NBA Picks: Give the Points, as 76ers Won't Cover vs. Pacers

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 11:33 AM GMT

Is Wednesday the night? Will 76ers get their first win of the season and end a 21-game skid dating to last year? Doubtful as Pacers are opening 7-point favs on NBA odds.

Pacers' George Back To All-Star Level
Indiana's 2014-15 season was lost in August 2014 when star Paul George broke his leg while scrimmaging with The U.S. National Team. George did play six games at the end of last season, but he was clearly rusty and the Pacers missed the playoffs. George looks all the way back now, and that's a good thing for NBA fans whether you like Indiana or not because George is a Top-10 talent.

George is topping his career bests in points (24.5), rebounds (8.6) and assists (4.6) per game and Indiana is off to a 6-5 start. The Pacers are using him more as a power forward in a small-ball, up-tempo system. George wasn't happy about that and, in reality, the most successful Indiana lineups have involved some combination of Ian Mahinmi, Jordan Hill and Lavoy Allen on the court. Those are all big guys.

The Pacers had a three-game winning streak snapped on Monday in a 96-95 home loss to Chicago. George had 26 points, his seventh straight with at least that many, but his potential winning fadeaway jumper to win it was partially blocked by excellent Bulls defender Jimmy Butler.

"I have confidence in myself that this is the level I should be playing at regardless against which team or who is guarding me. It is my job to help lead this team to a win. I failed to do so," George said of that miss.

Indiana was missing three regulars on Monday in center Myles Turner and guards George Hill and Rodney Stuckey. Turner is going to miss 4-6 weeks following knee surgery. The rookie from Texas had been a solid contributor, averaging 6.1 points and 2.9 rebounds. Hill was out with an illness and Stuckey a right ankle sprain. Hill, the starter at the point, is averaging 14.0 points and 3.7 assists. He's not expected on Wednesday. Stuckey, the sixth man, is averaging 10.1 points. He could play.

Indiana is 7-4 against the spread on NBA odds this season and 4-7 'over/under.'

 

Philadelphia Hard To Watch
What else can you call the 76ers franchise right now other than a joke? I don't know why anyone would buy a season ticket to see that franchise play in the City of Brotherly Love. I did actually think the Sixers would be better this season with the addition of Jahlil Okafor, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 draft. He and Nerlens Noel, a stellar defensive player and rebounder, have the makings of a nice frontcourt. Okafor is your NBA Rookie of the Year favorite right now, averaging 19.2 points and 7.6 rebounds. Noel is averaging 11.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. The problem is that the Sixers have no wing or perimeter quality players to help those guys. Of late, the team has been starting undrafted T.J. McConnell at the point and Nik Stauskas at shooting guard. That's a D-League backcourt. In the past two games, Stauskas has played 34 minutes and scored as many points as you or I, going a combined 0-for-10 from the field. Philly remains without injured guards Kendall Marshall and Tony Wroten, so maybe they help a tiny bit when they return sometime next month. The Sixers rank last in the NBA in several categories, including points per game, point differential, turnovers and offensive rating.

The Sixers are 0-11. The worst start in NBA history is 0-18 by the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets. Last year's Sixers started 0-17 before beating the Timberwolves 85-77 in Minnesota. From January to March 2014, the Sixers lost 26 consecutive games, tying the 2010-11 Cavaliers for the longest losing streak in NBA history.

If Philly doesn't upset Indiana, that 0-18 mark could be broken because the team plays its next six on the road. So, theoretically, the NBA-record 27th straight loss overall could come Nov. 27 at Houston. The record 19th straight loss to open the season might happen on Dec. 1 at home against the Lakers. Philly might actually be favored in that one!

Philadelphia is 5-6 ATS on NBA picks and 6-5 O/U.

 

Last Season
Indiana won three of four meetings. Noel blocked 20 shots in those four games, including a career-high nine on Feb. 20. Noel totalled no more than eight blocks against any other opponent (eight against Detroit in four games) in 2014-15. The Sixers last defeated Indiana on Jan. 10 in Philly, 93-92. Former 76er Michael Carter-Williams hit a running layup with 9.9 seconds left. The Pacers have won six of their last seven games against the Sixers, including two of their last three contests in Philadelphia.

Free NBA Pick: Give the points at Bet365. The Pacers are 4-0 ATS in their past four on the road and have covered seven straight vs. the East. The Sixers are 2-9 ATS in their past 11 at home. 

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2882626, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,19,93,92,238,349], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]