The Indiana Pacers went into the All-Star break as one of the coldest teams in basketball, having lost six of their last eight games of the first half of the season. It doesn’t get any easier for Indiana either, as they will kick off the second half of the season against the Los Angeles Lakers, though the defending champs did have their own rocky patch heading into the break as well.
Free Picks: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Indiana Pacers
LeBron, Lakers Look To Start Off Second Half The Right Way (Season Betting Record: 55-55)
The Lakers have also lost six of their past eight, but they have covered the spread in three of their past four games, and the main reason for their struggles was the absence of Dennis Schroder, who’s back now. Obviously, not having Anthony Davis also hurts, but the Lakers have gone 7-3 this season when the German point guard is in there and the Brow is not.
Los Angeles doesn’t have a very enticing against the spread record versus the Pacers in recent memory, with Indiana taking four of the past five meetings both ATS and straight up. However, all four of their wins came at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in cozy Indiana—the Lakers have taken care of business straight up and ATS in the last five consecutive meetings at Staples.
The Lakeshow hasn’t been great at Staples during this campaign, but we’d expect the defending champions to start dominating when they’re at home more often down the stretch. The twin towers of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner have allowed Indiana to score 52.3 points per game in the paint over the past month (sixth), but they will be coming up against a deceptively stingy paint defense at Staples, with L.A. allowing just 43.5 paint points per game over the same time frame (fourth).
Our first NBA pick for this inter-conference matchup will be an NBA point spread play on the host Lakers, but we’re going to buy a point on their spread to make it a more palatable -3.5 point spread at still-appetizing -128 NBA odds.
No team other than Tom Thibodeau’s transformed Knickerbockers has been hitting unders at a higher rate than these Lakers, with both teams going under in 23 of 37 games so far. However, this matchup with the Pacers seems like it may be a spot where we can avoid betting the under on the Lakers.
While the total has gone under in 14 of 18 road games for L.A., they’ve actually gone over the total (10) more than under (nine) when they’re playing at Staples. Not to mention that Pacers games have usually turned into barnburners when they’re coming in as a road dog, with the over going 6-2 in those situations this season.
The over is also 6-0 in Indiana’s last half dozen contests on the road, so with that in mind we’re going to take the over on what is a reasonably low 216.5 point total at solid -120 NBA odds as another of our top picks for this Friday night of NBA action.
Without the Brow in the lineup you’d be expecting LeBron James to be going off on a nightly basis, but the King has been much more deliberate in the absence of his sidekick, often deferring teammates, which has led to a 26.7 average in 13 games without Davis, which is only slightly above his overall season average.
Nonetheless, one of our best bets for today is the over on LeBron’s 26.5 points prop at decent -120 odds. This is because of LeBron’s track record coming out of the All-Star break: his teams have gone 13-3 in the first game after the ASB and LeBron has averaged 29.4 points in those contests. He’s been even better over the past decade, going 9-1 while averaging 29.9 points.
- LeBron James is 9-1 SU in his last 10 games following the All-Star break
- Indiana is 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games
- The total has gone over in 6 of Indiana’s past 8 games as an away underdog
- Los Angeles is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings at Staples Center
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The Los Angeles Clippers will renew hostilities with the Dallas Mavericks, who they dispatched in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
The Denver Nuggets and the league’s presumptive NBA MVP will look to get off to a strong start against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1.
The Golden State Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies in the final play-in game, which will determine the Western Conference’s eighth seed.
The Washington Wizards will host the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night with the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference on the line.
Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve.