NBA Free Picks ATS: Indiana Pacers at Milwaukee Bucks

Indiana Pacers AT Milwaukee Bucks
Feb 12, 2011 at 8:30 PM EST
Opening Line:  Milwaukee -1.5
Current Line:  Milwaukee -2.5
Opening Total: 191
Current Total: 191
Opening Moneyline Mil -130 / Ind +110
Current Moneyline: Mil -140 / Ind +120

Granger and the Pacers enter tonight's game as 2.5 point underdogs

Indiana was on a fast track to nowhere, until the resignation or firing of coach Jim O’Brien.  Since then, under interim coach Frank Vogel, the Pacers have reeled off 7 victories in 8 games.  The phenomenon isn’t new, that a coaching change fires a team up and spurs a good stretch of game.  The question is how long the new found enthusias will last, as they now face a Milwaukee team that has beat them 7 consective times.

Part of the reason for the big turnaround is the way Vogel has the Pacers scoring.  They have scored 100 or more in their last 7 games and prior to that they had only done it 23 times all season.  The Pacers have the weapons to be a dangerous team and put up numbers.  Perhaps it just took a coaching change for them to realize that potential.

Some betting trends:

Indiana is 6-1 SU in their last 7 games and 3-15 SU in their last 18 road games.  The Pacers are 5-11-2 ATS in their last 18 road games and the total has gone OVER in 4 of their last 5 on the road.  The total has gone UNDER in 4 of their last 6 against the Bucks and the Pacers are 0-5 SU in their last 5 games against Milwaukee.  Indiana is 1-5-2 ATS in their last 8 games against the Bucks and 0-5 SU in their last 5 on the road against the Bucks.  Indiana is 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games on the road in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee is 1-6 SU in their last 7 games and the total has gone UNDER in 6 of Milwaukee’s last 7 games at home.  Milwaukee is 4-2 SU in their last 6 at home and the total has gone UNDER in 4 of Milwaukee’s last 6 games against the Pacers.  Milwaukee is 5-0 SU in thieir last 5 against Indiana and 5-0 SU in their last 5 home games against the Pacers.

Key Matchups:

Darren Collison vs. Brandon Jennings

Both these point guards were part of the highly touted draft class of 2009.  12 quality point guards emerged from the first round of that draft class, of which Collison and Jennings were among the top of.  Many remember Jennings for his 55 point game he dropped last year against Golden State, but beyond that, I remember him for chucking up a lot of ill advised shots.  Jennings has to improve his shot selection and know when to pass and when to shoot to take his game to the next level.  His matchup, Darren Collison, has been a bit of a disappointment, but only because he set the bar so high for himself after averaging 19 points per game and 9 assists per game while Chris Paul was nursing a bruised knee last year.  He has flourished under Vogel, though.  Over his last 8 games, he has scored in double figures in all but one, and had a 22 point, 9 assist game in a win over Cleveland.  Collison definitely is a better defender than Jennings, too, and I expect Collison to get the best of Jennings in this matchup, which may in fact enable the Pacers to beat the spread and/or win the game.

Roy Hibbert vs. Andrew Bogut

Until a stinker last night against the Timberwolves, Hibbert had seemed to rediscover what was working for him earlier in the season.  In those two games prior to last night, Hibbert averaged 24.5 points per game and 10 rebounds.  He’s capable of doing that on a regular basis, but he needs to keep his head in the game and maintain his confidence levels, something he had been struggling with.  For all Bogut’s maintaing he hasn’t been 100%, it’s kind of hard to believe.  His scoring average is down 2.6 points per game from last year, but he is averaging 1.3 more rebounds per game (11.5 this year) and a career high 2.9 blocks per game.  Last night against Memphis, Bogut went for 5 points and 14 rebounds.  He struggled from the floor, going 2 of 9.  He also had a bad shooting game last game against the Pacers, shooting 5 of 14.  He managed to end up with 17 points and 11 rebounds and the Bucks won. Bogut held Hibbert to 13 points and 5 rebounds, so if he can win this matchup and Jennings can keep Collison in check, the Bucks will win this game, but the point guard and center spots are definitely the ones to watch in this game.

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