The fine folks at TNT are giving us and extra doubleheader this week. Monday’s nightcap features the Indiana Pacers at the Golden State Warriors, with the NBA lines opening as a pick ‘em.
Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to January 18 inclusive:
Oh, those crazy Golden State Warriors. They’ve bitten me in the tuckus the last couple of games. I followed them against the Oklahoma City Thunder when Kevin Durant scored 54 points, and I faded them Saturday night against the New Orleans Pelicans (+4.5 at home), figuring that the Pellies had enough bench strength to deal with the Dubs and their struggling lynchpin, Andre Iguodala. Turns out Greg Smith (knee) didn’t play for New Orleans, and Iguodala shot a decent-enough 3-of-7 in a 97-87 victory.
M’eh. Nothing to do but keep choppin’ wood. The Indiana Pacers paid out for us on Saturday, stuffing the L.A. Clippers 106-92 as 9-point home faves. Now they’ll take the transcontinental to Oakland to face the Warriors on a special Monday night version of the NBA on TNT, and it should be a hell of a game, too. The NBA odds opened this one as a pick ‘em, although Golden State has moved to –1 as we go to press. The total has also risen from 196.5 points to 197.5.
Sunday Bettor on a Saturday Night
That’s the thing about these weekend games: If you want to get an early jump on the NBA betting public, you have to get in there right away. Plenty of casual bettors will be looking up those Sunday games on Saturday, since they’re already free for the weekend and happily dipping into their wallets and/or purses. Having said that, it looks like the earliest action from Vegas was on the Pacers. We should have some consensus info from the online sportsbooks by the time you read this.
I’d be inclined to bet Indiana, too. With the victory over L.A., the Pacers improved to 32-7 SU and 27-12 ATS, the best record in the league in both categories. They’re also the best defensive team in the NBA by a wide margin, allowing just 92.6 points per 100 possessions. Golden State (26-16 SU, 19-21-2 ATS) is fifth in defensive efficiency at 99.6 points/100. That’s a solid number, but to put things in perspective, the seven-point difference between Indiana and the Dubs is even bigger than the difference between Golden State and the No. 28-ranked Sacramento Kings (106.0 points allowed/100).
Math for Shut-Ins
At the other end of the floor, the Warriors have a slight advantage, but neither of these teams is lighting it up. Golden State ranks No. 12 in offensive efficiency (103.8 points/100) at press time, four spots ahead of Indiana (102.9 points/100). Add all that up, and the Pacers are 6.1 points per 100 possessions better than the Warriors. We typically value home-court advantage at four points, so there you go. Drive home safely.
Nothing’s ever that easy, of course. The Warriors (99.1 possessions per game) run a much faster offense than the Pacers (95.0), so they’ll have a chance to make up for in volume what they lack in defensive efficiency. Then again, do the Dubs deserve to be handed four points for playing at The Oracle? They’re 6-10-1 ATS at home this year, while Indiana is 11-6 ATS on the road. There is no spoon.
This is why you’ll rarely see me do that kind of math around here. It’s not unimportant, but in many ways, it’s already been factored into the marketplace. I’m more interested in situational thinking; in this situation, the Pacers are healthy, they’re on a 4-0 SU and ATS roll, and they’ve been shredding the NBA lines all season. The Warriors are 1-4 ATS in their last five, they have some depth issues in the paint without Jermaine O’Neal and Festus Ezeli, and the betting market might be overvaluing their offense. Either way, it should be a great game. May the sphere be with you.NBA Pick: Take the Pacers +1 at BetCRIS