Shaky Defenses Will Help Send Pacers-Wolves Tilt 'Over' Total Monday

Sunday, October 21, 2018 6:19 PM UTC

Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018 6:19 PM UTC

Two strong offenses will do battle in Minnesota on Monday night. With the way these two teams have opened the season, it could be a very high-scoring affair. Look at the totals market for your NBA picks.

Sharp's NBA season picks record: 1-0

Indiana (2-1 SU & 2-1 ATS) at Minnesota (1-2 SU & 0-3 ATS)Monday, 8 p.m. ETFree NBA Pick: 'Over'Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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All the drama in Minnesota has led to Jimmy Butler seeing reduced minutes, and without him on Saturday they got beat in Dallas. This team is an absolute dumpster fire right now, and that is going to lead to a lot less defense and potentially a big offensive night for the Pacers on the road.

Pacers’ New-Found Depth

It has been only three games, but the Pacers’ offense has looked pretty good. Their new signings of Tyreke Evans and Doug McDermott have integrated nicely, and Domantas Sabonis is playing like a machine. I don’t think the Pacers are anywhere close to being Eastern Conference contenders right now, but another two months of this and I might have to change my mind.

Not only has the bench been stocked up, but the team as a whole is playing well. They have at least four or five players who have the ability to go for 20-plus points every night, and that’s very difficult to game plan for.

One thing holding me back from calling the Pacers contenders is their defense. They’ve played well so far, but that’s also against the Nets and Grizzlies in two of their three games.

That being said, the Pacers are in for a true test on that end of the court on Monday night. The Wolves may be dysfunctional, but they can still score a lot. Minnesota dropped 136 without Butler on Saturday, and at home against a smaller Pacers team, Minny might drop 130-plus once again.

The only way to win this game will be on offense for Indiana, and it seems like offense will be the most prevalent part of this contest for both teams.

The Sharp Pick

The battle between Butler (assuming he hasn’t been traded before Monday night) and Victor Oladipo is going to be one that defines this game. Butler is one of the better on-ball defenders in the league, but with his trade demands and vocal displeasure with playing in Minneapolis, I don’t expect him to exert much effort on the defensive end of the court.

If he isn’t playing hard, the rest of the Wolves probably won’t be playing that hard on defense either. Adding in the fact that this Indiana team goes about nine guys deep while this Wolves team plays a very tight rotation, the ability for the Indiana bench to run up the score at times could make all the difference.

This total opened at just 221 points and I expect it to go up a lot more over the next 24 hours before tip-off. The Wolves own an offensive rating of 121.7 through three games, which ranks second in the league.

The amount of data is very small, obviously, through just a handful of games, but both of these teams have the ability to end the season with a top-10 offense. I think the books are severely undervaluing the Pacers’ lack of defense on the road and the play of both these offenses early on.

Don’t overthink this Butler situation. Points are still going to be scored, and probably a lot of them.

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