NBA Picks: Turtle-Like Tempo Makes Magic vs. Pacers Game Go 'Under'

Jordan Sharp

Thursday, March 31, 2016 2:05 PM GMT

The Pacers need to keep winning to keep up their lead in the Eastern Conf for the final playoff spot. So, will the Pacers come out as our NBA Pick? Find out more inside.

Indiana Holding Serve
Despite the fact that Indiana has lost four of their last seven games SU, and two of their last three games both SU and ATS heading into this one, they still hold a two game lead on the Bulls for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. This is more of an indictment against Chicago than it is a knock on the Pacers, but Indiana can not blow games against the Bulls like they did on Tuesday, nor can they afford to lose to teams like the Nets.

The consistency issues have plagued the Pacers all season, but they have been very consistent against the Magic all season. In three games against Orlando this year, the Pacers are 3-0 both SU and ATS, and in their first two games against them they held the Magic to less than 90 points.

While Orlando did just get back Victor Oladipo, who should receive a very warm welcome from the Indiana faithful in attendance tonight, the Magic are still not letting on about whether or not Nikola Vucevic will be playing tonight. The Magic big man has missed the better part of a month with a groin injury he was initially playing through, but he has also been practicing with the team recently, which means that he could be close to making his return. Some thought Vucevic was set to return on Tuesday, but since he is close, make sure you monitor the situation.

 

The Sharp Pick
Even if Vucevic ends up playing on Thursday, he will likely only be out there for limited minutes after missing the last 14 games. However, with the Magic heading on the road in this one, their scoring has been a bit limited when playing on the road, and if Vucevic is out again tonight, that could hurt their scoring even more. In their last six road games, the Magic are averaging only 96.3 points per game.

The Pacers have bee even better at home on defense lately. Indians has cashed the under in seven of their last eight home games, and in those eight games they have given up an average of only 95 points per game. With the Pacers on a defensive hot streak, and with the Magic offense still not at full strength, I really like the under here at 207 points.

The total is already starting to tick downward since it opened at 207 ½ on the NBA odds, and it would not surprise me to see it go down even further. While the over cashed in their most recent game against one another, the total easily fell under in their first two meetings of the season, and I see a game similar to that one tonight. I'm backing the under as my NBA pick on this one.

The Magic are defensive oriented despite not playing like it recently, and with Scott Skiles as the head coach, they have improved on that end of the floor. The Magic rank in the middle of the league in Defensive Rating this year at 106.4, while the Pacers are the third best Defensive Rating team in the league at 102.6. While both of these teams have been playing faster this season, if you take away Orlando’s most recent game against the Nets, their pace has been at an average of only 93.5 over their three prior games.

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Free NBA Pick: UNDER 207
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes