Non-conference action at the top of Thursday’s NBA basketball betting board as the Indiana Pacers host the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Pacers have been playing well over the past month (7-3 L10) but is coming off an upset loss at Dallas on Wednesday and prior to that an upset loss at Detroit. These are games that Indiana just can’t afford to lose at this juncture of the season. The Pacers have been pretty good on the road this season–at least straight up where they’re 17-14. They’re just 13-17-1 against the spread.
Indiana is in third place in the Eastern Conference but they’re losing sight of the top two teams in the conference. The Pacers are now 5 back of second place Toronto and 7 back of first place Milwaukee. At the same time, they’ve got the Philadelphia 76ers just 1/2 game back and the Boston Celtics just 3 games back. They really don’t have any pressure from any of the other teams below them in the standings–they’re 8.5 games up on the 6th place Brooklyn Nets and 10 up on the 7th place Detroit Pistons. It would be hard for them not to make the playoffs and barring a monumental collapse they’ll likely finish in the top half of the conference. That being said, they’re running out of time to reel in the top two teams.
The Minnesota Timberwolves could be just what the doctor ordered for the Pacers. The T-Wolves have been a horrible road team this year going 9-22 SU/15-16 ATS away from home. They’ve been reasonably good on their own court (20-10 SU/17-13 ATS). They’re coming off an overtime loss to Atlanta last night in which they failed to cover as -5 point road favorites. What does it say about Atlanta when a team that is 9-22 on the road is favored by 5 in the Hawks building? No matter what it says it ended a nice pointspread run for the Wolves where they had covered six straight going 4-2 SU. Nothing is surprising for this schizophrenic team–immediately before that they went through a stretch where they went 1-5 SU/0-6 ATS.
The Pacers’ immediate schedule is such that the T-Wolves will get their full attention. They’ve got two straight home games facing Orlando and lowly Chicago before they go out of town for a pair of crucial road games at Milwaukee and Philadelphia. Not sure what to make of the price on this game which seems very low given the qualitative disparity. Pacers 8-3 SU/ATS in the second end of back to back games. Indiana is also the #1 scoring defense in the league and that commitment to playing hard in their own end makes back door covers tough. Indy gets the win and cover here.