March 19th 2014 - Posted at 05:00 PM Eastern Time
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Sports Profit System is 17-8 this month and ready and excited for the NCAA Tournament!
Take Indiana Pacers at -1.5 spread against New York Knicks risking 2%
The Indiana Pacers as just a 1-point favorite is not something that we see too often. They are one of the most balanced and complete teams in the entire league and that is why they are the #1 team in the Eastern conference. To see them at a low spread is a bit concerning but we feel that there are reasons for this line today and view this as a mistake by the line-makers who are undervaluing a great team.
There is no question that the Pacers have been cold when it comes to covering spreads over the past couple of weeks. They have not been kind to their backers at all and that has swayed some of the public off at the moment. What is interesting about this situation tonight however is the fact that the Pacers do not really have to cover any kind of spread. With the line being so low, if the Pacers win the game then they will more than likely cover the number. The Pacers have been winning games all season long; that is what they do. Out of 67 games this season, the Pacers have won 50 of them! That is a 75% win rate! The Pacers haven't been covering spreads recently because they've been asked to blow teams out by double-digits which is something they don't necessarily care to do nor are built to do. In tonight's matchup, they simply have to win the game and ironically it is thanks to their recent poor ATS (Against-The-Spread) record that we get them at a cheap line.
There has been a lot of media hype recently surrounding the NY Knicks. The legendary Phil Jackson has recently signed and that has sent the media into a frenzy. Jackson has been great for the sport of basketball and he is one of the greatest basketball minds of all time! He will be an asset for the Knicks organization in the future, but simply adding Phil Jackson to the front offices does not suddenly make the Knicks a great team. Let's not forget that this is still the same Knicks team that has an array of issues that need to be ironed out. They are still a 27-40 team with just a 15-20 record at Madison Square Garden! Phil Jackson's announcement as team president is welcomed news but will not magically fix this flawed team overnight. There are fundamental reasons behind their struggles. Granted the Knicks have been playing some solid basketball as of late. They have won 6 straight games and covered 5 out of those six. But let's look at the quality of competition that they have faced during that stretch: Utah, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, Milwaukee; not exactly the cream of the crop in the league! So while their 6-game winning streak may sound impressive, we're not as convinced. The Knicks have shot well over 50% during their winning streak but those numbers are unlikely to continue especially against a defense like the Pacers. Tonight the Knicks take a real step up in competition. Long winning streaks scare odds-makers since some teams become 'automatic-bets' and 'auto-fades' and those streaks must be stopped; thus they regularly inflate the lines on purpose. The media buzz surrounding Phil Jackson and the Knicks' recent winning streak have directly impacted today's line and made it shorter than it should be.
These two teams have put up similar offensive stats this season but it is the Pacers who without a doubt have the much more solid defensive statistics.
The Pacers can be absolutely smothering on defense and have regularly held opponents to the mid 80 point range! Frank Vogel's team only gives up just a little over 90 per game on average which ranks one of the very best in the league. The Pacers also rank near the top in rebounding. They are a team that is incredibly aggressive off the glass and should hold an edge in the rebounding category especially with Kenyon Martin still out. Rebounding and solid defensive pressure have been key for the Pacers and they know better than anybody how to force bad shots and minimize second chance opportunities. Limiting the Knicks to just a single shot per possession will be key tonight.
This is not the first time that we have seen these two teams square off. Back on January 16th, clients will recall that we had a selection on the Pacers as -9.5 favorites taking on the Knicks. Indiana was a little slow out of the gate but eventually coasted to a 28 point blowout victory! The Pacers are simply a bad matchup for a team like the Knicks. The last time Indiana traveled to Madison Square Garden they were -6.5 point favorites. Not much has changed since then other than the Knicks are a much worse team than many had thought at the beginning of the season (despite being on a recent winning streak) and now aquiring Phil Jackson. The players on the court are still the same, as are all the issues with the team as a whole. So while it does appear that the spread is a bit low for the Pacers, we do not consider this one of those "gift" type situations. There are valid reasons for why the spread is where it is, but what it all boils down to for this matchup is the quality of these two teams. The Pacers are the much better overall team and with the Miami Heat breathing down their neck for the #1 seed in the East, this is a game that the Pacers should win. This will more than likely be a close battle and those are the types of games that the Pacers thrive in. Their defense is much better and should be able to get some key stops. They're also the better free-throw shooting team and that will help.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Knicks are a terrible 0-5 as home underdogs of 3 or less points!
- Knicks are just 7-29 when listed as an underdog.
- Pacers are 46-12 when listed as a favorites this season.
- Pacers are an incredible 15-1 against Atlantic division opponents this season!
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