NBA Postseason Best Bets (5/17)


Welcome to Hoops with Noops! For the second night in a row, we get to focus all our attention on one game. I know, more basketball would be more better, but this is an elimination game and should be enjoyed without distraction.

Thursday night we saw the home team win the first quarter by 17 points and go on to extend that lead in every quarter. Road teams leading the series in Game 6 sometimes play less than their best because they know they’ll have a chance to win at home in Game 7. Will that be the case here for a Knicks team that loves playing in front of their fans at Madison Square Garden? Or will the Pacers struggle under the pressure and end their season at home?

There’s a lot to unpack, so let’s go through the series so far, review past closing lines, and try to find some value in the betting markets. Of course, since it’s Friday you can watch a video version of Hoops with Noops on the FTN Network YouTube channel. If you have any questions about something I missed or bets of your own, leave them in the comments section of that video and I’ll reply there.

NBA Best Bets for Friday

New York Knicks at Indiana Pacers

Current Line – Pacers -5.5, 215.5
My Projection – Pacers 111, Knicks 107
Key Injuries – OG Anunoby and Mithcell Robinson are out.

The home teams have held serve so far in this series. Teams playing at home are shooting 52.2% from the field and road teams are shooting 45.6% from the field through the first five games. The Knicks have scored 567 points and the Pacers have scored 561 points which puts them just six points apart, about one point per game, for the series. When margins are that close, things like shooting a little better in the comfortable confines of your home gym are often the difference. We saw New York come back to life playing at home in Game 5, winning by 30 points after losing Games 3 and 4 by 37 points combined in Indiana. The Knicks are now using a seven-man rotation that forces at least four guys to play 40-plus minutes every night. It’s been rough on the roster, but they summoned renewed strength at home in Madison Square Garden. Now the Pacers need a revival of their own tonight at home to win and force a Game 7.

Game 5 closed with the Knicks as 1.5-point favorites and the total set at 218. Friday’s spread is a seven point adjustment which puts us basically right back to the closing spread for Game 4, the last game played in Indiana. That move makes sense to me although I do show a little value on New York. I make this spread four which is 1.5 points lower. That’s not a big enough edge to bet even before considering the Knicks know they can win this series at home in the next game if tonight doesn’t start well for them. I don’t see any value in the spread at this point. Depending on how the game starts, the Knicks could be worth a bet to win the game live at halftime. If I do make that bet, I’ll be sure to post it in the FTN Bets Discord, but I’m not betting the spread for now.

I do, however, see value in the total. It’s been bumped down to the range of 215 after closing between 217 and 220 in the first five games. The pace has been a little erratic but never slow and that holds even truer in the first half of the games. The pace over the first two quarters has been just over 96 versus just 92 in the second half of games. That’s a meaningful difference and even more so when you consider two games have been blowouts late, which are likely inflating the second-half pace number. Playoff games can and often do get slow and ugly, but that often happens later in games when the margin is close. This game could be tight down the stretch, so instead of playing the full game over I’m going to look at the first half and play the over there. The pace should be high for those two quarters, and we don’t have to worry about teams grinding down the clock late.


New York Knicks/Indiana Pacers First Half Over 110.5 (-110, DraftKings Sportsbook)

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