NBA Pick on Thunder and Pacers to stay ‘under’ High Total

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, April 12, 2015 2:41 PM GMT

Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out a total that simply does not add up and therefore offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Sunday.

 



There looks to be an inflated total Sunday evening in what is essentially a pseudo-playoff game when the Oklahoma City Thunder (43-36, 15-24 away) pay a visit to the Indiana Pacers (36-43, 21-18 home) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN at 6:05 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Oklahoma.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 207½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -105.


Loser Could Be in Trouble
Both of these teams are currently on the outside looking in as far as the playoffs go, but the loser of this game could be in dire jeopardy of falling out of contention. The Thunder are actually tied with the New Orleans Pelicans for the eighth and final playoffs spot in the Western Conference, but they do not control their own destiny with the Pelicans owning the tiebreaker.

Oklahoma City has also not done itself any favors being the losing NBA pick in six of the last eight games.

The Pacers are now a perfect 3-0 since Paul George made is belated seasonal debut and they have won four straight games overall, but that still leaves them as the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference and one game behind both the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets, with both of those clubs owning tiebreaker advantages over Indiana.


Pacers Still Play Excellent Defense
Still, the Pacers are at least doing their part as of late and as has usually been the case since Frank Vogel took over as head coach, any success Indiana has usually begins on the defensive end. In fact, they held their first three opponents during this win streak to under 90 points before prevailing 107-103 in a higher scoring affair over the Pistons at Detroit on Friday, and the Pacers have usually played better defense here at home this season.

That is not to say that Indiana has not played well defensively regardless of the venue, as it does still rank fifth in the NBA in points against at 97.0 per game and third in field goal percentage allowed at 43.6 percent after all. However, those points allowed shrink even more to 95.5 per game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Sure the scoring has picked up since George returned but this still seems like a very big posted total when you consider that all Indiana games are averaging a combined 194.3 points this season and that average is even lower at home at 193.5 points because of the defense.


Westbrook Almost a One-Man Show
Now the Thunder are a bit more offensive minded as they are sixth in the NBA with their 103.6 points per game. However, they are now without Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka for the rest of the season, and it has taken an MVP-like season from Russell Westbrook that has included 11 triple-doubles just to keep Oklahoma City afloat in the playoff race.

Granted the scoring has not tailed off as much as expected without the missing stars, but it may be a different case here tonight vs. a quality defense in Indiana that can focus its efforts on containing Westbrook and just about dare one of the Thunder’s peripheral players to try and win this game.

Also do not forget that Oklahoma City is a bit underrated defensively as it ranks seventh in the NBA in field goal percentage allowed at 43.9 percent despite allowing 101.6 points per game, and that aspect has not fallen off without Durant, although Ibaka’s defense has been missed. Still, even the combined scoring average of all Thunder games this season of 205.2 points is less than this bloated total and that combined average drops to 203.1 points on the road.


First Meeting Stayed ‘under’
These teams stayed ‘under’ fairly easily the first time they met this season with the Thunder prevailing 105-92 in Oklahoma City despite shooting only 41.7 percent for the contest as they held Indiana to 43.2 percent shooting.

There is now even a slightly bigger cushion with a slightly higher total, so look for another ‘under’ when Oklahoma City visits Indiana on Sunday.

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NBA Pick: Thunder, Pacers ‘under’ 207½ (-105)