We notched our fifth NBA winner ATS in six tries with Indiana’s easy win over the visiting Chicago Bulls. The Pacers are now 10-2 over their last twelve games and 11-4 ATS on the season. Perhaps it is time to take these new small-ball Pacers seriously. Look, the MVP is Steph Curry. If I got five spots on the ballot, I’d vote him all five spots – it’s not even CLOSE. But in the non-Steph division, it’d be hard not to consider Paul George the front-runner. James Harden has put up some good stats at times, but his team is dreadful. Ditto for Anthony Davis. LeBron is still special, but to call his early season play MVP-level would be a bit of an over-sell.
Paul George is fourth in the NBA with 26.2 ppg, and is also averaging 8.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists. He is shooting nearly 46% from the floor and 45% from behind the arc. Add in the fact he is an elite-level defender, and it is hard to dispute the fact he has been the BEST two-way player in the NBA this season.
If PG-13 can continue to play at an MVP level, there is no reason the Pacers can’t compete well into May in the Eastern Conference. It will be worth keeping an eye on their upcoming lines given their remarkable success against the spread lately. If the lines don’t catch up, there could be a few more good wagering opportunities.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Atlanta Hawks at San Antonio Spurs -7.5
It’s always interesting for Coach Bud to go back home and coach against his mentor and former boss, especially given the remarkable similarities in the way these two teams play. Those similarities have often gotten the Hawks nicknamed “Spurs East” or “Spurs lite.” But is it enough for them to knock off the cruising Spurs on the road?
Well, the Spurs have won 17 straight home games against Atlanta, so the odds don’t seem real great. San Antonio might be the quietest 13-3 team in NBA history thanks to the ridiculous start the Warriors have ripped off, but despite the lack of attention (nothing new for San Antonio) the Spurs look like one of the top three or four teams in the NBA. New addition LaMarcus Alderidge is starting to blend in seamlessly, and Kawhi Leonard is putting himself in the “best two-way player in the NBA” discussion with similar stat lines to Paul George (22ppg is lower, everything is on par, and Kawhi is a better defender).
The biggest problem for Atlanta might just be the schedule. San Antonio is rested. The Hawks have to try to defeat one of the best teams in the league on the back end of a back-to-back. That’s a tough ask, and I think San Antonio will win with relative ease tonight.