Thursday, 7 p.m. ET (TNT)
Free NBA Picks: Pacers ATS
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
Good TNT doubleheader on Thursday this week, and my cohort Jason will have a preview of the late game between the LeBron James-less Lakers and Thunder from Oklahoma City. The early game – and it’s 7 p.m. ET this week and not 8 – is a potential Eastern Conference playoff preview between the 76ers and Pacers from Indianapolis.
These clubs have two of the best home records in the NBA yet each has lost at home to Thursday’s opponent already. On Nov. 7, Philadelphia ended an eight-game losing streak in Indianapolis with a 100-94 victory. Joel Embiid had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Ben Simmons 16 points, 10 boards and eight assists in the Sixers’ first win at Indiana since April 17, 2013. Victor Oladipo had 36 points for the Pacers, but the rest of the starters just 26.
Meanwhile, the Pacers won their second straight in Philly on Dec. 14, 113-101 – one of just four home losses this season for the Sixers. Thaddeus Young had his best game of the season with 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. He’s a former Sixer. Embiid had 40 points and 21 rebounds, but Philly was without Jimmy Butler and the team’s bench did squat.
Blowout Central Tuesday
We previewed Philly’s home game vs. Minnesota on Tuesday, Butler’s first against his former team since the trade from the Wolves, and recommended the Sixers at -6. They JUST covered (sarcasm) in a 149-107 destruction. That was over at the half when Philadelphia had a whopping 83 points. Tuesday was a night of blowouts overall as the average margin of victory in the six games was 28.0 points, the biggest single day in league history.
Philadelphia’s overall point total was the highest in the 22-year history of the Wells Fargo Center and their 21 three-pointers made were a team record. Embiid had 31 points and 13 boards, Simmons an assist shy of a triple-double and Butler 19 points. The Sixers hit 59.8 percent from the field.
Indiana was also on the right side of a blowout Tuesday, trashing the visiting Suns 131-97. Oladipo had an off night with just eight points (fifth straight with fewer than 20), the only starter with fewer than 12. He wasn’t needed with seven other guys scoring in double figures. Tyreke Evans had 20 in just 15 minutes off the bench. Myles Turner returned from a four-game absence (shoulder) and had 18 points and six rebounds.
- 76ers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- 76ers are 2-5 ATS in the last 7 meetings in Indiana.
- Pacers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS win.
FiveThirtyEight lists the Sixers as very slight favorites on the site’s Carmelo Spread. We disagree as Philly just isn’t the same on the road despite that earlier win in Indianapolis. Take the Pacers ATS on your Thursday NBA bet.