Questionable here—while PF Richaun Holmes (Achilles’) is Out Indefinitely, and Rookie and top 2015 Draft pick Jahlil Okafor (Torn Right Meniscus) has been Out for the Season as has been C Joel Embiid (Foot), forcing veteran Elton Brand into action. The 76ers can still tie the 1972/73 76ers with a 9-73 Record—the worst in NBA history and with so many guys beat up and other teams needing W’s for various reasons, that 9-73 is still a possibility if the 76ers lost that return leg with the Hornets on Friday night. (Insert laugh.)
Series Trends, L10 Meetings Trends & Logical Pacers Really Need-the-Win Spot Reasoning
Indiana easily won and covered both meetings so far this Regular Season, winning 91-75 in Indianapolis on March 21 as 15-point favorites (Under, 211), and rolling to a 112-95 victory in Philadelphia back in November in the first meeting as 6½-point chalks (Over, 191½). In the L10 meetings in this series, the teams have split 5-5 ATS but the Pacers have W4 in a row both ATS and SU and Indiana has won 8 of the L10 meetings SU. The Pacers have also won the L4 meetings all by double-digits too: 16, 27, 20 and 11. So could this be a blowout? You betcha, Sarah. And it smells like it too. Indiana needs the game and knows it can cream Philadelphia’s cheese (76ers 3-8 ATS L11 at Home) and feels the Bulls’ horns lurking behind them in the No 9 spot.
And with time running out, this is a must-win, all hands on deck despite the opponent-type smash and a candidate for a good 1st Half bet on the well-rested Pacers (7-17-1 ATS L25 Saturday games) as well which should actually be weighted a little heavier (unit-wise) for the prospective Sports Gambler. But always remember it’s the NBA and 11 is still 11. Trend-wise with the Total, the Under is 7-1 ATS in the Pacers L8 vs. the Eastern Conference and the Over is 12-5 in the L17 Sixers games against the Central Division. This one could get real ugly, real quick if the Pacers put their minds to it.
Predicted Final Score: Pacers 111 76ers 81
NBA Pick: Pacers -11
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle