Friday Double-Dribble: Totals Are Flavor of the Day

hawks pacers

Jordan Sharp

Friday, March 9, 2018 4:32 PM GMT

Friday, Mar. 9, 2018 4:32 PM GMT

On a busy Friday schedule, Hawks-Pacers and Magic-Kings might not look like exciting matchups, but capper Jordan Sharp has reasons to bet on each -- from a total perspective. 

Hawks at PacersFree NBA Pick: Pacers -4½ 1HBest Line Offered: Pinnacle

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If there were a Surprise Team of the Year Award in the NBA, it would go to the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers look poised to take over a top-four spot in the Eastern Conference, and they have another shot at an easy win tonight against the tanking Atlanta Hawks in Indianapolis.

We missed one of our first half plays yesterday because of the return of the Thunder's defense, but the Pacers’ defense has been strong lately. Even in their loss to the Jazz recently they looked good on defense, and over their last five games the Pacers are holding their opponents to 98.2 points per game.

However, that has started in the first halves of their games. At home, the Pacers have been very good on offense in the first half. They rank just outside the top 10 in first-half offensive rating when they play at home, and they burned the Hawks in the same way in the first half of their last game in Indy. Check out the highlights from that matchup in late February below.

The Pacers love to play up in pace at home in the first half, and against one of the league’s worst road offenses the Pacers’ first half odds of -4½ look delicious. The Hawks have a league-worst 95.6 offensive rating in the first halves of their road games this season.

With Darren Collison set to come back tonight from injury, along with Victor Oladipo being ruled probable, the tanking Hawks stand no chance in this one. Indiana has held its opponents to less to 50 points per first half over the last five games, and the Pacers should bounce back really well tonight in the first half of this one.

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Magic at KingsFree NBA Pick: Over 53½ 1QBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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The Magic and Kings have nothing to play for except pride and draft position, and with both teams dealing with a ton of injuries there is no telling who will play tonight for either team. However, that just means more betting value for use with the uncertainty factor.

Believe it or not, the Magic have been a top 10 offense in the first quarters of their games this season. It’s kind of a wonky stat, but the Magic rank 8th-best in first quarter offense this season with an offensive rating of nearly 109 in the first 12 minutes of their games. It goes down a little bit on the road, and with Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier out tonight, that puts a damper on it some. However, the Kings have one of the worst first-quarter defenses in the NBA, so either way, points should be scored.

That being said, the first-quarter total of 53½ could be a great 'over' play. I say it all the time, but bad tanking teams play no defense. It shouldn’t matter too much that both are missing key offensive players either. This is the NBA. Everyone who is in the NBA, whether they are Andre Roberson (well, maybe not him) to LeBron James, can score if called upon to do so. Even playing some of their younger players and role players bigger minutes, these two teams have no desire to win this one.

If that truly is the case, not only will their be no defense, but they might turn into a track meet early on. Orlando plays well on offense early in games and also at the 4th-fastest pace of any first-quarter team this season.

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