Add Road Dog Pacers +2.5 to Your NBA Picks vs. Bucks

Doug Upstone

Thursday, March 26, 2015 2:48 PM GMT

With just one NBA game on the docket tonight, at least it is a contest with playoff implications. For those making sports picks, despite the recent play of both teams, sportsbooks have this game tight.

Milwaukee starts the night owning the sixth spot for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, while Indiana is one of three teams in the conference with 40 defeats and is fighting to earn the last position for the postseason.

Here is a current breakdown in all facets about this important Central Division showdown.

 

Pacers Have Stopped Dead in their Tracks
Coming into the season, NBA basketball handicappers and those looking at the season win total NBA odds for Indiana (31-40, 37-32-2 ATS) know it was going to be a long year after having quite a bit of success the last couple of years.

As expected without Paul George and other members from previous teams, the Pacers were laboring most of the season. However, because the East has either top level teams or a great deal of mediocrity, virtually any team that can go on a hot streak can really change their fortunes. Beginning Feb. 4th and over the next five weeks, Indiana did just that by winning 13 of 16 (12-4 ATS) to propel themselves back into the race.

The belief was Frank Vogel’s team had turned a corner and was playing with tremendous defensive intensity and the offense had found a rhythm. But as quickly as the winning came, it ended just as abruptly. The defense which had been so stout allowed 108.5 points a game during a six- game losing streak (1-5 ATS).

Last night’s dramatic win at Washington at least stemmed the tide, but can the Pacers really be trusted against the NBA odds?

Check Out this Parlay to Help You Make the Most Out of Thursday's Short Slate

Milwaukee Trying to Just Reach the Playoffs
There are definite parallels between Indiana and the Bucks, with Milwaukee’s just over a longer period. After winning only 15 games a year ago, Milwaukee’s new owners made controversial move and brought in Jason Kidd to be their next coach for an extremely young team.

Kidd was roundly criticized for not being much of a head coach in Brooklyn, attempted a power play in the front office which failed and made the move to Milwaukee. Nobody was sure if Kidd could coach, let alone have the patience with a roster of youngsters. To Kidd’s credit, the young Bucks started playing hard from Day 1 and even when top pick Jabari Parker was lost to injury, the team collectively pulled together and was 31-23 SU at one point and one the best bets all season long.

Then Milwaukee traded point guard and leading scorer Brandon Knight and while the merits of such a move are debatable, the fact is the chemistry went askew the Bucks fell apart in dropping 13 of 16 (5-10-1 ATS), placing them in danger of missing the playoffs all together. Kidd has talked about youthful mistakes, but it seems to be more than a coincidence the collapse occurred after the trade.

Like the Pacers, Milwaukee ended a six-game losing streak with a buzzer-beater in their last game, what can you expect from them tonight?

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Betting Odds and Head to Head
Milwaukee was sent out as one-point favorite and has received quite a bit of action to be moved to -2.5, with the total at 188.

Indiana has won eight of the past 11 games in the last three seasons and has a 5-6 ATS record against the Bucks.

 

Scheduling
If the Pacers get their act together, their schedule is set up for a turnaround. Granted, Dallas at home will not be easy, but Indiana will be off until Sunday for that contest and has at Brooklyn, at Boston and home games with Charlotte and Miami next. The Pacers are 5-10 and 8-7 ATS without rest.

This is a game Milwaukee really needs because ahead lies Golden State, a trip to Atlanta and back home to face Chicago. The Bucks are 21-15 and 21-14-1 ATS with one day off.

 

The Choice
Not sure the Bucks should be a growing favorite, since Indiana knows how to defend this team. This is not an easy call by any means, but I’d rather have the points from a value perspective, so I'll be taking the Pacers with my NBA picks.

NBA Basketball Free Pick – Indiana +2.5 at 5Dimes

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