Jordan’s NBA Picks: 18-10
Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST
Free NBA Pick: Pacers 1H ATS
Best Line Offered: Pinnacle
While it may not be the best game to watch and enjoy on your Tuesday evening, the Pacers and Cavaliers hold some value from Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers own the longest active win streak in the NBA coming into Tuesday and I see them coming out on fire in the first half, partially because of it.
Indiana’s First Half Prospects
At home this season the Indiana Pacers have the best defense in the NBA. Granted, it’s still early enough in the season to where that could change. Also, the Pacers are in the midst of a cake-walk stretch of their schedule, which has helped their overall defensive numbers.
That being said, Indiana is for real on the defensive end. Myles Turner is making an early case for Defensive Player of the Year, while Victor Oladipo is at worst a second-team All-NBA defender. Those two combined with the fast hands of Thad Young and a deep bench of young talent makes this team tough to beat at home.
The Cavaliers stand zero chance because of this defense, but a spread of 12 points is a lot, especially for a Pacers team that has not been great on the offensive end at times this season. However, a great play for this one might be the first half spread in favor of the Pacers. Not only will they want to hit this young Cavs team in the mouth, but the Cavs have been horrible on the road in first halves this season.
The Sharp Pick
On the road this season, the Cavaliers have a first half defensive rating of 121.5, which is by far the worst in the NBA this season. Over their last seven road games, the Cavs have allowed an average of nearly 59 points per first half.
Earlier in the season the Cavs were routinely allowing 60 points in the first halves of their road games. While Cleveland doesn’t turn the ball over much overall, the Pacers are one of the top turnover teams in the NBA with a TOV percent of 14.1. If Indiana is out getting steals and creating buckets in transition, this first half is going to be in the hands of the Pacers.
Normally you would look at this game and think it’s a trap. The Pacers have a big road test on Wednesday against the Raptors and overlooking a squad like Cleveland is probably pretty easy. However, this team has been so locked in at home that’s it’s hard to think that they’ll have a lack of focus.
With Indiana’s defense and their bench, they should lead from the opening tip to the end of the first half. I suspect a double-digit first half lead for the Pacers at the end of the first 24 minutes.
First Half Prediction: Cavaliers 43 – Pacers 53