Those placing NBA picks are aware that the Pacers have turned it on lately, as they push up the Eastern Conference standings. They face another very winnable game this evening at home to Milwaukee.
The Pacers come in favored by either 7 or 7.5 points, depending on which sportsbook you use. It's a little strange to see such a high line, considering Milwaukee has the better overall record, but that just goes to show you how well Indiana's been playing.
Don't expect a lot of points in tonight's game, as the NBA odds O/U is listed at 186 right now. Both teams are ranked in the top five in terms of fewest points allowed per game, so the defensive intensity should be there for all to see this evening.
Don't look now, but the Pacers are on a great run. They have won six in a row, nine of their last 10, and have gone 12-2 over their previous 14 games overall. As a result, Indiana has risen all the way into the seventh spot in the conference, bulldozing past the likes of Orlando, Miami and Charlotte along the way.
During this recent winning streak of theirs, the Pacers have beaten Cleveland and Chicago among others, so they haven't just been beating up on the weak links in the league. George Hill and Rodney Stuckey have really been playing well in the backcourt for Indiana, especially Stuckey, who's been a lightning rod off the bench.
Coming into tonight, the Pacers are ranked third in fewest points allowed per game and fifth in total rebounding, so there have been areas where they have held a clear advantage. That's a big reason why they've been competitive and have been able to turn things around. Of course, getting healthy again doesn't hurt, and don't forget that there's a slight chance Paul George may return in time for the playoffs too. Who knows.
Having gone 2-7 over their last nine, the Bucks were in desperate need of a positive result, and they just got that last night in a 97-91 home win over Orlando. With the victory, Milwauekee improved to 19-12 at home and 34-30 overall, which puts them in the sixth seed in the conference, four and a half games up on Indiana.
Against the Magic, the Bucks got another big-time scoring performance from Khris Middleton, who scored 30 points on 12-of-17 shooting to go with five assists, three rebounds and two steals. The rest of the starting five all reached double figures in scoring, and that balance was key to a Milwaukee win, considering the bench didn't really give much throughout.
Now it's time for the Bucks to head back out on the road, and they've gone 15-18 outside of Milwaukee, so they haven't had a ton of success in that department. There's no doubt the momentum will be on Indiana's side tonight, especially with the Pacers surging at the right time, but we've seen Milwaukee battle and surprise before, so it wouldn't shock us to see that again here.
We don't feel good about a pick on the spread here. Yes, the Pacers have been playing very well, but we're not too sure they deserve to be laying this many points against a solid Milwaukee team.
So, with that train of thought in mind, we're going to focus in on a total play instead. As we mentioned before, these are two of the best defenses in the NBA, so points could be very hard to come by. Both squads don't mind slowing down the pace and grinding things out, so we foresee a low-scoring game.
With our NBA picks tonight, we're all over the UNDER in expectation that we'll see defense rule the day. Best of luck!
NBA Pick: UNDER 187.5 at BookMaker