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Record: 118-114-3 | Units: -4.85

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Indiana Pacers at Milwaukee Bucks (-1.5, 227.5)

There are many bettors who will point to Damian Lillard’s performance over the weekend as unsustainable, and that is a perfectly fine point. Lillard dropped 35 points on 11-of-19 shooting in the first half of Game 1. He finished with no points on 0-of-5 shooting from the floor in the second half. The regression hit hard and allowed Indiana to as little as 12 points in the second half, but ultimately Milwaukee would win by 15 points.

Expecting regression is fine, but I would argue that regression already manifested itself in the second half. I would also argue that the Bucks deserve more respect at home, especially with recent evidence of home teams having success.

As far as matchups are concerned, we saw some of the weaknesses of Indiana play out on the floor over the weekend. The Pacers were 22nd in non-garbage time defensive efficiency after acquiring Pascal Siakam, and in non-garbage time of Game 1 they allowed 1.065 points per play in halfcourt settings. It was a reason why Lillard ate the way he did.

Indiana also quietly slowed down and got less efficient in transition off live rebounds when they acquired Siakam. Off live rebounds in Game 1, they averaged just 0.813 points per play. Some might write that off as a one-off, but it ignores the fact that the Bucks allowed 5.1 points fewer per 100 plays in transition off live rebounds under Doc Rivers. That is something that could sustain over the course of this series.

Ultimately, the number is what this play comes down to. On VSiN Primetime I made the case for using four points for homecourt advantage instead of just three points. At the very least, Milwaukee is the same team on a neutral as Indiana as. However, this line would tell bettors that the market views the Pacers as the better team by about three points. That is just not true. Regression or not, the Bucks deserve more credit from the betting market.

Best Bet: Bucks (PK)

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Bucks (PK)