NBA Odds & Picks: Making Sense of All the Injuries in Pacers vs. Bulls

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Photo credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images. Pictured: Malcolm Brogdon and Victor Oladipo

The Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls face off for the fourth and final time this season in a Central Division clash of two teams battling injuries as much as each other.

Let’s break it down below.

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Indiana Pacers at Chicago Bulls

  • Spread: Pacers -3
  • Over/Under: 211
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV: NBA League Pass

Let’s talk about all those injuries.

Zach LaVine is out with a quad injury. Malcolm Brogdon is doubtful to play. Victor Oladipo and T.J. Warren are questionable, and Otto Porter, Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen are all on minutes limits. And don’t forget, Kris Dunn and Jeremy Lamb are already out for the season. These teams are a hot mess right now.

But forget about the injuries. This game is franchise versus franchise, and that matchup has been lopsided for a long time now. The Pacers find a way to get it done, whoever is in the lineup, while the Bulls careen wildly toward yet another No. 7 draft pick. To wit:

  • The Pacers are 37-25 this season with a winning record on the road. The Bulls are 21-41 with a losing record at home.
  • The Pacers have a winning record against the spread (ATS) at 31-27-4. The Bulls are losers at 27-33-2.
  • The Pacers are 32-13 straight-up as favorites. The Bulls are 8-30 as underdogs.

Getting the picture?

The Pacers have won all three meetings this season by 13, 11 and nine points. Indiana hasn’t been at full strength in any of those matchups, either. The Pacers were short Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner twice each in various combinations, and somehow JaKarr Sampson has started all three wins.

Indiana has won eight in a row against the Bulls and 11 of the last 12. This is about as much of a division rivalry right now as Reggie’s Pacers were in the 90s against Jordan’s Bulls.

A heavy percentage of the early bets came in on Indiana, though almost as high a percentage of the money came for Chicago, and that has dropped the line from -4 to -3. The over/under has dropped from 213.5 to 211.

Will Anyone Score?

The Pacers could certainly use a healthy Brogdon or Oladipo, but they’ve managed to stay afloat even without them. They’re 7-7 without Brogdon this season and 32-20 without Dipo, and neither of those guys has been whole in awhile.

The biggest injury miss here might be the one who’s already confirmed out: Zach LaVine.

LaVine has been the only real positive on this Bulls offense, outside of the games when Coby White gets hot off the bench. Chicago did score 108 and 109 its last two games without LaVine, but those were against Dallas and Minnesota, so not much defense there. The Bulls could have a hard time hitting 100 in this one, which puts the under 104 Bulls team total line in play.

I prefer the game under, but it’s already dropped several points and no longer offers quite as much value.

Side With the Franchise, Not the Team

There’s one other stat you need to know, and it’s the most important one.

The Chicago Bulls are 2-22 against winning teams this season. TWO AND TWENTY-TWO.

And even those two wins came against teams missing Kawhi Leonard and Kristaps Porzingis.

Sure, the Pacers might be missing two or even three starters, but they’ve juggled injuries all season. Sabonis and Turner will still dominate the interior, and players like Justin Holiday, Aaron Holiday and T.J. McConnell will step up and fill key roles.

The Bulls have turned their starting lineup over to Shaq Harrison and Denzel Valentine. They’re so bad the team is actively missing Chandler Hutchison, and they’ve even taken the $8-million-a-year bubble wrap off Cristiano Felicio lately.

The Bulls weren’t even very good with LaVine. They’re in trouble without him, and the oddsmakers are gifting us a one-shot line, so let’s ride the Pacers to the finish line.

At least Bulls fans will get a Benny the Bull bobblehead for attending tonight. Might be the only win they leave with.

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