NBA Picks: Bet Thunder & Pacers To Go 'Over' 107 In The First Half

Jordan Sharp

Saturday, March 19, 2016 5:33 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 19, 2016 5:33 PM UTC

The Thunder are coming off an easy win last night against the Sixers, and now they head into my home town to play the Pacers. The Thunder come in as a -3 road favorite in this one, with a total of 210, and with big man injury concerns for both teams, who should we back in our NBA picks?

Rolling Thunder
The Thunder are coming off a win last night against the Sixers, and luckily for the Thunder they were able to beat down Philadelphia pretty easily and not play their starters too many minutes. Now they head into Indianapolis to play the Pacers on Saturday, and the NBA odds have Indiana as +3 underdog in this one, with a total of 210 points. While the Thunder are only 6-7 ATS playing on no rest, their lack of fourth quarter minutes last night makes them appealing again here in Indianapolis. However, the Pacers aren’t chopped liver, so I’m laying off the spread.

While the Pacers are a good defensive team and have showed it lately, the Thunder have been great offensively over their last three games. In their last three contests, the Thunder are averaging 123 points per game, and they have done a lot of their damage in the first half. They have scored an average of 62 points in the first halves of their last three games, and they are averaging 57 points per first half on the road this season.

While I fully expect the Pacers to bring their A-game defensively in the first half of this one, with the Thunder coming off the back to back, I’m banking on the Pacers wanting to push the pace in the first half. The Thunder will be more than happy to oblige playing faster, as both of these teams play in the top third of the league in pace.

The Thunder also play at the 8th fastest pace in the league in first halves this season, which should also be helpful. However, the Thunder have not been great at cashing the over on the second half of a back to back this season. This could be for several reasons, but their last two games on no rest were against the Spurs and Warriors, a good defensive team and a great offensive team where the total was over 230 points.

However, it is important to make a distinction between road-to-road and home to road back to backs for the Thunder, compared to games played at home on the second night of a back to back. If you take away those last two against the Spurs and Warriors, two games with much more of a playoff feel, OKC’s last three road games played on no rest have gone over the total, and the average first half combined score in the final two of those games was 126 points.


The Sharp Pick
Another big factor for this one could be injuries to both teams. Serge Ibaka missed Friday’s game against the Sixers, and Ian Mahinmi has missed the last few games for Indiana. Both players are two of their best rim protectors for their respective teams, and if those guys aren’t in or are limited, the rim should be open some more on Saturday.

Combine the potential lack of rim protection, the back to back for the Thunder and the pace for both clubs, the over in the first half is looking like a great play, I fully expect Indiana to try and run against or with the Thunder whichever one comes first, but at this point that is a matter of semantics. I expect a fast-paced, up and down contest at Bankers Life Fieldhouse tonight, so while the Pacers will play good defense, they are not good enough defensively to slow down Oklahoma City. Take the over in the first half and add it to your NBA picks.

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NBA Pick: Over 107 First Half
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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