NBA Picks: Bucks & Pacers To Go 'Under' In New Year’s Eve

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, December 31, 2015 7:39 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015 7:39 PM UTC

The stiff defense of the Indiana Pacers has held three straight foes to 91 points or less during regulation and that could key an ‘Under’ vs. the Milwaukee Bucks New Year’s Eve.


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NBA Pick: Under 200
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline


The home team is playing the suffocating defense lately than made it an elite team in the Eastern Conference before an off year riddled by injuries last season, so look for an ‘under’ on New Year’s Eve Thursday when the Milwaukee Bucks (12-21, 16-17 ATS) pay a visit to those Indiana Pacers (18-13, 18-13 ATS) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN at 6:05 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Midwest.

The posted total at Heritage is 199½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -105.


Trying to Put Pressure on Cavaliers
The Pacers had reached back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals before failing to make the playoffs with a team riddled by injuries for most of the year last season, but that are trying to return to that elite level this year. Indiana did lose in a hard-fought overtime affair 102-100 last night in Chicago to drop one-half game behind the Bulls and to third place in the Central Division, but the Pacers still trail the first place Cleveland Cavaliers by only 3½ games.

The Bucks unexpectedly made the playoffs as a six-seed in a very weak Eastern Conference last season with a 41-41 record in their first year under Coach Jason Kidd. The task of making the playoffs seems much tougher this year though as the East seems much improved but the Bucks are one of the few teams that have taken a step backwards, sitting in last place 10½ games behind Cleveland with just a 12-21 NBA picks record.


Defense has Offset Improved Offense
The Pacers are doing things differently this season as they probably have their best offense since Frank Vogel took over as head coach, with Indiana ranking ninth in the NBA in scoring at 102.2 points per game, joining a league-wide trend that has seen scoring go up this year. However, the Pacers are well balanced with a defense ranked seventh in points against at 98.5 per game, and thus the Indiana ‘under’ is 18-13 this season despite that increase in scoring.

Furthermore the ‘under’ is a lucrative 11-4 in games played here at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this year, and the defense appears to be in peak form in recent games. In fact, the Pacers had allowed 87 and 88 points respectively in back-to-back wins prior to the overtime loss at Chicago last night where they held the Bulls to 91 points during regulation time.


Slow Milwaukee Pace
The Bucks have struggled offensively on more than a few occasions this season while ranking 24th in the league in scoring with 97.1 points per game, and given the play of the Indiana defense in recent games, this certainly does not look like a prime breakout spot for the Milwaukee offense. In fact, the Bucks scored just 86 points in their first meeting with the Pacers this season right here in this arena.

What is interesting about that Milwaukee attack though is that the Bucks are actually seventh in the league in field goal percentage at 45.6 percent, but that has not translated to a lot of points due to preferring to play at a slow tempo. The Bucks are 24th in the NBA in pace rating grading out at 96.1 possessions per game, and do not expect them to vary from that style here as that slow pace has helped mask the fact that Milwaukee is 28th in the league in defensive efficiency.


Perfect ‘under’ Trends
Finally, there is no shortage of perfect ‘under’ trends on the Pacers’ side as it has gone 6-0 in their last six home games, 5-0 in their last five games following a straight up loss, 6-0 in their last six games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game and 4-0 their last four games after allowing 100 points or more their previous game. And remember the only reason both teams reached 100 in the Pacers’ 102-100 loss in Chicago last night was overtime.

Look for those perfect short-term ‘under’ trends for the Pacers to get extended by at least one more game when Indiana hosts Milwaukee on New Year’s Eve Thursday.

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