The NBA this year has been a strange one to keep up with as star players have been dropping like flies in terms of injuries and load management. This one serves no different as Giannis remains on the injury report while the Pacers are still dealing with the absence of Tyrese Haliburton. The Pacers are in the midst of a playoff seeding battle while the Bucks are trying to claw their way back to the top. Can the Bucks take care of business in what should be a route?
Milwaukee Bucks vs Indiana Pacers Betting Odds
Oddsmakers certainly think so as they opened the Bucks as a -7.5 favorite. Bettors are in agreement, taking the Bucks up to as high as -8.5. This comes as no surprise as Giannis Antetokounmpo has upgraded from Questionable to Probable on the injury report. This puts the Bucks at near full strength while the Pacers roster has been decimated by injuries. Since the loss of Tyrese Haliburton, the Pacers offense has failed to sustain any sort of consistency with their lack of elite playmaking.
Speaking of offense, points are expected to be scored at a blistering pace as oddsmakers opened the total at 237. Bettors were quick to pounce on the over with the injury news of Giannis, taking the over up to as high as 240 as of writing. This actually comes as a big surprise as the Pacers offense will struggle to do their part in scoring points at a consistent rate for the over while the Bucks defense has been one of the better units in the nation.
Milwaukee Bucks vs Indiana Pacers Prediction
The Pick: Wait on the under
With that said, I am going to see how high this over can climb before taking a position on the other end. As previously mentioned, I struggle to understand the line movement as an over normally requires both units to play their part in helping it cash. The Indiana offense has struggled to generate any sort of consistency since the injury to star young guard Tyrese Haliburton. His elite facilitation and playmaking is sorely missed, forcing the offense to turn towards an anemic style of play.
Even worse, they now go against one of the best defensive units in basketball that will most likely be at full strength should Giannis be able to suit up. The Bucks currently rank top-5 in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency per TeamRankings. This has been a major reason for their success, just like in their championship run. They have the size and length to lock up the perimeter as well as clog up the paint.
In Haliburton’s absence, the Pacers have had to rely on the scoring production of perimeter threat Buddy Hield and versatile big man Myles Turner. Their inside out approach has kept them afloat, but now they have to deal with Turner potentially being out of this one as he popped up as Questionable on the injury report. His defensive capabilities being gone hurts our potential under ticket, but his missing offensive production makes up for it as well.
- Under is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings in Indiana
- Over is 6-2 in the last eight meetings overall
- Bucks are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings against each other
Can the Pacers limit Giannis’ drives to the basket?
Giannis Antetokounmpo vs Pacers interior defense
When Giannis is on the court you can expect the Bucks offense to run through him as he barrels towards the basket. He either uses his elite finishing abilities or kicks it out to an open shooter should the defense collapse on him.
He will have ample room to do so should Myles Turner not be able to suit up, a massive missing piece to the Pacers interior defense.
This poses a concern to the under, but gives the possibility of the Bucks putting this away early. They have been known to rest their starters for generous periods of time when they get massive leads, giving us hope in a late game situation.
Pass on this for now and wait to take a under ticket should steam continue to hit the over.
Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup
Indiana Pacers Starting Lineups
Milwaukee Bucks Injuries: Giannis Antetokounmpo (P), AJ Green (Q), Bobby Portis (O)
Indiana Pacers Injuries: Myles Turner (Q), Aaron Nesmith (Q), Andrew Nembhard (Q), Tyrese Haliburton (O), Daniel Theis (O)