Both the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks have enjoyed their home floor more than their time on the road this season. With both teams having better home records than road records so far, Indiana is the team that will be enjoying the role of hosting this contest. And with injuries being a factor for the Milwaukee Bucks heading into this contest, this road game for Giannis Antetokounmpo and company could be even less enjoyable than most.
These teams are both members of the Central division in the NBA, meaning that these Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers matchups happen often. And with the Bucks winning the division and the NBA Finals last season, the Pacers will hope that this game is the tip of the iceberg in a seismic shift among the teams in the Central. But before any such shift can take place, the Pacers will have to take care of business in this one regular season matchup.
Milwaukee Bucks – Plagued By Injuries
The Milwaukee Bucks are off to a solid 2-1 start to the year. They started the season by beating up on the Brooklyn Nets at home, before splitting a pair of road games against the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. Now, the Bucks are tasked with playing their third straight road game, and will have to do so without several of the key contributors that made them a championship team in the first place last season.
Coming into Monday night against the Pacers, the Bucks are expected to be without Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis. Each of those players brings a different element to the Bucks, and being without all three is a massive detriment for the team expected to be one of the last standing in the NBA again this year. And while Giannis and Khris Middleton are more than capable of hiding any flaws caused by injury, the Bucks are surely worse without three of their more important players available.
Expected Line-Up: George Hill, Khris Middleton, Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton, Giannis Antetokounmpo
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Indiana Pacers – In Need Of More Defense
The difference between the Indiana Pacers at home and the Indiana Pacers on the road so far this season has been stark. Indiana lost their opening two games of the season on the road to the Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards, both in heartbreaking fashion. They then came back and won their third game of the year, claiming their home opener in relatively convincing fashion against the Miami Heat.
Defensive performance has been the biggest difference between the Pacers at home and on the road this year. In their two road games, the Pacers allowed 129 points per game to their opponents. At home, they held the Heat to under 100 points. Against a banged up Bucks team, defense will once again decide what kind of chance the Pacers have of getting a victory.
Expected Line-Up: Malcolm Brogdon, Chris Duarte, Justin Holiday, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner
Expert Pick #1 – Pacers +3 @ -110
The first bet to make in this game is on the Pacers to cover the spread as a three-point underdog at -110 odds. Indiana is likely to play better at home than they did on the road on the defensive end. But besides that, the Bucks are dealing with way too many injuries to back as a road favorite in the NBA, especially when they are playing their third straight game away from Fiserv Forum.
Expert Pick #2 – Myles Turner Over 12.5 Points @ -110
Next up, it is worth placing a bet on Myles Turner to score over 12.5 points at -110 odds in this game. Turner set his career high for scoring on Friday against the Washington Wizards, showcasing his shooting touch in the process. While he is unlikely to score 40 again in this game for the Pacers, the fact that Giannis will have to deal with two bigs should free up opportunities for Turner when Giannis goes over to guard Domantas Sabonis.
Expert Pick #3 – Pacers Win By 6-10 @ +475
For a smaller amount than you bet on the Pacers to cover, it is worth putting a little something on the Pacers to win by 6-10 points at +475 odds. Indiana could very well win this game outright against a road weary Bucks team. And if they manage to win and sink some free throws down the stretch, they could very well end up in that 6-10 range for a handsome payout on their margin of victory.
This game is all about the injuries of the Milwaukee Bucks, as they put way too much of the pressure to score on Giannis and Middleton in this game. Expect the Pacers to key in on those two defensively and to make role players beat them from the outside. The Pacers are a great value play as underdogs in this contest.