Take Pacers To Pull Mild Upset Over Celtics In Boston As Your NBA Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 5:14 PM GMT

The NBA odds are out for tonight's game & the Celtics are on four-game losing streak and have lost six of their last seven overall, and they must now deal with the Pacers.

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Free NBA Pick: Pacers +2½ (-102)
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

This nationally televised contest Wednesday night seemed like a nice NBA matchup a couple of weeks ago, but the two participants seem to be going in opposite directions as the Indiana Pacers (22-16, 22-16 ATS) and their suffocating defense pay a visit to the now reeling Boston Celtics (19-19, 19-18-1 ATS) at TD Garden in Boston, PA at 8:05 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Indiana as a modest road underdog for this contest with the current line at +2½ with NBA odds of -102.

 

Playing at Faster “Pace”
The Pacers are living up to their name more this year as they are playing at a faster pace than recent years after allowing defensive stalwarts Roy Hibbert and David West to walk during free agency, adding a potent scoring guard in Monta Ellis and going small by moving Paul George to the power forward spot. The results have been very good as at 22-16, Indiana is a manageable six games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers while third in the Central Division.

The Celtics were living up to the promise of being the biggest threats to the Toronto Raptors “three-peating” as Atlantic Division Champions and in fact they remain second in the division only 4½ games behind Toronto. However, Boston has now hit a rough patch as the losing NBA pick in four straight games and in six of the last seven following a 120-114 loss to the New York Knicks on the road at Madison Square Garden last night.

 

Still Playing Great Defense
The Pacers have always played great defense under Coach Frank Vogel, but they usually struggled offensively, such as while ranking 24th in the league in scoring last season at only 97.3 points per game. However, that change in offensive philosophy has that Indiana scoring average up to 102.3 points this year, good enough to rank 10th in the NBA, and the best part of that is that the Pacers have picked up their scoring without forsaking their defense all that much.

In fact, Indiana is simultaneously sixth in the NBA in scoring defense allowing just 98.2 points per game, and that defense has been more suffocating than ever since the calendar flipped over to 2016. The Pacers have played six games since New Year’s Day, and during this time they have allowed an average of 93.5 points on a mere 39.2 percent shooting from the floor.

The Pacers may be in third place in the Central behind the Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls, but that combination of improved offense and stiff defense could have Indiana approaching the elite status it had while reaching back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals before failing to make the playoffs in an injury-riddled season last year.

 

Lost to Some Awful Teams
Now, the Celtics were only +200 to win the Atlantic before the season, a strong second choice behind the Raptors at -200, but after keeping up with Toronto up until two weeks ago, Boston lost back-to-back home games to a couple of awful opponents in the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets, and after then getting an avenging win at Brooklyn, the Celts embarked on their current four-game losing skid.

And the Celtics have struggled in one area or another in every game. Boston may rank slightly ahead of Indiana in scoring for the season in eighth at 102.6 points per game, but the shooting deserted the Celtics while averaging 94.7 points on 38.3 percent over the first three games of the losing streak. Then, the offense awoke last night, but the defense took the night off allowing the Knicks to shoot 53.1 percent including 72.2 percent in a 35-point fourth quarter!

Boston must now contend with a well-balanced opponent and we do not see the Celtics matching the 114 points from last night the way the Pacers are playing defense right now.

 

Head-to-Head Dominance
Finally, the Pacers have won both head-to-head meetings with Boston this season to improve to 7-3 straight up in the last 10 meetings, but more importantly from a betting perspective the underdogs are 7-1 ATS in the last eight series meetings while the road teams are 5-2 ATS in the last seven encounters. Also, the Pacers are a sizzling 20-7 ATS in their last 27 games inside the Eastern Conference.

Given the recent courses that these teams are on, we see no reason to buck those patterns here so back Indiana to pull the small upset as it visits Boston Wednesday night on ESPN.