Indiana Pacers 1.67, Oklahoma City Thunder 2.25
With Miami’s surprise Saturday loss to Atlanta, the Indiana Pacers have an opportunity to wrestle back first place in the Eastern Conference on Sunday. The bad news is they’ll have to get past the Oklahoma City Thunder to achieve it.
The Thunder – currently 5.25 for the NBA championship - will be the second overall seed headed into the playoffs, a fixture which might see Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant handed a rest.
That would give the Pacers a better shot to break out of their slide and they badly need a boost with only three wins from their last ten. While fingers have been pointed at Paul George, it’s the plummeting form of Roy Hibbert, which has arguably proven most damaging.
With the All Star averaging a mere 9.0 points and 3.2 rebounds over that spell, both well down on his marks over the first half of the campaign, Indiana has given up over 100 points in four of their last five – a big factor in their drift out to 7.00 for the title.
They’ve also lost five of their last six meetings with the Thunder and, even if OKC shuffle their pack, take them on the handicap at -3.5.
New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls
The clock is audibly ticking on Mike Woodson’s tenure as head coach of the New York Knicks after they were officially knocked out of playoff contention on Saturday.
It seems a certainty that he will lose his job swiftly following the end of the regular season this week, an unfortunate consequence of the mess that the Knicks have become and the new broom about to be swept by Phil Jackson.
With nothing to play for over their final three games, New York look like being the kind of team to throw in the towel, which should spell easy pickings for the Chicago Bulls when they come to Madison Square Garden.
The Bulls are aiming to stay ahead of Toronto for the third best record in the East and with seven straight wins, boosted by a surge in their offensive production, it could get ugly for the Knicks with Chicago worth a punt on the match handicap of -5.5.
Best bet: Go under 191.5 total points in Indiana vs Oklahoma City at 1.95