NBA betting continues as the Indiana Pacers will host the Houston Rockets on Thursday, March 9th in this Eastern Conference versus Western Conference matchup at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. This will be the finale in a series of two games. The Pacers come in looking for a late season push at the play-in tournament and the Rockets are trying to continue the growth of their young squad.
That being said, man has Alperen Sengun been a tremendous pickup. The 16th overall pick in the 2021 draft has really blossomed this year as a great player. Big men in the NBA need time to find themselves and their footing. Guards can use athleticism and shooting, but bigs need development, touch and just playing time to adjust. At 20 years old, Sengun has shown what some thought he was capable of and what more are surprised to see. He gets a matchup with supreme shot blocker Myles Turner. He struggled in their first go around. Let's see just how much the big man has grown since their November meeting.
This year in Indiana was supposed to be a building year. Possibly another year for a top-10 pick. Expectations in the state that claims to grow basketball were low but wanted signs of growth. Well, that changed when All-Star Tyrese Haliburton and company showed exactly what the Pacers are capable of. Then came the injury to Hali and the Pacers’ season took a dramatic turn for the worse record wise as hovering around .500 dropped to well below it. Now 2.5 games out of postseason play, the team of gold and blue is at a crossroads. Play themselves into the tournament or focus on growth and a better draft pick.
Indiana fans are not used to missing out on the playoffs. I think Tyrese, Turner and budding rookie phenom Benedict Mathurin get a late season second wind to prove the doubters wrong and maybe even prove to themselves how capable this team is. Sure it needs a couple of other pieces to be serious contenders in the Eastern Conference but what better way to attract talent than producing during the playoffs when the rest of the world is watching.
The Rockets and Pacers have only played each other one time this season. That was a low scoring affair where the Pacers won 99-91 all the way back before Thanksgiving. Don’t expect to only see double-digits in each teams scoring column now. The Pacers just gave up 147 to the 76ers and the Rockets have been scorched for over 120 in three of their last five. Injury note- Rockets Kevin Porter jr is out and Pacers Aaron Nesmith is a true GTD.
The over under is sitting at 236 currently. Not shocking for two teams struggling to keep teams below 120. Obviously odds makers feel the same. I think it would take a close game for this to get to where both teams are scoring north of 120 a piece and if the Pacers cover 9.5 then it’s not that close. I’ll take the under in this one, but I dont feel great banking on either team’s defense.
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