Efficient Scoring Make Pacers -3 Our NBA Pick Against Hawks

Swinging Johnson

Thursday, January 28, 2016 2:56 PM GMT

An Eastern Conference clash between the visiting Atlanta Hawks and the stumbling Indiana Pacers takes place at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Let's review the NBA odds now!

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NBA Pick: Pacers -3 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Atlanta Hawks (27-20 SU, 23-23-1 ATS)
The Hawks have a tenuous hold on the third seed in the Eastern Conference standings and didn’t do themselves any favors last night when they welcomed the LA Clippers into Philips Arena installed as 5½ point home chalk by the NBA odds makers. When the final buzzer sounded Atlanta was on the wrong end of an 85-83 defensive battle. The Clippers were without one of their resident superstars in Blake Griffin, courtesy of a fractured hand he suffered at the face of an assistant trainer. Atlanta gave the ball away a season-high 23 times and despite their miscues was in this one until the very end. All five starters scored in double figures with point guard Jeff Teague leading the way with 16 points. The bench on the other hand was miserable with a total of just 12 points and a whopping -36 plus/minus differential.

Atlanta’s 83 points was far below their season average of 102.1 points per game (10th) but their defense was on point as it has been throughout the season holding opponents to 99.6 points per contest (8th). However it has been the dearth of rebounding that has caused the team fits averaging only 40.9 boards per game which places them 29th of 30 NBA teams. Veteran power forward Paul Millsap leads the team in scoring (18.3 PPG) and rebounding (8.9 RPG).

 

Indiana Pacers (23-22 SU, 23-22 ATS)
The Pacers find themselves clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the East after a series of disappointing performances recently. If they lose tonight they will fall to .500 for the first time in over two months and could be knocked outside the playoff bubble. Anyone blindly backing the Pacers in their NBA picks over the last seven games has a bankroll that has been sorely depleted. Indiana has won and covered only once during that span with their most recent setback, a 91-89 home defeat to the Clippers on Tuesday night.

Paul George turned in a fine offensive performance with 31 points against the Clips while rookie Myles Turner has turned it on recently averaging 20.5 points per game over his last four contests and connected for 16 points in the loss to LA. Coach Frank Vogel assembled a small-ball squad to begin the season but is now tinkering with a bigger lineup after the team’s mid-season swoon. Speaking of big men, center Ian Mahinmi suited up after dealing with a sprained ankle and despite his minutes being managed by Vogel he contributed 12 points and hauled in 10 rebounds.

 

Betting Analysis
Indiana won the only meeting between the clubs this season back in December when they defeated the Hawks 93-87 as 1½ point home favorites. The teams have split their last eight contests in Indiana with the Hawks holding a narrow 4-3-1 ATS edge. Atlanta is 2-5 ATS in their last seven of the second leg of back-to-back games and 3-9 ATS in their last 12 versus Central division opponents.

The Pacers have muddled through a rough spell but I see Paul George coming alive and this kid Myles Turner is starting to get increased playing time due to his dynamic performances. Head coach Frank Vogel has publically stated that he is in the process of using the “bigs” more often and this could be a pivotal point against a team that doesn’t rebound like the Hawks and is coming off a lethargic offensive effort last night while the home team rested.