This is the first game to tip off tonight as the Wizards are heading into Indianapolis to play the Pacers. The early NBA Odds have the Pacers as big -9 ½ favorites, with a total of 186 ½.
Indiana has become the Spurs of the Eastern Conference this season, and they have been consistently undervalued not only in their spreads, but their totals as well. The Pacers have been one of the best ATS values in the East and the entire NBA, and it starts with their smothering defense.
Every member of their starting five is a plus defender, with Lance Stephenson, Paul George and Roy Hibbert being above average, or even elite defenders. This has led to the Pacers being the best under bet so far this season. Through a third of the season, the Pacers have cashed the under at 23-12 on the year.
It starts in the middle and on the wing with George and Hibbert, and it spreads from there. Not only is their starting unit very good defensively, but their bench has been very good this season as well on that end of the floor. This is why the Pacers lead the league in almost every defensive category so far this season, and it’s why I think the under may be the play once again tonight.
Indiana and Washington both play at a snails pace on offense, as both like to run things through the half court. This has led to both teams averaging only 95 possessions per game this season. Against one another tonight, expect a slow and methodical game, where both teams put more effort into stopping one another. However some injury concerns for the Pacers are creeping into tonight’s storylines.
Lance Stephenson could miss his second straight game, and he is the reason why these NBA Odds are so late coming out this morning. He missed the Pacers’ game on Wednesday with a knee injury, and even though he isn’t quite the most important Pacer, he is on the top three list. His defense would be really counted on in this game up against Bradley Beal, and his offensive contributions are always very undervalued.
Either way it goes with Stephenson, it looks as if the under is the NBA pick tonight. The Pacers are the #1 home defensive teams in the NBA this season, only allowing their opponents 83.5 points per game and 41% shooting. The Wizards have been known to struggle scoring on the road this season, and especially with their undervalued defense, I see a very low scoring game tonight between these two.
The under is 7-1 in the last eight times these two have played one another in Indianapolis, and the Pacers have now cashed the under in five straight games extending back to 2013. I see this being a game where one or both don’t get out of the 80s.
My Pick: UNDER 186 ½