Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Friday.
Despite the old adage of not being able to know the players without a scorecard holding true these days for the home team, it still gets our call as a small home favorite Friday night vs. the defenseless visitors as the Denver Nuggets (1-6, 0-3 away) travel east as they pay a visit to the Indiana Pacers (3-6, 2-3 home) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN at 7:05 ET in a game televised nationally on NBA TV.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Indiana as a home favorite for this contest with the current line at -3 with odds of -110.
Indiana MASH Unit
The Pacers are so decimated by injuries right now that center Roy Hibbert is their only starter that was actually expected to start before the year. First Paul George suffered a compound fracture to his tibia and fibula while scrimmaging with Team USA and the Indiana injury bug has mushroomed since with David West, George Hill, C.J, Watson and Rodney Stuckey now also out for extended periods.
Then again, even the makeshift Pacer lineup on the court right now should be able to score some points on the atrocious Denver Nuggets, who have been the losing NBA picks six straight times since an opening night home win over the Detroit Pistons while taking defensive ineptitude to a whole new level, especially in their most recent contest vs. the Portland Trail Blazers.
Still Playing Great Defense
As depleted as the Pacers are, they have remained committed to playing great defense. Their defensive minded head coach Frank Vogel took a lot of heat last year for supposedly losing control of his team down the stretch, but he now deserves a lot of credit for getting this bunch of retreads to rank third in the NBA in points against at 92.4 points per game!
Furthermore Indiana has now won back-to-back games following a six-game losing streak despite Hibbert currently being joined by Solomon Hill, Donald Sloan, Chris Copeland and Luis Scola in the starting lineup, as most recently that ragtag bunch upset the Heat on the road 81-75 on Wednesday, limiting Miami to 33 total points in the second half.
Indiana won that contest despite shooting just 37.5 percent from the field overall. The trio of Hibbert (16 points, 15 rebounds), Copeland (17 points) and Sloan (15 points) combined for 48 points and that was apparently good enough to win with the defense taking care of the rest. Now that offense faces an opponent that it can actually score on.
Days of Brian Shaw Numbered?
The Nuggets unbelievably allowed 84 points in the first half vs. Portland back home in Denver Wednesday, marking their second loss to the Blazers in four days while this time allowing them to shoot 51.1 percent overall for the game including a blistering 48.5 percent (16-for-33) from beyond the three-point arc in the 130-113 defeat.
To put that performance in perspective, the 84 points that Denver allowed in the first half was more points then either the Pacers or the Heat scored for the entire game in Indiana’s last contest! That leaves Denver 29th out of 30 NBA teams right now in points against at 111.1 per game. Only the pitiful Lakers are allowing more points so far (111.5), but the Nuggets have LA beat by a good margin during the six-game losing streak allowing 116.5 PPG during this time.
It could very well be that the days of Brian Shaw as the Denver head coach are numbered as this club does not appear to be putting forth any effort in recent games despite having a fairly good roster with the likes of Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler.
Pacers Should Also Dominate Glass
Finally, aside from the humongous edge that the Pacers have defensively here, Indiana should also have a huge rebounding edge. That is because Indiana is second in the NBA in rebounds per game with 46.8, led by 8.7 rebounds per game by Hibbert, and the Pacers are also second in the league in rebounding margin at +7.56. Conversely Denver is 28th in rebounds allowed with 45.0 and has a -0.71 margin.
So with the Pacers have big edges on defense and on the glass, they get our call as small home favorites over a reeling Denver team on Friday.
NBA Pick: Pacers -3 (-110)