The NBA is just two weeks away from the All-Star Game as there are six games on tap throughout the afternoon into the early evening. Our experts have a pair of best bets for today’s Cavaliers vs. Pacers matchup, including spread bets and a total bet. Check out their picks and analysis below.
NBA Odds & Picks
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|Cavaliers vs. Pacers Spread, 1Q Spread||5 p.m. ET|
|Cavaliers vs. Pacers Total||5 p.m. ET|
Cavaliers vs. Pacers Spread, 1Q Spread
|Pick||Cavaliers -5 | Cavaliers 1Q -1.5|
|Tipoff||5 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Austin Wang: The Pacers are back in business with their All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton returning to the lineup from an injury. The league leader in assists makes a huge impact for this team, but I am looking to fade them in this situational spot.
The Cavaliers are the more well-rested team. They are off two days of rest, while the Pacers are off a series of back-to-back games and playing their third game in four nights. In addition, both of those games were close and decided by three points or fewer, which could take a toll on them.
The Cavs will also be seeking revenge against the Pacers for a 135-126 loss on Dec. 29. In that game, the Pacers shot 56.5% from the field and went an insane 19-for-31 (61.5%) from behind the arc. Those shooting percentages are not sustainable.
Finally, the Cavs lead the NBA in Defensive Rating, and their defense should give them an advantage in today’s matchup. I like them for the full game, but I especially like them in the first quarter. The Pacers are a league-worst 17-36-1 ATS in the first quarter and 8-20 ATS in the first quarter at home.
Cavaliers vs. Pacers Total
|Tipoff||5 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Chris Baker: We’re getting a Pacers offense that is ninth in Spot-up Rate and sixth in 3-point Attempt Rate against a Cavs defense that ranks 28th in Opponent 3-point Percentage Allowed and 23rd in Opponent Spot-up Rate Allowed. The Cavs don’t defend the 3-point line very well, and the Pacers can capitalize on this weakness.
We’ve already seen these two matchup twice this season, and they cleared this number easily in both matchups. In the first matchup, they landed at 230 despite the Pacers shooting just 31% from 3. The second matchup saw these teams combine for 261 in one of the most impressive offensive outputs of the NBA season.
These teams just do not matchup well with each other defensively and I see no reason why that would change here given that both teams are well-rested for this one.
The Pacers play small, but that is an issue when facing this athletic Cavs frontcourt of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. The Pacers escaped with a win in their Dec. 29 matchup, but they allowed a horrible 37.5% Offensive Rebound Rate to the Cavs. I don’t expect that to change here as the Pacers currently rank dead last in Defensive Rebound Rate in the NBA.
When the Cavs have the ball, the offensive possession will end in one of three ways: a made shot, an offensive rebound or a defensive rebound which will lead to a Pacers transition opportunity. The Cavs have a strong Transition Defensive Rating (sixth), but they allow the 11th-most transition opportunities in the NBA.
We just saw this same Cavaliers team allow the Grizzlies to push the ball at will on Thursday. The Grizzlies had a 19.2% Transition Rate (83rd percentile) but were unable to capitalize as they shot just 46.2% at the rim. The Grizzlies were down three starters in that game and didn’t have the offensive talent to punish the Cavs.
The Pacers have no major injury concerns and will capitalize more often tonight. I believe the pace will be there, and as long as we don’t have major outlier poor shooting from both teams, we should clear this number at 225.
Finally, we have the added benefit of Rick Carlisle’s coaching tendencies. I’ve watched the Pacers a good amount this year, and Carlisle tends to double-team and full-court press when his team is losing. This is very beneficial for the over as this speeds up the game and causes possessions to either end in a turnover, an open 3 or a dunk.