Grab 'Under' As The NBA Pick As Strong Defenses Collide In Pacers vs Hawks

Jay Pryce

Sunday, March 13, 2016 12:24 PM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 13, 2016 12:24 PM UTC

The Pacers and Hawks meet in Atlanta on Sunday night (6 p.m. ET), both playing in back-to-back games. Tired legs and history suggest defense may rule the night. Betting analysis and NBA pick here. 

The Pacers and Hawks tussle for the fourth and final time tonight (6 p.m. ET) in Philips Arena. Atlanta has taken two this season, and are 4-point favorites in this one to make it three. For you money-line parlay bettors out there, the team is 16-1 SU in its last 17 as a home chalk versus Indiana.


Indiana Pacers (35-30 SU, 33-31-1 ATS)
The Pacers pulled off something they rarely do in their 112-105 victory over the Mavericks yesterday: beat a .500 or better team on the road. Since the New Year, the Pacers have won just three of 10 in this scenario, losing by an average of three points overall. Paul George collected his 14th double-double of the season and added six assists, while seven Indiana players in total scored in double figures. New addition Ty Lawson missed last night with a sprained left foot, and will likely sit again tonight.

Indiana’s defense takes center stage when playing a team with a better opponent shooting percentage. Under this scenario the unit steps up, holding opponents to 96.4 points a night on 42.3 percent shooting. It has prevented teams from reaching their team total in 20 of 25 games. The strong defensive efforts have the Pacers at 17-8 against the NBA odds boards in this situation with the UNDER going 18-5-2. Squaring off against teams with an equal or worse shooting percentage, the Pacers give up 102.9 points per game. Atlanta enters the contest owning a 43.3 opponent field goal percentage, second-best in the NBA; Indiana holds the eighth best mark at 44.1.


Atlanta Hawks (37-29 SU, 33-31-2 ATS)
The Hawks stuffed a depleted Grizzlies squad in Atlanta last night 95-83, holding Memphis to just 34.7 from the floor. Paul Millsap dropped 21 points, and veteran SF Thabo Sefolosha netted 13 with 11 boards to post his first double-double of the season.

Something awakened the Hawks defense since holding the high-flying Warriors to just 102 points in a loss at Philips Arena nine games ago. Including that game, the unit has held all but one opponent below their team total by an average of 10.5 points. During this stretch, coach Mike Budenholzer's men are holding foes to 91.1 points on a lowly 38.5 percent shooting. Impressive.

When handicapping the Hawks, one must take into consideration their success from behind the arc. Atlanta tosses up the seventh most attempts in the league with 27.5 per game. It has struggled a bit against the NBA’s better teams defending the three, though. The Pacers come in allowing the fourth lowest rate in the league at 33.2 percent. In 19 games against defenses allowing a stifling 33.5 percent or less, the Hawks are held to 31.4 percent from downtown versus 36.1 percent against higher, going 8-11 SU as opposed to 29-17.


Final Analysis
Why buck the trends here. Seven of the last 10 meetings between these two in the ATL have stayed UNDER the total, and Indiana has scored more than 91 points just twice in the last 12 when Atlanta is favored and defending their home hardwood. Indiana's defense will likely keep it in the game throughout, and the Hawks are a ball-hawking terror of late. Grab the UNDER 198 as your NBA pick.  

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NBA Pick: Under 198
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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