The Indiana Pacers (14-23) will visit the New York Knicks (17-20) on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, with tipoff set for 7:30 p.m. ET. This is the fourth meeting between the sides, with the home team winning each previous game. That means the Pacers have won twice, with the most recent game finishing in a 122-102 victory for Indiana back on December 8th.
However, the Pacers have found themselves in a bad spot recently, missing eight players to COVID-19 protocols and riding a four-game losing streak. The Knicks have lost their last two, coming off a 120-105 loss to the Raptors most recently.
The Knicks are favored by 2 points at home, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. They’re priced at -120 on the moneyline with the Pacers at +100, and the point total is set at 207.
As mentioned, Indiana is missing a slew of players due to COVID-19 protocols: Goga Bitadze, Caris LeVert, TJ Warren, Kelan Martin, Malcolm Brogdon, Chris Duarte, Isaiah Jackson, and Jeremy Lamb. TJ McConnell (wrist) is also set to be out long-term after undergoing surgery in December.
New York isn’t hit quite as hard, just missing Julius Randle, Wayne Selden, and Nerlens Noel to protocols. They’re also without Derrick Rose (ankle) and Kemba Walker (knee) for this contest.
Pick ATS: Pacers +2 (-110)
Regardless of the Pacers missing so many players due to protocols, the fact that the Knicks will most likely be without Julius Randle is a huge bonus for the visitors. Randle entered protocols on December 30th and still has a chance to clear ahead of tonight’s game, but assuming that he’s not on the floor, the Pacers get an advantage on both sides of the court. Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner will lead the way for Indiana as the Pacers will look to move the ball through Sabonis to the inside. He just put up 32 points and 13 rebounds against the Cavs on Sunday, and logged a double-double in every game in December except for two.
The Knicks will have to rely on others offensively with both Derrick Rose and Kemba Walker out, which makes things even more difficult for them if they’re still missing Randle. I think the Pacers squeak out a win and cover the spread here, even though they’ve lost their last four in a row.
Update — Julius Randle cleared health and safety protocols on Tuesday morning, and is listed as questionable for tonight’s game. If he does see the court tonight, our pick would change to the Knicks covering the spread, given that Randle would be a huge boost to the Knicks on both ends of the court with his average of 19.3 points and 10 rebounds per game this season. If Randle doesn’t play tonight, stick with the Pacers.
Over/Under: Under 207 (-110)
This game should be somewhat low-scoring either way as both sides are missing some key offensive players. Through the last 18 meetings between these teams, the total has finished under 12 times. The Pacers have also hit under in three of their last four, while the Knicks have done it four of their last five games. Expect this to be a slower-paced game which will lead to a lower score, making the under the safer bet.
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