Knicks vs Pacers Game 6 Prediction: NBA Expert Pick, Odds (Friday, May 17)

Knicks vs Pacers Game 6 Prediction: NBA Expert Pick, Odds (Friday, May 17) article feature image

Pictured: Precious Achiuwa of the Knicks and Obi Toppin of the Pacers for Action Network’s odds, pick, and prediction for Game 6 of the eastern conference semifinals.

Knicks vs. Pacers Odds

Friday, May 17
8:30pm ET
Knicks Odds
-110o / -110u
Pacers Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about Knicks vs. Pacers on Friday, May 17 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today's game.

The Indiana Pacers return home for Game 6 to try to send this series to seven games. The Knicks are fresh off a blowout home win in Madison Square Garden, but we’ve seen this series favor the home teams, who are 5-0 so far. We’ll see if the Knicks can break the cycle or if we’re headed to a Game 7.

Let's break down Game 6 below and offer a Knicks vs. Pacers pick.

New York Knicks

The Knicks went back to their old ways in their 30-point win over the Pacers in Game 5 by dominating the glass. That domination is the secret to their success because the rebounding — especially offensive rebounding — is what gets the New York offense going the most.

The Knicks have a 120+ Offensive Rating in six games so far this postseason, and in those games, their lowest Offensive Rebound Percentage was 32.5%, which is still in the 77th percentile of any team for the entire season, per Cleaning the Glass.

The Knicks have done well when the pace is high in games against the Pacers, despite Indiana’s interest in keeping the pace high as well. The reason is Indiana’s weakness is its rebounding, so New York can get out on the fastbreak off defensive rebounds, and they get extra opportunities in the half-court when they get putbacks.

In the Knicks' Game 5 30-point blowout win, they out-rebounded the Pacers 20-5 on the offensive glass and 53-29 overall. That’s essentially been the difference in this series, with Game 5 serving as the most drastic example of that playstyle favoring the Knicks, even being short-handed without Mitchell Robinson and OG Anunoby for most of the series.

Stylistically, this isn’t a great matchup for the Pacers.

Indiana Pacers

That said, the Pacers have an edge on this current iteration of the Knicks, simply because they have more bodies they can use. With all their injuries, the Knicks have had to trod out deep bench players like Alec Burks and Precious Achiuwa while giving more minutes to Miles McBride. Burks is a bad defender and Achiuwa is bad offensively, and depending on the matchup, the Pacers can exploit both of those weaknesses if they can force them onto the court. 

Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein had a monster Game 5 with 17 rebounds, but the Pacers weren’t attacking the rim like they usually do, which could be a way to get Hartenstein in foul trouble and make the Knicks go to Jericho Sims or Achiuwa earlier than they did last game. This would be the path to getting their offense going early and finding a rhythm for Pascal Siakam and Tyrese Haliburton — both of whom had pretty underwhelming Game 5s.

The result of Hartenstein’s rebounding dominance led to a massive shooting discrepancy, with the Knicks putting up 101 field goals to the Pacers' 72. That’s nearly an entire quarter’s worth of attempts that Indiana wasn’t attempting. It would be very difficult for that same game script to play out in that same fashion to that same degree, especially with the Pacers playing at home, where they have the best offense in the playoffs (125.3 Offensive Rating), followed somewhat closely by the Knicks (122.2). The Knicks' defense also doesn’t travel, going from 114.5 at home, to a dismal 122.1 on the road.

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Knicks vs. Pacers

Betting Pick & Prediction

It’s tough to say which New York team we’ll get in Game 6 on the road. The last time they played in Indiana, they lost 121-89 and the whole team looked gassed. I don’t think we get quite that level of disappearance again, but I do think we’ll see points.

Given the Pacers' offensive improvements at home and the Knicks' road struggles on defense, I’ll isolate those points to the home side and take the over for Indiana's team total. The home team has gone over in every game except for one this series: Game 3, when the Pacers won 111-106 in what was a pretty massive outlier.

Exceeding the team total certainly bodes well for Indiana winning the game from a logical standpoint, but we’ve already seen the Knicks win two games with the Pacers going over their team total, Games 1 and 2. Indiana was the best team in the league to the team total over during the regular season (49-32-2, 11.81% ROI), and even better at home (27-13-1, 24.66% ROI). In the playoffs, they’ve maintained that trend, going 4-1 to the over at home.

I think we’re getting a deflated number on the Pacers' team total because of the trend we’ve seen with Game 6 unders for full games, but the beauty of this bet is we could still cash it even if the full game goes under. I’ll bet on the Pacers scoring 111 or more points, which they’ve done in eight of their 11 playoff games this season.

Pick: Pacers Team Total Over 110.5

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