Indiana Pacers 2019-20 Betting Predictions, Odds, and Expert Best Bets

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Ricky Dimon


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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

Best Bet: Under 47.5 Wins (-110)

Worst Bet: To Win the Eastern Conference (+1000)

The Pacers’ 2018-19 campaign will be remembered for one thing and one thing only: Victor Oladipo’s injury. After beating Toronto on Jan. 23, the day Oladipo went down with a ruptured quadriceps muscle, they were sporting a 32-15 record. They finished 48-34. For those counting (and we’re sure you are, as this obviously factors into how Indiana will likely fare in 2019-20), that means the team went 16-19 the rest of the way without Oladipo. Throw a four-game sweep at Boston’s hands in round one of the playoffs into the equation and the Pacers were 16-23 overall with their star guard on the sidelines.

Needless to say, Indiana’s upcoming year will hinge extensively–but not exclusively–and Oladipo’s comeback. The former Indiana University standout could miss half of the season; he could miss more; he could miss less. At this point there is no way of knowing. Either way, the Pacers have brought in former Phoenix forward T.J. Warren and former Milwaukee guard Malcolm Brogdon. Warren averaged 18.0 points per game last season, albeit for a terrible team. Brogdon (15.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.2 apg) is a force on both ends of the floor. That will help combat the losses of Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, and Darren Collison.

Pacers Win Total: O/U 47.5

Based on win totals, Indiana is expected to climb from No. 5 in the Eastern Conference to fourth (and its projected number is only one short of Boston). A lot of that has to do with Kawhi Leonard’s departure for the West (the Clippers, to be more specific), leaving defending NBA champion Toronto much less formidable on paper. Can the Pacers live up to those relatively high expectations? If Oladipo returns more quickly than expected and returns somewhere close to his peak level of play, then the answer to that question is “yes.” But that is a big “if,” and even with Oladipo playing 36 games last season they still won only 48 games. Although 27-year-old should be able to play more than 36 in 2019-20, the quality could be lower even if the quantity is higher. After all, it is hard to expect Oladipo immediately becoming the exact same player that we was prior to a serious injury. He averaged 18.8 points, 5.2 assists, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per contest before the stroke of terrible luck. In other words, Oladipo did it all. The smart money is on him being unable to do so much in 2019-20. Almost everyone in the Central Division is overrated heading into 2019-20, and Indiana is no exception. The under is the play.

Odds to Make the Playoffs: Yes -550, No +425

Led by Paul George before Oladipo assumed the team’s best player mantle in 2017-18, the Pacers have made the playoffs four straight seasons and in eight of the last nine. They have been part of the postseason all three years under head coach Nate McMillan, albeit just barely in his debut campaign of 2016-17 in which the club compiled a 42-40 record and finished fourth in the Central Division. This is a reliable franchise that should make the playoffs again this time around, but the key question surrounding Oladipo makes it a somewhat tenuous proposition. Moreover, the Eastern Conference is at least somewhat deep even though it is no longer as top heavy as it was last season with Leonard on the Raptors. The Atlantic Division will send at least four (Toronto, Philadelphia, Boston, and Brooklyn) to the playoffs, Milwaukee will almost definitely win the Central, and improvements could be made by Miami and Atlanta. It would be a disaster if Indiana missed the playoffs…but disaster struck last season it could strike again. Avoid a -550 “yes” bet like the plague, while “no” at +425 may be good enough value on which to take a chance.

Odds to Win the Central Division: +350

Could the Pacers miss the playoffs? Sure. Could they win the Central Division? Sure. This is not what you want to hear as a bettor, but there is quite simply a whole lot of uncertainty surrounding this team. There are rotating parts, injured parts, and the like. The good news for Indiana is that Milwaukee only other squad in the division that looks anything better than decent on paper. Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit are not in the mix for a division title. Like the Pacers, the Bucks boast only one sure-fire star in Giannis Antetokounmpo. If for some reason the Greek Freak falters in 2019-20 (unlikely!), Indiana could walk through the open door…if Oladipo gets healthy and stays healthy. A Central Division title is probably not in the cards for Indiana, but this also isn’t the absolute worst bet. 

Odds to Win the Eastern Conference: +1000

Milwaukee stumbling next season is at least within the realm of possibility. But Milwaukee and Philadelphia and Boston and Brooklyn all falling short of expectations is just not going to happen. Moreover, in the current era of the NBA you either need a superstar or multiple all-stars to make a run in the playoffs and win a title. Oladipo is an all-star; he is not a superstar–especially when he is not 100 percent. Unlike the Central Division offering, this is the absolute worst bet. The Pacers are not going to win the conference and not even +1000 odds should entice you to go out on a limb.

Odds To Win NBA Championship: +3300

How many teams in the Western Conference are better than Indiana? I don’t know; seven? Los Angeles…Los Angeles again…Golden State…Houston…Denver…Portland…Utah…. Any one of those teams would probably beat the Pacers, and whoever emerges as the best of the West would most likely destroy the Pacers in four straight games. Of course, if Oladipo and company actually make it to the NBA Finals then it would be obvious that he is healthy and completely balling out. Is +3300 to win the NBA title a better play than +1000 in the East? Absolutely. But there is still no reason to put such a bet down on the Pacers.

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