NBA Picks: Take The Points In Raptors vs. Pacers Eastern Clash

Swinging Johnson

Monday, December 14, 2015 3:42 PM GMT

The Raptors are shooting for their 5th consecutive victory, & their hosts the Pacers have dropped four of their last five. What are the NBA odds makers hanging on this Eastern Conference clash?

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Free NBA Pick: Pacers +6
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Toronto Raptors (16-9 SU, 15-9-1 ATS)
The Raptors claimed their fourth win in a row and their 16th on the season last night off the hot start by Argentinian power forward Luis Scola, who ended the game with 22 points, and a team leading 25 by shooting guard DeMar DeRozan. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the Raptors held an 11 point lead, which kept those who included Toronto in their NBA picks last night wondering if they would cover the 11½ point impost that the NBA odds makers hung on that contest. But when the dust settled, Toronto outscored the Sixers by nine points in the final stanza and drew away to a 96-76 win to the delight of their fans and backers alike.

Defense has been the key to Toronto’s most recent run of success. Since the four game winning streak began exactly one week ago, the Raptors have limited their opposition (Lakers, Spurs, Bucks and 76’ers) to an average of 86½ points per game. This is not a new wrinkle to their game plan as they are allowing an average of only 95.4 PPG which ranks them 3rd in the league on the season, but it has morphed an effective defense into one that has been suffocating. Yet, if they are to be one of the elite teams in the NBA, they will have to ramp up an offense that is currently ranked 18th in scoring, averaging 99.9 points per game and get more aggressive on the glass where they are 20th in rebounds with an average take of 43.4 per contest.

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Indiana Pacers (13-9 SU, 13-9 ATS)
Indiana has won and covered only one of their last five outings, and their last game against the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night was more of the same much to the chagrin of Pacers’ fans and those who wagered on them. Installed as 1½ point road dogs Indiana fell flat as they were trounced 118-96 at the Palace of Auburn Hills. It was the latest setback in a season that saw the Pacers vie for the top spot in the Eastern Conference with the Cavaliers after an 0-3 start only to now become mired in this quarter-pole funk.

Paul George averaged nearly 30 points per game when the Pacers were reeling off victories but has had some disappointing offensive efforts mixed with 48 and 33 point explosions in losses to the Jazz and Warriors respectively. Yet, scoring has hardly been the issue for Indiana this season, as the team is currently ranked 7th in the league averaging 103½ points per contest. However, their defense has been the bane of their existence recently allowing an average of 115.4 over their last five games.

 

Betting Analysis
This is a good spot for the Pacers. Though Toronto has been rolling, they just played last night, had to hop aboard a plane from Philly to Toronto and now must suit up again tonight against a team that has no issues putting the rock in the hole. The oddsmakers will inflate this line to account for the teams’ recent performances, but also considering that the Raptors have owned the Pacers over the past three seasons where they are 8-0 straight up and 6-2 against the number.

I am not concerned about recent history because the Pacers have enough offense to get the job done and they are both virtually identical in terms of rebounding (Pacers 43.5 vs. Raptors 43.4 rebounds per game), which means there will be no dramatic advantage on the boards. Indiana is a very good team going through a rough patch and has home court advantage coupled with an extra day of rest.

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