Pacers vs. Bulls Odds & Picks: Value on Underrated Indy With Healthy Sabonis (Saturday, Dec. 26)
Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Domantas Sabonis.
- (1) The Indiana Pacers are 4.5-point favorites on Saturday when they visit the Chicago Bulls.
- With Domantas Sabonis healthy and back in the lineup this season, Roberto Arguello sees plenty of value on Indiana in this matchup.
- Check out Arguello's full betting analysis and find his pick below.
Pacers vs. Bulls Odds
|Pacers Odds||-4 [BET NOW]|
|Bulls Odds||+4 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-180/+150 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||223.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.|
The Pacers face the Bulls in both teams’ second game of the season Saturday night in Chicago.
The Pacers welcomed Domantas Sabonis back after a foot injury kept him from action in the bubble as they blew out the Knicks in their opener.
The Bulls struggled defensively, as they allowed 83 first-half points to the Hawks and lost by 20 — although it wasn’t that close.
The Pacers are an underrated team now that they are healthy and have a new coach, Nate Bjorkgren, who has them playing a modern offense. I like the value on the Pacers as short favorites even though it is very early in the season.
The last time we saw the Pacers in the bubble, they were getting swept by the Heat in the first round. They played competitive games with the Heat, but Miami would pull away for wins in the last half of the fourth quarters.
They did this without their most valuable player, Sabonis, and with an outdated offense. The Pacers were solid defensively last season and finished sixth in defensive efficiency (108.0), but the offense was mediocre, finishing 19th in offensive efficiency (110.0).
Sabonis is so valuable because of his offensive versatility. He set a career high with 32 points in the opener this week while also adding 13 rebounds and five assists. He plays with a high IQ and sets up his teammates to succeed.
Now that the Pacers have a modern NBA offense where they emphasize more 3s and shots at the rim, Sabonis has more room to facilitate or create for himself.
Sabonis’ frontcourt partner, Myles Turner, also impressed in the opener. Although he only tallied 10 points and eight rebounds, Turner tied a career high with eight blocks.
He missed all four of his 3-point attempts, but I liked that Turner was getting quality looks from 3 instead of shooting long 2s like last season. There has been a lot of speculation that Turner might get traded because of his questionable fit next to Sabonis, but if Turner can consistently make 3s and protect the rim defensively, this can be one of the elite frontcourts in the NBA.
Speaking of Pacers who might not be in Indiana for long, Victor Oladipo also had a strong opener. After suffering a quadriceps injury in January 2019, Oladipo missed most of last season and didn’t look 100 percent when he did play late in the season.
He started slowly in the opener after getting into foul trouble in the first half, but scored 16 of his 22 points in the second. The former Most Improved Player looked aggressive as he made strong cuts to the basket, reminding people of his pre-injury form.
Oladipo says that he is healed, but that he is still getting stronger and improving his power. As Oladipo continues to return to form, the ceiling rises for this Pacers team. He and Malcolm Brogdon (21 points, seven rebounds and eight assists) have meshed well together and form an underrated backcourt that can play quality defense.
While Oladipo and Sabonis showed positive signs in the opener after recovering from injury, T.J. Warren didn’t look like himself after recovering from a foot injury that sidelined him for the preseason.
Despite showing impressive scoring ability last year, Warren missed his first six shots and didn’t score in the first half before finishing with just 5 points. Warren’s scoring will be key for the Pacers to contend against the elite in the eastern conference, but even without him, the Pacers should have enough to cover against the lowly Bulls.
It’s going to be a long season for Bulls fans. All five starters from the opener are 25 or younger, and the offense hinges on second-year point guard Coby White.
White struggled to get the offense in sync against the Hawks, and the Bulls’ defense was abysmal while the game was competitive. White missed six consecutive 3s to start the game and had three turnovers and just four assists after three quarters. In his first season as a starter and under new coach Billy Donovan, there will be a steep learning curve.
White’s partner in the backcourt had a rough start, too. Zach LaVine needs to be a borderline All-Star for this Bulls team to have a chance against playoff-caliber teams, but he had five fouls with 10 minutes remaining in the opener.
White and LaVine combined to shoot 2-for-15 from 3 with eight total turnovers and eight assists. They will need to be much better against the Pacers’ stingy defense to have a chance.
On the bright side for the Bulls, rookie Patrick Williams impressed as he scored 16 points and showed off some of his offensive versatility. Otto Porter Jr. also provided nice energy off the bench as he scored 14 points, grabbed three offensive rebounds and five total rebounds while also snagging two assists.
Williams and Porter need another strong showing for Chicago to pull off the upset against Indiana.
The Pacers are simply the better team right now, and I am comfortable laying up to 5.5 points on the Bulls. The Bulls were terrible against playoff teams last season, going just 2-23 in such games.
With such a young team installing a new system under Billy Donovan, this is a good time for Indiana to catch Chicago.
The Pacers have Sabonis healthy and coming off of a career-best game. He and Turner should have advantages inside against Chicago’s young bigs, Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.
The Pacers only played 86 total minutes last year with all five of their starters together, and this Pacers team can compete with anyone in the Eastern Conference when fully healthy. The new offensive system adds another dimension to an already good defensive team.
Although Warren doesn’t look fully healthy yet, the Pacers have enough to cover in Chicago.
Pick: Pacers -4, would bet down to -5.5