Free NBA Picks: Pacers at Spurs Odds
by Alan Matthews - 12/6/2013
It's truly a shame that Saturday's Indiana at San Antonio game, very possibly an NBA Finals preview and the Pacers' only visit to the home of the Alamo this season, is this Saturday night. I'd certainly be watching and betting Pacers-Spurs almost any other day, but this week it's dwarfed by conference championship Saturday and is played opposite the Pac-12 title game between Stanford and Arizona State, the ACC tilt between Duke and Florida State and the Big Ten showdown between Ohio State and Michigan State.
Pacers-Spurs would be a great Finals matchup for the NBA to prove that you don't need to be in a big market or have a transcendent superstar to win a championship. Don't get me wrong, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are all future Hall of Famers and maybe Indiana's Paul George is too with the excellent early start to his career. But they aren't on a level of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, etc. Partly that's just marketing and the fact Pacers and Spurs guys don't have popular shoe lines. TV executives would be horrified if it's a Pacers-Spurs NBA Finals.
At Sportsbook.ag, Pacers-Spurs is +1000 to be the exact Finals matchup. The only matchup better involving Indiana is against Oklahoma City at +700. Heat vs. Thunder, Spurs, Rockets, Clippers and Warriors are all ahead of Pacers-Spurs.
Pacers at Spurs Betting Story Lines
Indiana's current six-game stretch has to be the toughest for any team in the NBA this season. The Pacers opened a five-game road trip with an impressive 105-100 win at the Clippers last Sunday to match the best start in franchise history at 16-1. The next night, Portland showed it might be for real with a 106-102 win over Indiana. It was also the second of a back-to-back for the Blazers. Indiana bounced back with a 95-86 win at Utah (the one gimme among the six). Then after Saturday's game, the Pacers visit Oklahoma City before hosting Miami on Tuesday night, a game I also undoubtedly will preview here at Doc's.
The Spurs should be well-rested. They were supposed to play the Timberwolves on Wednesday in Mexico City, but the NBA got a bit of a black eye as the game had to be postponed because of smoky conditions inside the arena. No, the fans weren't all smoking, but it was coming from a generator malfunction outside the arena. If you have ever been to Mexico City, the whole city is smoky, frankly. The game will be made up later this season in Minnesota. Here's guessing there may not be another trip south of the border for a while.
The Spurs started 13-1 but have dropped two of four. But there's no shame in losing at Oklahoma City or against Houston. Those two came in a stretch of three games in four nights. The Rockets loss was the Spurs' first at home as San Antonio was 9-for-26 from long range. The three-pointer is a big part of that offense, with the Spurs ranking No. 7 in the NBA by shooting .390 from long range. San Antonio bounced back from that loss with a win Monday over Atlanta on a game-winning jumper by the 37-year-old Duncan. He had 23 points and 21 boards to become the oldest player in NBA history with a 20-20 game. Duncan is averaging 16.6 points and 10.2 rebounds in his past five games.
There is one injury concern for San Antonio, and it's to big man Tiago Splitter. He wouldn't have played Wednesday with tightness in his left calf and is officially day-to-day. The Brazilian is averaging 8.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in just 21.4 minutes per game. Boris Diaw would start in Splitter's place, but Diaw is much smaller, and that could be a problem against a big Indiana team led by 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert. Definitely keep an eye on the Kawhi Leonard-George matchup as that should be tremendous. Of course, Leonard was the Pacers' No. 15 overall pick in 2011 and was traded to San Antonio on draft night for point guard George Hill.
Pacers at Spurs NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, San Antonio opened as a four-point favorite with a total of 190.5. The Pacers are 14-5 ATS (8-2 on road) and 6-13 “over/under” (5-5 on road). The Spurs are 9-9 ATS (4-5 at home) and 10-8 O/U (6-3 at home). Indiana is 4-1 ATS in its past five after a win. It is 5-2 ATS in its past seven Saturday games. San Antonio is 6-2 ATS in its past eight when allowing at least 100 points in its previous game. The Spurs are 2-6 ATS in their past eight against teams with a winning record. The over is 6-0 in the Spurs' past six Saturday games. The Pacers are 1-4 ATS in the past five meetings.
Free NBA Picks: Pacers at Spurs Betting Predictions
This should be low-scoring with Indiana ranking No. 1 in points allowed and the Spurs No. 3. San Antonio isn't a great rebounding team, so if Splitter is out that hurts even more. He is making every effort to play and having nearly a week off should help.
San Antonio swept last season's series, reaching triple-digits in both games. The Spurs have won 10 straight against the Pacers, their second-longest active streak vs. any team, and 11 in a row at home. If there's one weakness on Indiana, it's at point guard with Hill. He's a solid player, but Tony Parker should be able to eat his lunch. I'm not going to say Indiana would dare overlook San Antonio, but the Pacers also have a "sexier" matchup Sunday with the Thunder.
That said, I think the Spurs win, but I'm taking the points. And the under.
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