The top four seeds in the Eastern Conference are currently occupied by four very strong teams: the Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers. The 29-14 Pacers will host the 29-16 76ers today as the teams jostle for playoff positioning (7 p.m. ET Thursday on TNT).
Indiana has been quietly submitting a fantastic season. The Pacers now have won 16 of their last 20 games on the strength of their depth and defense.
Philadelphia is still building chemistry with new star Jimmy Butler, but the team’s talent in the starting lineup is keeping it very competitive. The 76ers have gone 21-10 since acquiring the four-time All-Star.
These teams win in different ways, but both squads are still very good. How will their styles stack up against each other today? This NBA game preview examine the chief issues before forecasting potential betting results with our picks and Philadelphia 76ers vs Indiana Pacers predictions.
Are Any 76ers’ Reserves Ready for a Big Performance?
The Sixers and Pacers win in very different ways. Philadelphia is a top-heavy squad with a great top four of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick, but the team’s bench is weak. Meanwhile, the Pacers don’t have a lot of star power, but they have many solid players both in their starting lineup and coming off the bench.
Usually, it is the role players whose performances depend more on being at home. Since this is a road game for the Sixers, the onus will be on their bench to step up to the level of Indy’s bench.
Mike Muscala, T.J. McConnell, Landry Shamet, Furkan Korkmaz and Jonah Bolden aren’t as good for the Sixers as Domantas Sabonis, Cory Joseph, Tyreke Evans and Doug McDermott are for the Pacers, but they are capable of matching their production on a given night. Will tonight be that night?
Will Myles Turner Show That He is a Defensive Player of the Year Candidate?
Sixers star Joel Embiid is one of the most heralded defensive players in the NBA. The 7-foot center is a feared rim protector, and he has the mobility to hold his own when he occasionally defends on the perimeter.
Pacers center Myles Turner has quietly been the stronger candidate for Defensive Player of the Year this year. Turner is leading the NBA with 2.76 blocks per game. His blocks per foul ratio (1.04) is also tops in the league, which shows you how disciplined he is playing inside. The Sixers have the NBA’s No. 2-ranked defense in points allowed per 100 possessions.
Turner will spend a lot of time defending Embiid, who is arguably the NBA’s best center. Will Embiid overwhelm Turner with his strength, athleticism and post play, or will Turner bring his “A” game to this marquee matchup?
Will Philadelphia’s Turnovers Be a Storyline Tonight?
The Pacers are third in the NBA in highest opponent turnover rate. The Sixers have the fifth-highest turnover rate on offense. Do you see where this is going? Philly turnovers could be a problem in this game.
The 76ers have a 0-5 record this season when they turn the ball over on at least 17.3 percent of their possessions. On the Pacers’ side, they have a 6-0 record when the opponent turns the ball over on at least 17.3 percent of their possessions.
Even if the Sixers’ issues with miscues aren’t that serious, Indiana will take advantage with transition baskets if Philadelphia even has a little bit of trouble taking care of the ball.
Our Preview’s Philadelphia 76ers vs Indiana Pacers Predictions & Betting Picks
I like the Pacers to win in a high-scoring game. Indiana’s reserves should be able to score at will against Philly’s bench and the 76ers’ starters aren’t enough better than the Pacers’ starters to offset that advantage at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The potential turnover issues for the 76ers (and subsequent transition scoring from Indiana) confirm that this should be a high-scoring game. So here are the Philadelphia 76ers vs Indiana Pacers predictions for this preview, with our picks at the odds:
- The Pacers are a mere 3-point favorite at home here with our old enemy, those top rated sports betting sites that accept Americans. That isn’t enough to lose confidence betting with them. Take your best odds of Pacers -3pts @ -110 with Bovada, Bookmaker, BetOnline and Intertops.
- The over/under for the total points to be scored is relatively high at 224.5 or 225, but that’s still not high enough. Put your money on the over 224.5pts @ -110 with Bookmaker or BetOnline.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.