Nov 21 NBA Action: Milwaukee Bucks @ Indiana Pacers
Milwaukee Bucks @ Indiana Pacers -4.0 (-118)
Our quantitative methodology expects a Pacers win by between 5 and 12 points when the Bucks come calling at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this evening. However, the individual factors that comprise our composite indicator do not agree that Indiana will overcome the current spread of -5.5 points. Accordingly, we paid up this morning and secured IND -4.0 (-118) at 5Dimes.
Paul George's injury last summer raised the specter that he would go the way of former Pacers #1 option Danny Granger. Granger emerged as a superstar for Indiana in 2009, averaging 24 PPG. The small forward out of New Mexico was voted the league's Most Improved Player that year and also made the All-Star team. Sadly though, Granger was reduced to role player status for a couple of years after a bout of patellar tendinosis, and is currently out of the NBA (the Pistons cut Granger before the current season commenced).
Fortunately for Indiana fans, George's post-injury path though looks quite different. The fifth year man from Fresno State was relegated to observer status last year following multiple compound fractures to his right leg, which he sustained while practicing for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, however, George looks to be back up to his old tricks this year. George ranks 13th in the NBA by John Hollinger's PER (among qualified players), and 4th at his position. Further with an average of better than 25 points per contest , George is enjoying his best season ever scoring the ball.
We think the one, two punch of Paul George and Monta Ellis is adequate to secure the cover at home tonight (at the reduced chalk, anyway) against an inferior Bucks squad whose personnel is less than 100% (O.J. Mayo was only marginally productive in his 13 minute season debut Thursday, while Jabari Parker is still working his way back to 100% following a recent foot sprain).
Since 2014, the Bucks have more-or-less had their way with the Pacers against the spread (Milwaukee is 5-2 versus the number over this horizon). However, there is a new sheriff in town (or, more accurately, the old sheriff is back in town). As home favorites of between 4.5 and 14 points, Indiana won the 3 meetings with Milwaukee in 2013, both absolutely and versus the spread. We think this prior history is more indicative of what we might see tonight, as the Pacers' talent level today appears more akin to their 2012-2013 incarnation than to last year's unit.
Take the better team at home, but pay up for the short lay.