76ers-Pacers Betting Preview: Can Philly Finally Cover a Road Game?

76ers-Pacers Betting Preview: Can Philly Finally Cover a Road Game? article feature image

Photo credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ben Simmons

Betting odds: Philadelphia 76ers at Indiana Pacers

  • Spread: Pacers -2.5
  • Over/Under: 216.5
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: ESPN

>> All odds as of 10:30 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets

The 6-5 Philadelphia 76ers, who are 0-5 against-the-spread on the road this season, will visit the 7-4 Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

When will Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz and Joel Embiid start to figure things out? Are we in for another disappointing performance? Our analysts discuss.

Moore: Pacers Have an Edge in Matchup Battles

The Pacers make me nervous at home. They’re 3-2 ATS but lost to Houston and Portland when favored. This Sixers team, on the other hand … what a mess. Their record is good, and when they have a matchup they can exploit, like Saturday vs. Detroit when Joel Embiid basically emasculated Andre Drummond, they can look great.

But there are issues under the hood.

The easy one to spot is Markelle Fultz, whose presence in the starting lineup basically drags Ben Simmons to hell. Simmons shoots 45% with Fultz on the court vs. 52% with him on the bench. But what gets lost in the focus on Fultz is that Simmons has an overall negative Net Rating (-1.7 per 100 possessions) even when Fultz isn’t on the floor.

Basically, you have to tether J.J. Redick and at least one other shooter with Simmons at all times. This is why they need to trade for Kyle Korver very badly.

This matchup is going to be great. One X-factor to consider is Kyle O’Quinn, who’s posted great advanced metrics in limited minutes. Myles Turner isn’t a great matchup vs. Embiid, and Domantas Sabonis doesn’t have the size. O’Quinn is like a smaller model of Aron Baynes, who gives Embiid problems.

If Simmons doesn’t keep a hold on Victor Oladipo, and that means putting Simmons on Sabonis and/or Thaddeus Young to get the switch onto him in advance, Philly’s going to have a tough time. There are a lot of matchup issues for a Sixers team that just doesn’t seem like it knows what it’s good at yet. Matt Moore

Mears: The 76ers’ Flaws Won’t Go Away

Let’s look at how Philly ranked in offensive and defensive Four Factors from last year to this season (per Cleaning the Glass):

There are problems all around, though it does seem the biggest issue is on offense. And a lot of it is probably just shooting.

Let’s look at how their offense looks in terms of open vs. contested shots.

I mean, that’s fine. They’re in the top 10 in free throw rate (although bottom of the league at getting the rim), but in general the offense isn’t schematically trash or anything.

They just don’t have good shooters on the roster. Simmons has a 50.5% effective field goal mark (30th percentile among players at his position), Fultz is at 41.4% (21st percentile) and Dario Saric, poor thing, is at 40.1% (4th percentile).

Their only above-average shooters on the roster are JJ Redick and … Landry Shamet?

All that said, I think it’s fine to be bearish on the 76ers this year. They have some questions that need to be answered — who is Fultz? — and some that just won’t be answered — shooting. It may seem crazy that this lines suggests these two teams are even, but that may be true right now. Perhaps the market will overreact to Philly’s struggles at some point, but I think it’s correctly pricing it right now.

One unrelated aside before I go: the 76ers are 6-0 ATS at home this year and 0-5 ATS on the road. Bryan Mears

Betting Trends to Know

Joel Embiid began his NBA career in 2016. Since he took the court for the Sixers, Philly has gone 62-45-2 (58%) ATS as an underdog in the regular season but only 13-15-2 ATS when getting points since 2017.John Ewing

After the Sixers’ road loss to the Nets in Brooklyn on Sunday night, Philly stays on the road to face the Pacers on Wednesday night after some extended rest (three-plus days).

Since 2013, teams to play on the road in Indiana on at least two days rest are 41-98 straight-up (29.5%) and 62-74-3 against the spread (45.6%).

Road teams in Indiana are losing by 5.3 PPG in that spot, losing bettors 46.9 units, making Bankers Life Fieldhouse the least profitable building for opponents on extended rest.

Under head coach Nate McMillan, the Pacers are 8-2 ATS when playing at home off a home loss, profiting bettors 5.7 units, making McMillan the second-most profitable NBA coach in the league in this spot since joining the Pacers. Evan Abrams

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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