NBA Picks: Pacers Deep Bench To Be Tested In Clash vs. Bulls

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 1:00 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015 1:00 PM UTC

Our NBA handicapper looks at this close matchup on paper and finds that there is a distinct advantage with one of these squads as he makes his Wednesday NBA pick.

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Free NBA Pick: Pacers +3
Best Line Offered: at Bovada


We have what looks like an even matchup between the 18-12 Indiana Pacers and 17-12 Chicago Bulls in Wednesday night NBA action. The opening lines tell us the same thing as their season records, with the Bulls favored by just 3 points on their home court across the NBA odds board. The O/U total is a non-descript 201 at multiple books.


History & Trends
These teams have already met twice this season, both games being in November. The first game was in Chicago, a nail biter that the Bulls ended up winning 96-95. That score was good enough for the Pacers to cover as 6.5 point underdogs. The teams also played well below the listed total of 197.5, cashing the under for those savvy bettors. The Pacers where without guards George Hill and Rodney Stuckey in that game, which had a large effect on their rotation. Even with those absences, Paul George was able to pick up the slack scoring 26 points in the process. Derrick Rose was the leading scorer for the Bulls in the win, scoring 23 points before leaving half way through the fourth quarter with a sprained ankle.

The second game between these two teams was a more lopsided affair, with the Pacers taking the game 104-92 on their home court. Paul George continued his hot hand in that one, scoring 33 points while picking up eight rebounds in the process. George Hill was in this game and made a difference, tallying up 10 assists and 10 rebounds in the process. The Pacers defense held Chicago to just 34.8% shooting in the game. Derrick rose was especially cold from the floor - finishing with ten points.

The Pacers are coming off of a 93-87 win at home versus Atlanta. In that game, Pacers guard, Monta Ellis, was able to pick up the slack for the poor offensive performance of Paul George. George only scored 9 points on 3-14 shooting from the field in the game, while Ellis dropped 26 points in going 10-20 from the floor. George Hill and Rodney Stuckey were able to play in this game and put in 40 combined minutes, so their absence in the earlier against Chicago was significant. The depth of the Pacers bench was in rare form as all bench players logged plus minutes, while the only starter that logged plus minutes was George Hill.

The Bulls are also coming off of a win, a 104-97 beating of the Toronto Raptors at home in Chicago. The Bulls bench players played a big part in the victory, with Tony Snell leading the way with 22 points and Aaron Brooks and Bobby Portis adding 17 and 12 points, respectively.


Betting Analysis
Although the SU records of these teams is the same, the ATS records are quite different. The Pacers have been quite good so far this year, with a 17-13 ATS record to go with their 18-12 SU record. The Bulls have not had as much luck, going 11-18 ATS even though they are 17-12 ATS. Indiana is even 8-7 ATS away from home – quite different from the poor 6-11 home ATS record of the Bulls.

The absences due to injury in the first game for the Pacers, and the results after those players returned in the second, lead me to believe that the Pacers are the more talented team in this matchup. The Bulls haven’t exhibited a strong home court advantage this year either, so I have no problem backing the road dog. Look for a balanced performance from the Pacers and a likely outright win as I’ll pick them +3 at Bovada as one of my Wednesday NBA picks.

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