Cavaliers-Pacers Game 3 Too Close to Call, Bet Total Instead

cavliers pacers

Doug Upstone

Thursday, April 19, 2018 3:55 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 19, 2018 3:55 PM UTC

The Cleveland-Indiana series resumes in the Hoosier State for Game 3 on Friday. This Eastern Conference clash is tied at 1-1, making this a pivotal game, which will be on ESPN at 7:00 p.m. ET.

 

Cleveland (11-4 ATS Road Dog) at Indiana (18-8 ATS Home Fave)Free NBA Pick: UnderBest Line Offered: YouWager

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leveland evened the series on Wednesday, but it was hardly impressive, winning 100-97 as 8 or 8.5-point home favorites depending on the sportsbook. LeBron James got the message from Tyronn Lue about being personally aggressive from the start, and James ended up with a spectacular 46 points. But James cannot do this every night (at least we don't think so), and to win one or two on the road over the next few days, LBJ will need some help.

For this Friday night affair, interesting to note the NBA odds with Indiana at -1.5 or -2. On the presumption these odds are accurate (and we think they are) and the standard NBA home-court advantage of three points is in play, that meant the Cavaliers were inflated by about three to four points in the first two games of the series (just sayin').

The Pacers were expected to have a hard time in Game 2 and did at the start, ultimately trailing by 18 points. Yet in the second half when the game settled in, Indiana was able to expose Cleveland's defensive more effectively, and they outscored the Cavs by nine in the second half. Having outscored the Cavaliers in six of the eight quarters in the series has to be confidence building for Indiana, along with winning three of four during the regular season.

This is an extremely important battle for Indiana because giving up the home-court edge right away would be deflating. They were an above average three-point shooting team on the season (11th), and it's likely they will do far better than shoot 6-for-22 from behind the arc again like they did Wednesday. The Pacers could use more scoring from their forwards, which could be the difference.

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No Panic for Cleveland, but Others Have to Rise Up

Though Cleveland has really only played excellent basketball for 30 minutes in this series, they can do better. As mentioned, Lue asked James to lead in last contest and he did. After the Game 2 victory, he implored others to follow the King.

Lue changed his Game 2 starters, going with playoff veterans JR Smith and Kyle Korver to play along with Kevin Love and George Hill (and obviously James), and they clicked in the first quarter. That means Jeff Green and Rodney Hood have to offer more when they hit the floor, and who knows where Tristan Thompson's head is (we know he's in all the tabloids), having played two minutes thus far.

James relishes the underdog role; will his teammates join him?

What to Expect?

For NBA picks, whew, this is a close one. One can see either James or Victor Oladipo making a game-winner in the closing seconds. Instead of the side, let's look at the total, which presently is at 208.5.

With neither team finding many points outside of their stars, this could be a good spot for a lower-scoring affair, just like the last two. With Indiana 10-2 UNDER vs. opponents averaging 110 or more points a contest and 14-4 UNDER when off two away games, that is the best bet.

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