Pacers vs. Wizards Odds, Preview, Prediction: How To Bet Thursday’s Eastern Conference Play-In Game (May 20)

Pacers vs. Wizards Odds, Preview, Prediction: How To Bet Thursday’s Eastern Conference Play-In Game (May 20) article feature image

Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Domantas Sabonis #11 of the Indiana Pacers.

  • With one playoff spot left up for grabs, the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards will go head-to-head in D.C. in the East elimination play-in game.
  • Could the Wizards really be packing their bags Thursday night after their run leading up to the NBA Play-In Tournament?
  • Kenny Ducey thinks it's more than possible and previews the matchup below.

Pacers vs. Wizards Odds

Pacers Odds+3.5
Wizards Odds-3.5
Moneyline+125 / -155
Time8 p.m. ET
Odds as of Wednesday and via BetMGM

With the eighth and final playoff spot on the line in the East, the Indiana Pacers will visit the Washington Wizards in what should be a cracking offensive affair between two fast-paced teams.

After both teams looked like complete opposites of the teams they've been all month, I think there's plenty of value in betting on these sides to continue trending in opposite directions.

Let's get into the matchup and see where the value lies.

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Can the Pacers Maintain Their Hot Shooting?

This Pacers offense just won't stop. Hours after news broke that Caris LeVert would be out for 10-14 days under the league's health and safety protocols, they exploded for 144 points in a massive play-in game victory over the Charlotte Hornets putting them one win away from a playoff spot.

It should be noted that Charlotte has one of the league's weaker defenses, though the Hornets did rank around league average defensively in the month of May. Even against a so-so defensive unit, Indiana can still run the score up enough to soar over the total.

The Pacers scored 116.2 points per 100 possessions in May, which put them just outside the top 10 in that category. They continued to push the tempo and create more opportunities to score, ranking third in Pace for the month after sitting fourth all season long.

While they're not known for their 3-point shooting (36.4% for the season) the Pacers did rank fifth in 3-point percentage over their last nine games, and come in off a monster 45.7% shooting performance from distance on Tuesday.

Shooting will certainly something to watch here, as will the play down low for the Pacers. Indiana's frontcourt asserted its dominance all game long Tuesday, out-rebounding the Hornets 54-36. Domantas Sabonis was great in that department, but it was Oshae Brissett to lead the way in the scoring column.

With a shortened rotation — Goga Bitadze and JaKarr Sampson were used sparingly — this team will lean on Brissett to compliment Sabonis, and it's looking like it could be a deadly duo.

The High-Scoring Trend Will Continue for Washington

The Wizards, much like the Pacers, run opponents off the floor with their great up-tempo play led by the explosive Russell Westbrook. They topped the league in Pace this season, and over the last 15 games they had the league's fourth-best offense, according to NBA Advanced stats. Getting matched up with the Pacers, the fourth-quickest team in the league, should lead to a very fun game.

These two sides got together recently, and in both games — which were Wizards wins — a very high total was a minor speed bump for both squads. The first meeting closed at 246, and the second at 248.5 per Bet Labs. Both games were pretty tight, but the Wizards comfortably won the rebounding battle in both.

That will be a big key here, considering how much the Pacers got from their work on the glass, and from Brissett on the offensive end against the Hornets. Brissett was held in check in both of the times the Wizards and Pacers hooked up, and the offense almost exclusively came from Sabonis and LeVert.

It'll also be important considering how the Celtics, one of the league's better rebounding teams, were able to suffocate the Wizards with their defense and rebounding on Tuesday. The Daniel Gafford minutes proved fruitful, but they were few and far between on a night where he was in foul trouble.

Pacers-Wizards Pick

With so much to run through for both sides, we should briefly touch on health here. I mentioned that LeVert is out for Indiana, and while Malcolm Brogdon should be active once again, he was limited against Charlotte. There's concern on the Wizards side of things as well, with Bradley Beal admitting his hamstring isn't 100% and looking like he was not lying on Tuesday.

That leads me to my pick. While I think the Wizards have been a dangerous team for weeks now, it appears they could be out of gas. Beal looked like he was still hampered by that hamstring injury on Tuesday, and Westbrook didn't look like himself. Furthermore, they've been one of the league's worst rebounding units, and I am inclined to believe in this Indiana frontcourt and Sabonis.

I also don't see Tuesday's win by the Pacers as much of a fluke, considering 3-point shooting has been a consistent theme for them of late. I think after two close losses to Washington, Indiana can at least push for a win here behind a strong showing up front.

Pick: Pacers +3.5 (-110)

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