Indiana Pacers vs. Toronto Raptors Preview and Pick

Indiana Pacers +3.5 (7-12) at Toronto Raptors -3.5 (8-12) O/U 210 7 PM ET Wednesday December 10, 2008
By Jason Green at

Tonight the Indiana Pacers travel north of the border to play the Toronto Raptors.

Both of these teams are under .500 and in last place in their respective divisions. The Raptors are in last place in the Atlantic Division 11 games back of the Celtics and the Pacers are in last place in the Central Division 10.5 games back of the Cavaliers. Both of these teams are in a freefall, as the Raptors have lost 5 in a row and the Pacers have lost 3 in a row. While it is no huge shock that the Pacers are playing poorly it is a surprise that the Raptors are, as they were supposed to be a force to deal in the East when they brought in Jermaine O’Neal.

This season the Raptors are 4-5 at home and the Pacers are 2-8 on the road.

Most sportsbooks have the Raptors as 3.5 point favorites with a total around 210. The Raptors are posted at -220 as home favorites and the Pacers are posted at +180 as away dogs.

The Raptors come into this game after getting schooled by King James and the Cavaliers losing 114-94 last night. The high scorer in that game was Joey Graham, who?, going for 17 points on 6/10 shooting. Only one player in the Raptors starting 5, Jose Calderon, scored in double figures. For the game the Raptors shot 32/71 from the field for a FG% of 45.1%. On defense the Raptors allowed the Cavs to shoot 43/87 from the field for a FG% of 49.4%.

The Pacers come into this game after losing to the Celtics 122-117 in OT on Sunday night. In that game the high scorer for the Pacers was Marquis Daniels going for 26 points on 11/16 shooting. For the game the Pacers shot light out going 42/83 from the floor for a FG% of 50.6%. On defense the Pacers allowed the Celtics to shoot 42/84 from the field for a FG% of 50%.

The Pacers rank 11th in the league in scoring (100.1 ppg) and the Raptors rank 20th (97 ppg). On defense neither team is playing well, to say the least, as the Pacers rank 23rd (102.3 ppg) and the Raptors rank 26th (102.7 ppg). Not surprising that both teams have losing records since they both are giving up more points than they are scoring. Toronto is allowing opponents to shoot over 47% from the floor. The Raptors are getting killed on the glass, as they have a rebounding differential of -5, while the Pacers are even.

This season people betting on the Raptors have been left out in the cold, as they are 7-12 ATS, while the Pacers are 10-9-1. In terms of Over/Under games the Pacers are 13-10 and the Raptors are 12-8.

On the injury front SF Kris Humphries is day-to-day for the Raptors while the Pacers are not reporting any significant injuries.

Something’s gotta give in tonight’s game between these two, as one will snap their losing streak and get back into the win column.

These teams made a huge 6-player swap in the off-season and it has not really paid dividends for either. The big players in the trade were T.J. Ford and Jermaine O’Neal. While Ford (14.3 ppg 5.3 apg and 4.6 rpg) has played well, O’Neal’s numbers (12.6 ppg 7.6 rpg) are far below his averages, where he, when healthy, puts up 20 and 10 per game. You can’t say that the trade is a bust for either team, as they are both in last place in their divisions.

The Raptors have been playing a killer schedule lately, so that can be an excuse, but there is no excuse for the Pacers who have lost 9 of their last 12 games.

The Pacers will have a hard time containing Chris Bosh and O’Neal if he comes to play. The Pacers are not a good interior defense team and Bosh and O’Neal should take advantage of that tonight.

For the Raptors to win they have to play good perimeter defense on the many long-range gunners of the Pacers. Conversely, for the Pacers to win they will have to hit the outside J tonight.

Danny Granger (23.1 ppg) has to have a big game for the Pacers to pull off an upset tonight.

Tonight is a perfect time for the Raptors to get back on track, as in their next few games they only play a couple of teams that have a winning record.

Jason’s Pick: Play the Pacers plus the points.