December 8th, 2015 (2:00 PM ET)
Take Golden State Warriors at -6 spread against Indiana Pacers for 3% of the bankroll.
The Warriors' undefeated start to the season has reached 22 wins! The defending NBA champions play with a chip on their shoulder each and every night and want to prove that not only was last year not a fluke but that they are indeed one of the best teams ever! Despite their incredible start to the season, there isn't always value in backing them against the spread because they face inflated ones in certain situations. This contest however, is not one of them. That's because they're going up against a Pacers team that has been one of the best in the East and frequently covered the Vegas line themselves. In this game, Curry and company are laying a reasonable amount of points (opened at -5.5 and has since moved to -6) in what is an affordable spread. We actually handicapped this game at -7.5 so it would not surprise us if the closing line was -7 later on this evening. In order to keep up on the scoreboard, Indiana is gonna need a great effort from former Warrior, Monta Ellis but he has had a tough transition to being a Pacer this year and is currently playing with a sore back. He'll play tonight but is not at 100%.
Frank Vogel and the Pacers deserve a lot of credit for what has been a successful team despite a change in their philosophy and style of play. Slow Center, Roy Hibbert is gone and Paul George now regularly plays power-forward instead of small-forward and has thrived and is an early MVP candidate! The Pacers don't emphasize defense the way they did in previous years and have frequently won shootouts this year. Against the Warriors, we don't think that is a good idea. That's because as hot as George has been (highest scorer in East currently), Golden State has more offensive weapons at its disposal than Indiana does. The change in tempo and playing style has made the Pacers a more dynamic and offensively-capable squad than previous years but it has also cost them some of their defensive intensity and stoutness. Against the sharp-shooting champs, we believe they'll have a tough time keeping up and given that this game has been set a very high total (216 points), it indicates a shootout. The fact that Indiana has allowed an average of just 91.7 points in their current 6-game home winning streak and yet this total has been set this high (opened at 213) and they are installed as significant home underdogs says a lot about their inability to limit the Warriors on the scoreboard! It's worth noting that Golden State has outscored hosts by an average of 11.8 points in their travels this season.
This game means even more to the Warriors than some of the previous ones and that's because they can clinch more important milestones. If they win tonight, they'll be the first team in NBA history to win its first 13 road games! That is no doubt, a distinction that they want and will only further motivate them. Not only that, a W will help them match Miami Heat's 27-game regular season winning streak from the 2012/2013 season which is the second longest in history thanks to the Warriors' 4-game regular season streak to end the previous year. Many are arguing that Curry is passing LeBron James as the best player in the game and it should comes as no surprise therefore that he and his teammates have their eyes set on matching LBJ's record at Miami. Night after night, the Warriors seem to find ways to win games even when they have a poor quarter. Tonight however, we expect them to be extremely focused as they have a lot at stake. Not only that, they lost their last visit to Bankers Life Fieldhouse and so know what a dangerous team Indiana can be! That should negate any complacency as that type of attitude is more likely when laying double-digit spreads against bottom-feeders and teams that the Warriors have previously dominated. Indiana does not fit either category and will therefore have Klay Thompson and company's full focus and attention.
Steve Kerr and Luke Walton have instilled something beyond just a winning mentality at Golden State. They've made this team so hungry for success despite their achievements that they have a laser-like focus and determination about them. They've got their sights set firmly on the prize and the prize is an ambitious target of going down in the history books as one of the best teams the association has ever seen! This isn't a look-ahead spot or a matchup where Andre Iguodala and teammates will overlook. They'll bring their best effort against the home side especially since they've recently been exposed on this road trip and suffered a few scares along the way. A focused effort for 45 minutes will see the Warriors mount a double-digit lead against just about any team in the league right now as they are that good. Pacers have had a surprisingly strong start to the season but they are still very much in transition mode and are not at the same level as the defending champs. This is also their first game back at home after a 4-game West coast road trip and it is no secret that the first game back home is often the toughest as players have been away from families and tend to 'relax'. Look for Golden State to be all business tonight and make more history especially since their next game is in 3 days and they can solely focus on this matchup. Barring a late backdoor cover, they should cover this relatively short spread (by their standards) and hold a comfortable double-digit lead for much of the contest.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Warriors are 9-4 ATS when the total is greater than 210 points this season.
- Warriors are 77-50 ATS against good offensive teams (scoring +99 points per game) over the last 3 years!
- Golden State leads the league by a huge margin in 3-point shooting efficiency making 43.7% of their attempts this season!
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