Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out a total that simply does not add up and therefore offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Thursday.
Expect a relatively slow pace to lead to a lower scoring game than the posted total suggests Thursday night when the Indiana Pacers (7-11, 3-6 away) pay a visit to the Portland Trail Blazers (14-4, 9-2 home) at the Moda Center in Portland, OR at 10:05 ET in a game available on Comcast SportsNet - Northwest.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 195 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -108.
0-2 Start to Road Trip
The Pacers had an awful start this season with so many of their players injured, but at least they are starting to slowly get their walking wounded back with David West, Rodney Stuckey and Roy Hibbert all returning from absences in recent games. That has not prevented an 0-2 start to this road trip, which began with a 109-97 loss in Cleveland to LeBron James and the Cavaliers before flying west and getting outrun 113-99 by the Suns in Phoenix on Tuesday.
The Blazers meanwhile improved to 14-4 when they were narrow, non-covering winning NBA picks 105-103 in Denver Tuesday as three-point favorites over the Nuggets, winning on a basket by Brook Lopez with 1.3 seconds remaining. Portland now returns home for just this one game before commencing on a five-game eastern road trip on Sunday when it visit the Knicks in New York.
Slowing Down the Pace
The Pacers have been involved in a couple of fast-paced games to begin their trip, and that is simply not the normal game for an Indiana team that is ranked 27th in the NBA in Pace Rating this season. Yes the Pacers have been playing with backups for most of the year, but that slow pace continues their plodding pattern of recent seasons, so while the faces have changed the style has been the same.
That is why the Pacers were at a disadvantage when drawn into games that more closely resembled track meets the last two games, so expect them to go back to being more methodical tonight and slowing this pace more to their liking. Indiana is 25th in the league in scoring so far with 93.7 points per game but sixth in points against at 96.4 points, with those 190.1 total points being almost five full points less than this posted total.
Not Much Pressure from Portland Defense
More importantly, the Pacers should be able to slow the pace because the Blazers do not really apply enough defensive pressure to prevent Indiana from doing so. In fact Portland is dead last in the NBA in turnovers forced per game with 11.3 and also dead last in turnover percentage at 10.6 percent.
Now there is no denying that the Blazers can score as they are seventh in the league at 104.3 points per contest, paced by the still underrated LaMarcus Aldridge, who is nearly averaging a double-double with 22.4 points and 9.6 rebounds. However, they are only in the middle of the pack in field goal percentage in 14th at 45.6 percent, so if the Pacers slow the game as we expect, Portland may simply not get enough possessions to get near its usual scoring average.
Of course another obstacle is dealing with an Indiana defense that has continued to perform at a high level despite the backups playing.
Blazers Lower Scoring at Home
Finally, despite the Blazers’ high scoring average all Portland home games are only averaging 196.2 points thanks to the defense playing much better in the comforts of the Moda Center, allowing only 93.2 points per home game. When you factor in Indiana’s pace, you can probably shave a few points off that combined average here.
And that should be enough to bring Indiana and Portland in ‘under’ this posted total in the Great Northwest on Thursday.
NBA Pick: Pacers, Blazers ‘under’ 195 (-108)