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May 18th NBA Play-in Action: Charlotte Hornets @ Indiana Pacers


Backing the Pacers post-season experience at home: Indiana -1.5


With this year's 10th seed in the Play-in Tournament, the Charlotte Hornets look to make their first post-season appearance since 2015-16, when they were ultimately dispatched by the Raptors in game seven of the conference semis. The flies have their work cut out for themselves though, and we are not optimistic. In fact, we are laying the short chalk and backing the Pacers to advance and cover.


Fundamentally, we see these teams as virtual equals. In our estimation, the difference Tuesday will likely to come down to post-season experience and home court advantage.


To make the case that Charlotte and Indiana possess roughly equivalent levels of ability, consider that EPSN's Basketball Power Index makes both teams to be exactly equally average on a neutral court. Similarly FiveThirtyEight gives the Pacers a one-to-two point edge Tuesday, before considering location.


To assess context, we are looking at this contest like a game 7, as the loser is done, per the official Play-in Tournament rules.


Historically, it has proven shrewd to back home teams in game 7's against squads that have not seen the post-season in at least a year.



This simple system has delivered a statistically significant (at the 95% confidence level) 39% return on investment over its 21-game sample, dating back to 2004.


Bankers Life Fieldhouse will host fans up to 25% of capacity for the affair, but we are inclined to overweight the advantage implied by home court (that is, relative to our covid-era practice of ascribing between zero and a nominal edge for host teams). We expect a particularly activist crowd in Indianapolis this afternoon, given the stakes.


On personnel, both Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis have been cleared for action for Indiana.


Happy betting!!


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