Pacers at Hawks – NBA Pick Dec 29

Our NBA winning streak came to a close last night with a 1-2 ATS performance.  Sometimes Vegas giveth, sometimes it taketh away… The Clippers won their 16th straight game but came one point short of covering, handing us a tough loss.  However later that night, the Warriors hit two late free throws, then forced a Philly miss to win by seven and squeak out a one-point cover.

It was that kind of night in the NBA for wagering purposes, so let’s see if we can find a win with a little more comfortable breathing margin tonight…

Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks -3 (Total: 182.5)

The Pacers have been playing fantastic basketball as of late, as the team has finally seemed to get a little offensive rhythm without Danny Granger.  They have finally gotten the needed offensive output from Paul George, and coupled with the improved play of Roy Hibbert and steadiness of David West, and the result has been winning seven of eight and a four game winning streak.

However, the Pacers certainly have not played well against the Hawks historically.  They have lost eight of their last ten games to Atlanta and have not won at the Phillips Center in five years.  The Hawks lost long-time leading scorer Joe Johnson in the off-season to free agency, but have not taken the step back many thought they might.  They enter tonight at 18-9, 10-5 at home, and on a three-game winning streak.  Their last three games haven’t been real pretty; an overtime win over Detroit and a close win over Cleveland – but a win is a win.

Indiana got a nice win last night hosting Phoenix, but getting on a plane and hitting the road the night after a home win is never an easy thing in the NBA.  Teams tend to be a little sluggish on the back-end of back-to-backs.  Atlanta also played last night, but at least has the advantage of coming home.  Conventional wisdom tends to favor the UNDER when both teams are on back-to-backs, but with Indiana fatigue often leads to a little less defensive pressure rather than just shooting a little flat, so I am going to stay away from the 182 total tonight.  The number feels about right to me, though at first blush looked high.

Instead, I am going to take the simplest of NBA wagers.  If the better team is at home, and the road team played the night before – that’s about as close to a lock as it gets in the NBA.  Laying just three is an oddly low number.  Take the Hawks and enjoy the profits.

Free Pick:  Atlanta Hawks -3

Chris Scheeren / Author