NBA Win Total Odds & Pick: Are the Indiana Pacers Undervalued in the Market?
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Domantas Sabonis #11 of the Indiana Pacers.
- The Indiana Pacers are among the teams that could be boom or bust with an over/under of 42.5 wins.
- Matt Moore analyzes the Pacers' win total odds below.
Indiana Pacers Win Total Odds
The Case for the Over
There is a consensus from league analytics personnel and most executives about coaching: it ultimately doesn’t impact things as much as you would expect. Great coaching can help in particular situations. Most coaching is average.
Bad coaching, however, really hurts.
I don’t even know that Nate Bjorkgren was a bad coach. The X’s and O’s concepts worked early on. But a crucial component — maybe the most important — in NBA coaching is the ability to earn trust in their players.
Professional players hold the weight in the power balance (as opposed to college where coaches hold it), and they need to feel like they can trust their coach. That did not happen with Bjorkgren.
It will (likely) happen with Rick Carlisle. He can be abrasive; that’s not a secret. But he’s a former player and championship coach. He has a proven track record, and his teams win games. So in the worst-case scenario, you’re removing a drag on the team’s performance even if Carlisle doesn’t make them better (which he likely will).
The Pacers lost the eighth-most games to injury last season, according to ManGamesLost.com, and the third most Win Shares. Myles Turner (a serious DPOY contender) missed 25 games, Caris LeVert not only had to deal with cancer surgery but missed 25 games because of it, Malcolm Brogdon missed 15.
The Pacers won 40 games per 82 by Pythagorean expectation, just three games below the over. So bad coaching, bad injury luck, and finished three games below this over.
Indy has the sixth-easiest rest-adjusted schedule per PositiveResidual.com. They have the third-most rest advantage games and are middle of the pack in rest disadvantage and back to back and travel the fewest miles in the league.
The roster is not an issue. The players in their rotation are either good veterans or quality young guys. They’re not built for tanking; they’re built to go for the best possible record every year under owner Herb Simon.
Every indicator says over here.
The Case for the Under
The injury luck has already started badly. TJ Warren suffered a setback in his recovery and has no timetable for return. He is a key scorer for them and their record with and without Warren is notable.
There are still rumors that the team might shake up their frontcourt. Myles Turner is a great big. Domantas Sabonis is an All-Star big. There continues to be tension about whether the pair can play together. I
f Turner gets traded, the Pacers’ defense will suffer no matter what the return is. Isaiah Jackson is a rookie; there’s no telling where the team is with Goga Bitadze.
They lost Doug McDermott, the best shooter on the team, and Aaron Holiday, an underrated backup guard.
Rick Carlisle may be an upgrade on Bjorkgren, but he’s notoriously tough on point guards. If he and Brogdon clash, that could be an issue.
Meanwhile, Carlisle was a good coach in Detroit and Indiana before going to Dallas, but that was over a decade ago. If he’s lost his touch, this would not be the salve it’s thought to be. The roster is also a touch stale, having been together two years with frustrating results.
The East is better; the division is better. Chicago will be better, and the Bucks are still the Bucks. If the East is better than previous seasons, which is reasonable, there’s going to be a team that loses out as a result.
Pacers Win Total Bet
The Pacers fit the profile of a team that the market is going to underrate. Not flashy, not going to attract a lot of attention, overlooked by the public.
The number is yogurt. A team with an All-Star and a good roster with a good coach who had terrible injury luck last season and a favorable schedule this season has to go two games over .500 to hit?
The over is a best bet for me. Indiana may not win 50 games, but they’ll be over .500. Even with the risk of a Turner trade, I like it. They have scoring and defense. That’s enough with that schedule.