Lock Raptors -6.5 With Your NBA Playoffs Picks Against Pacers

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, April 15, 2016 6:12 PM GMT

The Pacers travel north of the border to face the Raptors in Game 1 of their best of 7, Round 1 Playoff series in Eastern Conference play. Who should we back with our NBA picks? 

Indiana Pacers vs. Toronto Raptors (-6-) 12:35 ET ESPN
This opening game of the 2016 NBA Playoff season will tip at 12:35 ET as televised by ESPN. These teams played each other 4 times in the regular season.  Toronto holds a 3-1 SU ATS series edge with the 3 victories coming by 7 or more points.  Toronto won both the meetings on this court, including the most recent time these teams met. 

 

Indiana Pacers
With the return of an injured Paul George to the lineup this season, Indiana returned to small ball, after they dismantled much of the starting 5 that led them to a pair of championship quests in the earlier part of this decade.  As a result, Indiana turned to small ball with Paul George leading the way.  They never really challenged for conference or division superiority, concluding the year with a 45-37 SU mark.  To their credit, the Pacers won the final 3 games of the season to garner the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoff queue, thereby avoiding top-seeded Cleveland.  But, their fate might not be much better in this series against Toronto. 

 

Toronto Raptors
This is a Toronto Raptors team who burst on the scene this season behind the maturation of lead guards, Lowry and DeRozan, who average nearly a combined 45 PPG.  Despite challenging Cleveland for Eastern Conference superiority, Raptors’ HC Casey made it clear that his priority to this team was full health for the playoff season.  He achieved that goal, while still coaching the Raptors to a season-ending winning streak of 4 consecutive games, albeit the last 2 of which included conference bottom-feeders, Philly on Tuesday night and Milwaukee on Wednesday night.  The Raptors finished the year with a sterling 32-9 SU mark at home.  A major reason for improvement was a defense that allowed just 98.2 PPG (the lowest in the Eastern Conference).   

Betting Analysis
With a .683 winning percentage against an Indiana team with a .549 winning percentage, the situation sets up perfectly for a long-term 68% situation favoring Toronto in a series where they defeated their opponent in their previous meeting.  With Indiana missing the playoffs last year and Toronto having gained from that experience, it further strengthens the case for our play.  In a game that may well be a home team blowout, I recommend the Raptors in the first game of the series against the Indiana Pacers.  I invite you to put the NBA odds in your favor and join me in my NBA pick on the Toronto Raptors this afternoon.  

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NBA Picks: Raptors -6.5  
Best Line Offered: at Heritage