Indiana have been one of the standard-bearers for tough defence in the NBA this season, giving up just 89.9 points per game. Denver, meanwhile, have continued to be a team the neutrals want to watch, scoring the fourth-most points at 103.6 per night.
But the teams clash in Colorado on Monday night in the midst of a role reversal which has seen the Pacers give up 100 points or more in back-to-back losses and the Nuggets hold their last two opponents to under 96 in consecutive wins.
That’s more of a headache for Indiana coach Frank Vogel, whose team has only given up 100 eight times all season but is a miserly 1-7 in that scenario. There’s still optimism that the Pacers could reach the Eastern Conference Finals once they get the extra lift from Danny Grainger’s belated return but they’ll need their big guns to slow down Denver inside - something they failed to do when the Nuggets beat them 92-89 last month.
Denver are -5.5 on the handicap here and while they should prevail, this could be a tight game. Go for below 195 points, available at 1.91.
Orlando are a mammoth 5.45 to win in regulation in Brooklyn tonight and no wonder, after three previous losses to the Nets this season. But the hosts’ interior defence has been a problem in successive losses and they’ve had little success in blowing away opponents completely. The Magic are poor but they rarely lose heavily so don’t write them off on a huge +9.5 handicap at 1.91.
Looking generally at the Eastern Conference, Brooklyn are 12.5 but they don’t look capable of making a run at the title. Indiana at 23.00 is a better long shot but with Miami a prohibitive 1.50 favourite, the best bet is still on Chicago at 8.50.
Bet of the day: Take Orlando on the handicap over Brooklyn.