NBA Picks for Pacers vs. Raptors

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, January 1, 2014 1:19 PM GMT

Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014 1:19 PM GMT

The Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors are both closing out back-to-back situations on New Year’s Day, as the two teams prepare to meet at the Air Canada Centre.

Let’s take a closer look at the NBA odds for this Eastern Conference matchup, with the opening tip scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.

Streaking

Indiana has won and covered the number in its last five games, including a 91-76 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers as 12.5-point home favorites Tuesday, while going UNDER the betting total for the fourth time in five contests.

The Pacers are winning by an average of 21.2 points over their current winning streak, while they pace the league in allowing just 89.0 points a contest.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the franchise is 20-11 SU and 16-15 ATS in January, with the UNDER going 19-12 in that situation. 

Playing better basketball since making a trade 

Toronto has compiled a 7-2 SU record since trading forward Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings on Dec. 13, as it comes off an 85-79 victory over the Chicago Bulls as one-point road underdogs Tuesday. 

The Raptors are limiting opponents to 42.5 percent shooting from the field over that span, which is far different than the 46.6 they allowed in the first 20 contests. 

NBA handicappers will find that the squad is 3-9 SU and 5-7 ATS versus teams with a winning record during the 2013-14 campaign.

Important numbers for the second half 

NBA handicappers need to keep a close eye on the second-half betting odds in this affair, considering the Pacers have outscored opponents by 9.5 points per game in the final 24 minutes of action, while the Raptors entered last night with a plus-54-point advantage in the fourth quarter in their last 10 games.

Indiana does most of its damage coming out of the break—outscoring foes by 174 total points in the third quarter in its 30 games to this point. 

Back-to-back situation 

The Raptors are 4-2 in playing the second half of a back-to-back, while the Pacers have won five of eight opportunities in that situation. 

Toronto will need a bounce-back effort from leading scorer DeMar DeRozan, who scored 11 points on 3-of-12 shooting against the Bulls, and has struggled to get things going offensively in his most recent meetings versus the Pacers.

[gameodds]5/251840/?r-1=19-43-349/us[/gameodds]

Prediction 

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Pacers with their NBA picks, as they’ve gone 20-7 ATS in their last 27 road games versus a team with a losing home record.

NBA Pick:  Indiana Pacers -5.5

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