Avoid Pacers vs. Raptors Spread As Total Pick Offers More Value

Jason Lake

Sunday, May 1, 2016 12:56 PM UTC

Sunday, May. 1, 2016 12:56 PM UTC

The Toronto Raptors couldn't get the job done in Game 6. They might be the right NBA pick for Sunday's Game 7, but the Indiana Pacers will have something to say about that.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of April 30: 36-40-1 ATS, 11-4-1 Total


Something is about to happen to the Toronto Raptors. On Sunday (8:00 p.m. ET, TNT), they'll either beat the Indiana Pacers and advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals, or they'll get eliminated in the opening round by an inferior team for the third year in a row. Then there will be much wailing and gnashing of Canadian teeth. Someone will apologize.

Meanwhile, we'll probably be ignoring all that drama here at the ranch and focusing on the total instead of the point spread. The Raptors helped the UNDER cash in during Friday's Game 6, shooting 36.7 percent from the floor while losing 101-83 (UNDER 192.5). The total for Game 7 has dipped to 190.5 points on our NBA odds board; the Raptors are 6-point home faves, but given how inconsistently they've played, should we even bother with the spread?


What Condition My Condition Was In
It's worth considering. If there's one thing that's become somewhat clear with these Raptors, it's that Kyle Lowry (22.1 PER, +6.8 BPM) can't hit the broad side of a barn right now. Lowry has shot poorly not just in each of these six playoff games, but since the end of March, when he developed bursitis in his right elbow. Those buckets are even tougher to get now that Lowry is playing against Indiana's No. 3-ranked defense (100.2 points allowed per 100 possessions).

This year's version of the Raptors is in much better shape to withstand Lowry's decrease in production. For the most part, he's still doing all the other good things besides shooting, and Toronto's bench has gotten considerably deeper in each of the last two offseasons under GM and team savior Masai Ujiri. But from a handicapping standpoint, there's no question Toronto is damaged goods right now. Forget all that fuddle-duddle about heart and determination – Lowry can only do so much given his physical limitations.


Dirty Boots
So why didn't we put Indiana in our NBA picks right from the get-go? Looking back at our series pick, we hastily glossed over Lowry's condition and went with the advanced stats, which wouldn't have fully taken his elbow into account, either. And we didn't follow through on our belief that the Pacers could steal this series by playing dirty, which they're on the verge of doing. It helps when the officials are giving (almost) everyone carte blanche in these playoffs.

Which is why we're going to stick with the UNDER for Game 7. For every insecure Raptors fan, you can find an insecure Pacers fan. Indiana hasn't had much postseason success over the years, and the 2016 model has plenty of flaws, not the least of which is that poor bench. Timely shooting has kept the Pacers in this series; they might keep it up in Game 7, but we'll bank on the tag team of regression and Lowry's elbow.

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Free NBA Pick: UNDER 190.5 (–105)
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

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