March 21, 2018
There is one NBA pick tonight.
Take Indiana Pacers -1 spread against New Orleans Pelicans for 3% of the bankroll.
The Pelicans are in an extremely tough scheduling spot in the sense that they play three days in a row! Even back-to-backs are tough on a team but in this particular instance, New Orleans hosts 3 straight games on three consecutive nights due to a postponed matchup from earlier this season. They played last night and beat the Mavs but it was a close game throughout that saw them pull away in the fourth quarter, now they host the Pacers tonight before the Lakers come to town tomorrow night! The coaching staff is no doubt going to be 'cautious' with the minutes of players in order to not pick up injuries right before the playoffs. Given that Anthony Davis for example has a rather injury-prone history and even had to exit the game briefly last night before returning, it wouldn't surprise us if Alvin Gentry and his staff limited his minutes.
Jrue Holiday missed last night's game due to flu-like symptoms and while he's returning to the starting lineup tonight, it remains to be seen how he performs. Prior to this illness, he was playing quite well and had shouldered a lot of the offense for the Pels. We believe he's playing because they're short on healthy bodies and need everyone at this time but we doubt he'll be as effective as he has been in the past. The fact that he may have to go toe-to-toe with Victor Oladipo makes it even tougher! The Indiana All-Star is coming off a couple of rather 'quiet' games by his lofty standards this season but could make New Orleans pay tonight.
The Pacers need wins just like the Pelicans do but they are the more rested team. Not only did they have the night off yesterday, they will also have tomorrow off. That means they are coming into this game on standard rest (fairly fresh) and don't have a back-to-back to think about. They can give it their all tonight and not have to save energy or restrict minutes like the Pelicans do, since they host the Lakers tomorrow. Indiana occupies the fourth spot in the East right now and it is very important for them to hold on to that since a top 4 finish comes with home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Given that their home record is much superior to their road tally, they have made it a goal of theirs to secure a top 4 finish and with several teams breathing down their necks, they realize they can't take their foot off the gas pedal.
Anthony Davis is a phenomenal talent and virtually unstoppable. However, the Pacers might just have more weapons at their disposal tonight. They will have a more balanced offense whereas the Pels rely on Davis far too often. Look for Bojan Bodanovic who's been slumping recently to regain his form as he is a true sharp shooter and won't struggle forever. Darren Collison's inclusion in the starting lineup has given Oladipo a little help as far as ball-handling goes and opens him up to do some damage. Teams can no longer just double-team him as they did with Cory Joseph in the lineup since Collison is an accomplished shooter and a veteran NBA point-guard. We believe this should be a closely-contested game but Indiana should do enough to secure the victory and cover the spread in the process. They want revenge for their loss to New Orleans earlier this season and are likely to get it.
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