Warriors vs Pacers: Edge on the Total in Indy

Michael Arinze breaks down his expert NBA pick and prediction for Warriors vs Pacers on Thursday, Feb. 8.

Warriors vs. Pacers Odds

Warriors Odds +6.5
Pacers Odds -6.5
Moneyline +194 / -238
Over/Under 251.5
Time Thursday, 7 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Warriors will try to extend their winning streak to three games when they visit the Pacers on Thursday night. Although the Warriors have won four of their last five games, the Pacers will likely be their most formidable opponents as they wrap up this road trip.

Part of the Warriors’ recent success has been because of their defense, which will be tested against a Pacers team that leads the league in scoring by averaging 124 points per game.

As a result, it’s no surprise to see such a high opening total of 251.5 points. According to our Action Labs database, there have been only 11 instances where a total opened at 251.5 or higher, and they all occurred this season, with the Pacers involved in six of those games.

Generally with a total that high, both teams need to be firing on all cylinders for four straight quarters. However, more often than not such a high offensive level is unsustainable over a 48-minute game.

Let’s get to our Warriors vs. Pacers prediction and pick.

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Warriors Defense Surging

In four of the Warriors’ last five games, they held their opponents to 107 or fewer points. Per, Golden State ranks fourth in Defensive Efficiency during that span with a 107.2 rating.

If we look at their Defensive Efficiency for the season, the Warriors rank 20th at 116.7 points allowed per 100 possessions.

While the offense has looked strong, averaging 122 points over this five-game stretch, the Warriors haven’t been as prolific from beyond the arc. Golden State shot 35.6% from 3-point range, ranking 23rd in the league during this period. However, it’s worth noting that the Warriors have been a top-10 team in 3-point shooting percentage over the season.

To mask some of their shooting woes, the Warriors played slightly faster on the road, which remains consistent with their home/away splits this season. However, the challenge against Indiana is that a faster pace doesn’t necessarily mean that the Warriors will completely control their shot selection.

Pacers Defense Limits 3s

The Pacers are one of the more deceptive teams in the league because of their impressive offensive numbers. However, when you look at their defense, it becomes clearer why they’re always involved in these high-scoring games.

Indiana ranks 26th in Defensive Rating at 119.3 and 25th in opponent Effective Field Goal percentage (56.2% eFG%). However, opponents are shooting a high eFG% against the Pacers because the Pacers consistently allow high-quality shots.

The Pacers are completely fine with their opponents getting high-percentage shots near the rim as they allow a league-worst 59.4 points per game in the paint.

This strategy is by design because the Pacers understand that over the course of the game, 2-pointers are less valuable than 3-pointers. Instead, the Pacers almost intentionally anchor their defenders around the 3-point line.

Not only does Indiana sit atop the league in opponent 3-point field goals made (10.7 per game), but it also ranks first in fewest opponent 3-pointers attempted (28.7 per game).

For a team like the Warriors that ranks fifth in percentage of points from 3-pointers, this Pacers’ defensive strategy could really hinder Golden State’s preferred style of play.

Warriors vs. Pacers Prediction

Although the Warriors are playing the second leg of back-to-back games, they were able to rest their key players after taking a commanding 91-68 lead into the fourth quarter against the 76ers. 13 players on the Warriors saw action in the game, and no starter played more than 29 minutes.

As a result, that added rest should help the Warriors against this fast-paced Indiana team.

One of the more interesting trends for this matchup is that there have been alternating overs/unders in seven straight Pacers games, with their most recent game finishing over the total.

We’re also seeing a slight move in the market to the under at some sportsbooks. Our database shows that in games that were bet down after opening with a total of 251.5 or higher, the under is on a 3-0 run.

After running the numbers, my model projection for this game puts the total closer to 242.5 points.

When you put it all together, there’s enough value to warrant this game finishing under the total. At BetMGM, you can still grab the under at 251.5 with -115 odds.

Pick: Under 251.5 (-115 at BetMGM)