It never feels good to go against points in a Pacers game after how they started the season but with how the context around both teams has changed as of late, there is reason to go against the perception of what these teams are.
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Pacers vs. Hornets Betting Odds
*lines accurate at the time of publication
Pacers vs. Hornets Best Bets
Pacers vs. Hornets Under 238.5 (-115, DraftKings)
Most of the reshaping by the Pacers happened well before the trade deadline with the acquisition of Pascal Siakam. The Pacers have gone under in five of six games since the Siakam trade and in eight of their last 10 road games overall. Included in that sample was a 115-99 win in Charlotte eight days ago.
Indiana is not a great defensive team by any stretch but improving their defense by 2.2 points with Siakam is significant. The Pacers have also slowed their pace just enough over the last couple of weeks to make an impact, going down to seventh when they have been top three all season. Tyrese Haliburton will presumably not play full minutes in the last couple of games before the all-star break, so that should limit the pace some and help both defenses.
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As a sign of the state of the roster before the trade deadline, five of the nine rotation players for Charlotte in their first game post-deadline were new. Adding a player with a defensive mindset like Grant Williams should help make the Hornets’ defense slightly respectable and at least able to put up enough fight to make the under viable in this matchup.
All the new pieces coming together will take some time to gel offensively as well. In their first game, against essentially a G-League version of the Grizzlies, it took the Hornets shooting 57% from the field and 51% from deep just to get to 115 points. Expecting a similar shooting output would be aggressive, to say the least.
Indiana should control the game but with tweaks to style of play based on personnel on both sides, this game has more viability to the under than many would have thought previously.
Risk 1.15 units on DraftKings to win 1 unit.
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