Pacers vs. Wizards NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Where Value Lies on the Total (Monday, May 3)
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Domantas Sabonis
- The Pacers take on a surging Wizards team on Friday night without Myles Turner again.
- Washington is getting hot at the right time behind the stellar play of Russell Westbrook, who is thriving offensively.
- Brandon Anderson breaks down the betting value in this Eastern Conference clash.
Pacers vs. Wizards Odds
|Moneyline||+170 / -200|
|Time||Monday, 7 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday and via BetMGM|
If you’re looking for proof that the NBA’s new play-in system is already working, just check this game out. In most other seasons in NBA history, this game would be mostly meaningless. Both the Pacers and Wizards are outside the Eastern playoff race looking in, during an ordinary year. But not this year.
This year, Indiana and Washington are right in the thick of things, both looking likely to head to the postseason. In fact, this looks like a potential play-in preview since the Pacers and Wizards are the 9- and 10-seeds right now and would meet in an elimination game if the postseason started tomorrow.
If Washington wins tonight, that only makes this an even more likely 9-10 play-in matchup. So which side has the advantage?
The Pacers are the 9-seed right now at 30-33. And outside of an ugly 1-5 stretch right before the All-Star break, after a long COVID pause, the Pacers have basically played .500 ball all season. They’re right around league average in both Offensive and Defensive Efficiency, as well as Net Rating.
The healthy Pacers would probably be above average, but it’s not like we’d ever know. T.J. Warren never suited up this season, and the team has been short on wings all year, first Victor Oladipo and then Caris LeVert. LeVert is back now but Myles Turner is sidelined, and Domantas Sabonis just got back himself while Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, and Goga Bitadze all missed the game Saturday.
Not that it mattered. The Pacers crushed Oklahoma City by 57 points, and it wasn’t as close as that looks. Sabonis had a triple-double in the first half alone and it was one of the biggest Indiana wins in franchise history. But, of course, the Thunder are tanking and the Wizards are not.
The Pacers have moved a little closer to modern basketball under Nate Bjorkgren this season. They’re around league average now on 3-point attempts, up from near the bottom of the league a year ago. The defensive shot profile has been strong too. Indiana allows the second fewest 3-point attempts per game and the second most 2s but limits opponents to the sixth worst 2-point percentage. Of course, Myles Turner has been central to that strong defensive effort, and the defense hasn’t been the same without him.
Without Turner this season, the Pacers are now 8-8 on the season, but Pacers games have gone over 75% of the time. That’s 12 overs in 16 games without Turner and by an average of 9.44 points. And in all 12 of those game overs, at least one team has scored 122 or more points. Indiana games are averaging a hair under 240 points with Turner sidelined — and that average is going up. The last four games have all gone over, with an average total of 244.5.
With Turner out, Indiana’s only real option is to open up the offense and try to outscore the opponent.
The Wizards are the 10-seed right now at 29-35, but a win here would close the gap on Indiana and go a long way toward securing at least a play-in berth.
Besides, the Wizards look nothing like a 29-35 team lately. Washington has won 10 of its last 12 games, and those two losses were by a single possession. And Washington is doing it with defense, not offense. The Wizards rank in the top quarter of the NBA on defense over the past 15 games. Somehow, Washington is making a center rotation of Alex Len, Robin Lopez, and Daniel Gafford work.
Of course, the offense has been all Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal. Beal is still fighting for the scoring title, and Westbrook is putting up triple-doubles on a nightly basis and those numbers are no longer empty or superfluous. He’s finally healthy again, and both Russ and Beal have been good enough to get into the All-NBA conversation. Defense or not, they’re why Washington is suddenly so dangerous.
As a team, the Wizards still lead the NBA in pace, and they look exactly what you’d expect with Russ and Beal dominating the ball. Washington leads the league in 2s but takes the second fewest 3s, and the Wizards are also near the top of the league in throw rate. Against a Pacers defense that defends the arc and pushes opponents inside, this could be a toreador defensive effort for Indiana, especially without Turner inside to clean things up.
Of course the Wizards still allow the third most 2-point attempts in the NBA on defense and hack opponents third most in the league, so Indiana should have plenty of chances to score too.
The Wizards are definitely playing better basketball right now than the Pacers, but they also have 12 wins this season that would not cover this 5-point line. I’d lean toward a Wiz cover if I had to pick a side, but I’d rather play the total.
Remember, 12 of 16 Pacers games have gone over without Myles Turner on the court, and by almost 10 points per game on average. The books keep moving these totals up, but they still haven’t gone far enough. Even with the Wiz playing better defense these days, the pace will be flying in this game and there should be points aplenty.
I have to keep riding that over train. I’ll play the over at 245.5, and up to 247.
Pick: Over 245.5