2018 Indiana Pacers Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
It's amazing how much things can change in just one year. No one expected much of anything from the Pacers coming into the season last year. The playoffs seemed almost impossible. They looked like an also-ran. But then Victor Oladipo, to the shock of everyone, including his own mother I'm sure, suddenly turned into a legitimate superstar, the roster around him evolved nicely, and suddenly the team not only won 48 games, and not only took Cleveland to seven games in the first round of the playoffs, but very nearly beat them in the decider. It was the most surprising positive result in the league last year.
But now the pressure is real. They aren't going to sneak up on anyone this year. Oladipo is now viewed as a superstar and has to perform like one - with everyone preparing to stop him from doing so each night. Guys like Myles Turner and Thaddeus Young have to maintain the trajectory of development that they have been on. And Nate McMillan needs to continue to motivate this team as well as he has while dealing with very different expectations. It's very tough to become relevant in the NBA. It's even tougher to stay that way.
Oladipo was the Most Improved Player in the league in his first year in Indiana. It was a remarkable breakout for a guy who had been solid in three years in Orlando and one in Oklahoma City but who was deemed expendable by both teams. He was used aggressively, and he thrived under the usage. He played spectacular ball in the playoffs, too, and reportedly was in touch with his offseason training staff the evening of the Game 7 loss to start planning how to take the next step. He is only 26, so it is very possible that he can take another step forward this year. That will be fun to watch.
2018 Indiana Pacers Additions and Departures
The team saw some guys move on, letting Lance Stephenson, Al Jefferson and Alex Poythress go. They are unlikely to cry about any of those moves for too long. To replace them they made three interesting signings. Tyreke Evans is coming off a very good year for Memphis last year and is a very versatile playmaker with a lot of rubber left on his tires. Doug McDermott can shoot and should be able to bloom in a more appropriate role here. My only complaint with this signing is that they seemed to be bidding against themselves, so they paid too much and for too long for him. And Kyle O'Quinn is a big man who shows a scoring touch, can bang it with the best of them, and is effective coming off the bench. He also has a mean streak, which means he can fill the role of the departed Stephenson nicely in that regard. The team has added nicely to their depth and has improved without spending too much money or disrupting the core too much.
The team had strong play from Darren Collison on the point last year, and now he's not the only UCLA point guard on the roster. With the 23rd pick in the draft, Indiana picked Aaron Holiday. His game is very nice, but he will take some time. He should be in an ideal situation - there are worse guys to be mentored by than his fellow alum. Interestingly, the team also has T.J. Leaf and Ike Anigbogu from the Bruins, so Indianapolis is becoming Westwood north. With the 50th pick the team grabbed forward Alize Johnson of Missouri State. He was projected by some to be a late first-round pick, so there was some value in taking him where they did. It will take time to see what they have in him, though.
2018 Indiana Pacers Futures Odds and Trends
NBA title odds ( from Bovada ) : +12500
Eastern Conference title odds : +2500
Victor Oladipo MVP Odds : +6600
Season win total: 47
The team was an impressive 53-36 ATS on the season, which made them the second-most-profitable team to bet on during the season. And they went "under" the total 54 times and "over" just 33, so they were also the most profitable team to bet on the total in the league. This was a great betting team.
2018 Indiana Pacers Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
I like the team, but not as much as some. A lot of people think that the Central is a two-horse race between the Pacers and the Bucks. While I obviously agree that those are the two best teams in the group, Milwaukee is solidly better in my eyes and has the edge. Anything less than second in the division would be a big disappointment, but a win would be a bit of a surprise in my eyes. The win total feels pretty accurate, but I would lean slightly to the over if forced to.
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