April 4th 2014 - Posted at 5:00 PM Eastern Time
Tomorrow's picks (Saturday) will be posted at 5:00 PM ET given the fact that there are no afternoon games.
Originally we leaned towards as many as 3 teams tonight but line movement and new injuries mean we now believe only one is worth the risk.
There is one bet risking 2% tonight.
Take Indiana Pacers at PK against Toronto Raptors risking 2%
The Indiana Pacers are a team that has been struggling against the spread in the second half of the season. But tonight they don't need to cover, they simply need to win. They went from being the clear #1 team in the Eastern Conference and fighting for the best record in the entire league to now being the #2 seed trailing Miami Heat by percentage points. They are still a top team however and can regain that #1 spot. But their recent difficulties have caused a huge change in perception of this team. The public is extremely fickle and was laying double digit points with this team on the road a short while ago when it was unwarranted but is now suddenly not willing to take them at even the cheapest of prices! Their fickle nature is providing us with great value by "buying low". The Pacers are still a great team; there is no denying that. They are still one of the very best defensive teams and even if their offense has been inconsistent recently, it is still better than most give them credit for.
The total for this game which is currently listed at 180 is extremely low for a Raptors home game and is a telling sign! Historically this season we have seen Toronto home totals range between 195 to 203 for the most part. Even when these teams have matched up in the past, the totals have always been at least around 185. To have one as low as 180 brings about some good questions. It is a clear indication that defense is going to control the tempo of this game and if that is indeed the case, the Pacers should have the edge.
David West has even stated to the media that the Pacers' main goal is to just win some road games. This team realizes that it has been inconsistent on the highway and have made it their sole focus to turn this around. The last time the Pacers visited Toronto was on Jan 1st and they were surprised and upset by the Raptors. But this is not the same team as past years and we believe that every other team has realized that and gives them a lot more respect now. The Pacers were in the midst of an impressive winning streak then while the Raptors hadn't yet proven themselves as a playoff team. We don't expect them to be taking the Raptors lightly again and in fact they will vividly remember that New Year's day matchup and have revenge in mind. Indiana owns a 4-1 record against the Raptors in Toronto over the last 3 seasons, so they have had success there in the past. We expect a more concentrated effort tonight and that should translate to an away victory.
The Raptors will also be without the services of Kyle Lowry tonight. Lowry has established himself as one of the best PG's in the league this season and was a handful for the Pacers in their last meeting in Toronto. Not having him in the lineup to navigate the defensive pressure that the Pacers are going to apply, is surely going to effect their production. Toronto has been good on the glass this season and for the most part has been able to hold an edge over their opponents when it came to rebounding. We don't think that will be the case tonight, as the Pacers are a great rebounding team themselves. Amir Johnson is also questionable tonight and if he is absent or less than 100%, that should give the Pacers the rebounding edge.
Indiana produced arguably their best effort in a while in their last game against the Pistons. They dominated every facet of the game which is what we are used to seeing from this team. They are a team that thrives on confidence and we believe some of that had been lost over the last few weeks. Paul George had 27 points and 13 rebounds in that win and we expect that type of production to carry over into tonight's contest. The Raptors are also a team that has struggled against elite talent this season. We have seen them lose to OKC Thunder, Miami Heat and the Bulls and we expect them to lose to the Pacers tonight.
This is the perfect opportunity for the Pacers to avenge their earlier loss in Toronto and to keep the pressure on Miami Heat for the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers are the better team, have more to play for and are currently healthier. The fact that they have been so cold recently has made many doubt them but this is still one of the best teams in the league and to get them at this price is too good to pass up on.
Other notable facts to consider:
- The Raptors are 3-5 SU and ATS as home favorites of 3 points or less this season
- The Raptors have won just one of 10 home games with total set between 180 to 184.5 points over the last 3 seasons!
- The Pacers are 11-2 on Friday nights and 15-2 against Atlantic Division opponents this season!
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