First Half Value Worthy Of Your NBA Picks In Knicks vs. Pacers

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 12:14 PM GMT

Our NBA handicapper analyzes how to get the best value out of a matchup in which the Knicks have no reason to try to win. NBA picks inside.

New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers
As I’ve covered these last few weeks of the NBA season, there have been more than one situation where I have gotten bit by backing a team with supposed ‘motivation’ and not another that is locked into a playoff spot, tanking, or otherwise not expected to put out maximum effort. This is another one of those situations, as the Pacers are currently holding a tiebreaker for the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference, and would desperately like to keep it to avoid the Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs. Not only have the Cavaliers won the season series against Indiana this year, they have also bounced the pacers from the playoffs in the last three seasons. A win tonight would have the Pacers facing a likely first round foe of the Toronto Raptors.

It gets one step deeper though, as the New York Knicks are only hurt with a win in this game or any they are playing on the way out of this dreadful season. The Knicks are tied for 7th worst in the league, and are two losses behind getting a top-five lottery pick in the draft next year. In a sport where you are only starting five players on the court, a few spots in the draft could mean the difference between the next Karl-Anthony Towns or D’Angelo Russel. The Knicks did draft 4th last season, picking up 7-3 Kristaps Porzingis in the process.

Speaking of Porzingis, he is not expected to play in the game against the Pacers as he deals with a shoulder injury. Porzingis has not played since March 28th, a stretch in which the Knicks have gone 2-4 SU (but, 5-1 ATS). Porzingis had averaged 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game this year, not too bad for a rookie. Also expected to be out for the Knicks is Jose Calderon (7.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.1 APG) and Lance Thomas (8.2 PPG, 2.2 RPG, and 1 APG).

And while the Knicks will be down bodies, Pacers coach Frank Vogel has mentioned that he will not be resting anyone on Tuesday night.

The NBA odds in this situation certainly back conventional wisdom, with the Pacers favored by 9-points at home at Heritage, and -525 on the moneyline at JustBet. The O/U total is a middle ground 199.5 at BetOnline as I write this.

 

Betting Analysis
The Pacers have owned the Knicks in their building lately, and have won seven straight SU at home against them. They’ve won their two previous games this year by single digit margins though, and have failed to cover the spread in both 108-105 and 92-87 wins, respectively. Actually, the Pacers have owned the Knicks everywhere they have played SU, going 8-1 over the last three years.

In the last game on April 3rd, Indiana was up by 13 points at halftime before winning by just five points as a 7-point road favorite. The Pacers held New York to just 34.4% shooting from the field and 28.0% from beyond the arc. Carmelo Anthony was held out of that game and only 4 Knicks players scored in double digits, compared to a balanced Indiana offense in which 6 players scored 10 or more points.

I like the first half angle here, with the Pacers favored by 5.5-points in the first half at BookMaker. Just like the game 4 days ago, I expect Indiana to push out to an early lead, if not just so that starters can take the 4th quarter off against a team that should be tanking. Take the Pacers -5.5 in the 1st half at BookMaker as your Tuesday NBA pick.

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Free NBA Pick: Pacers -5.5 1st Half
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker