Second chance, or second
These are the two fates of the Pacers heading into Game 7. Through one door is a second chance at getting closer to the NBA Finals, the other is a long, cruel, and probably team-shaking offseason. We will find out early, because this game starts late in the afternoon on Saturday, and the NBA Odds have the Pacers as a solid -6 favorite.
However at all of the offshore sportsbooks, there are no NBA Odds for the total of this game. In Las Vegas there are just a couple of books that have total odds out, and they are in between 185 ½ and 186 ½. However for this play, I am far more focused on the spread.
Six points is a lot considering how well the Hawks have played the Pacers during this series, and I think it may be a few points too high. Even though we saw David West have a monster Game 6, I don’t think he is at the stage of his career where he can sustain that. Even if the Pacers do win this game SU, don’t expect West to carry Indiana through the East, Pacer fans.
The Sharp Pick
Dating back to the regular season, the Hawks are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 overall games, and even though they are 3-3 SU and ATS in this series, the Pacers have been a bad bet this year at home. Indiana is only 1-2 ATS in this series at home, and they are only 3-11 ATS in their last 14 home games.
Simply put, this is and has been a bad matchup for the Pacers, and I don’t think being at home is going to help them much here. Roy Hibbert is still invisible, and his lack of defense has been the biggest (literally and figuratively) issue for Indiana in this series. Pero Antic has rendered him virtually useless, and Frank Vogel won’t be able to play him much in this game.
The x-factor for Atlanta will once again be Jeff Teague. Teague was again outstanding in Game 6, however he got little help from Paul Millsap and the rest of the Hawks in the loss. Still, the Hawks only lost that game by seven points and now on the road, they are a bit undervalued at +6. Millsap should bounce back, while I think the selfishness of Lance Stephenson might just ruin this game for the Pacers ATS.
Let it be known that I really like Stephenson. I think his game is great; it just doesn’t mesh well with the Pacers. Stephenson has been a ball-stopper in this series and basically the entire second half of the season, and I think it directly correlates to the way they are playing. Stephenson was dishing a lot to start the season and it opened things up for everyone on the floor. However, with Lance (along with George and Vogel’s play calling) playing so much isolation basketball, it is hurting the Pacers’ inside game and offensive efficiency. I think at home, the emotion of a potential hero’s welcome after Game 7 might get to Stephenson or George, and if that’s the case, the Hawks will cover in our NBA picks. Six points is too many for the way this series has gone.
My NBA Pick: Hawks +6