Free NBA Picks for 76ers vs. Pacers

Matthew Jordan

Monday, March 17, 2014 5:52 PM GMT

The Indiana Pacers play host to the Philadelphia 76ers this Monday night. Where does the best value lie for our NBA picks?

It's hard to pinpoint the biggest single-game upsets in NBA history because the regular season is so long. However, it's safe to say that should incredibly bad Philadelphia win Monday night at Indiana, it would go on any short list of the top upsets in league history. The Pacers, who have the NBA's best home record at 30-4, opened as whopping 20-point favorites on NBA odds with a total of 202.5 for sports bettors. It's not the biggest spread of the season. The Sixers were +21 at Oklahoma City on March 4 and lost by 33.

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Franchise-Record Futility

Would the 76ers even be favored to win the NCAA Tournament? They lost 103-77 at home to Memphis on Saturday night, scoring their fewest points of the season and tying the team record with their 20th consecutive defeat. Here was Philly's starting five Saturday: Hollis Thompson, James Anderson, Michael Carter-Williams, Henry Sims and Thaddeus Young. Only MCW, the likely Rookie of the Year, and Young are legit NBA players. They combined for 43 points against the Grizzlies. The other three guys had eight on 3-for-20 shooting. The Sixers had two other NBA-caliber players in Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes but traded them to the Pacers and Cavaliers, respectively, at the deadline.

Perhaps it's a good thing this game is in Indianapolis because the Sixers (24-42 ATS, 30-33-3 O/U at sportsbooks) have lost 16 in a row at home. The NBA record for consecutive losses overall is 26 by the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers after that franchise was left in ruins when LeBron James left for Miami. Rather ironically, Philly's last win was a buzzer-beating shot by Turner in Boston on Jan. 29. Wouldn't it be poetic justice for Turner to hit the game-winner in this one against his former team?

It seems almost a sure thing that Philadelphia ties the Cavs' record at worst. Of course Philly won't likely be favored the rest of the season but will be huge dogs Wednesday at home vs. Chicago. Friday vs. the Knicks, Saturday at Chicago, Monday at San Antonio and Thursday at Houston. So the Pacers could break the record March 29 at home against Detroit, although the schizophrenic Pistons are more than capable of losing that one.

Blame Bynum!

Part of the reason the Sixers are in this mess was their trade for Lakers center Andrew Bynum before last season, costing Philly two very good players in Andre Iguodala and Nikola Vucevic (among other things). That trade was a major bust as Bynum never played a game for the 76ers. He was signed in early February by Indiana and looks motivated for once. Bynum played 20 minutes in Saturday's 112-104 win over Detroit, in which the Pacers rallied from a 25-point deficit, and had 15 points and nine rebounds.

Bynum debuted in last Tuesday's win over Boston and was quite solid in that one as well. The team held him out of last Friday's visit to Philadelphia, presumably because it didn't want him playing both ends of a back-to-back. I'm sure the fact that Sixers fans might have tried to riot in seeing Bynum on the court played somewhat of a role.

The Pacers (34-31-1 ATS, 29-35-2 O/U at sportsbooks) have won three straight since a season-high four-game losing streak and are back in control of the Eastern Conference. Indiana is likely to be without reserve guard C.J. Watson for this one. He returned in Friday's game against Philly after missing the previous five due to an elbow injury but was limited to eight minutes and sat out Saturday because of a hamstring strain. There's no reason for the Pacers to push him to play in this one.

Season Series

The Pacers lead 2-0 but haven't been able to cover for our NBA picks either with a mammoth spread. The teams met on Nov. 23 in Indianapolis when the 76ers resembled an NBA team and the Pacers won 106-98 as 15-point favorites on NBA odds. Roy Hibbert dominated with 27 points and 13 rebounds. Hawes, Young and Tony Wroten were all out with injuries. Turner had 21 points and 11 boards for Philly. On Friday in Philadelphia the Pacers won 101-94 as 16-point favorites. Paul George had 25 points and six assists, while Turner had just two points against his former club. Young had 25 points for the Sixers but it took him 31 shots. The Pacers are looking for their first season sweep of Philadelphia since 2007-08.

NBA Free Picks: Philadelphia +20 and the under 202.5. The Pacers have covered just two of their past 15 games. The under has hit in six of Philadelphia's past seven overall. Expect Indiana to somewhat look past this game and to Wednesday's matchup at suddenly surging New York.