Pacers Will Fight For Position When NBA Returns In July

Posted on June 9, 2020

The NBA has finally nailed down its plan for returning to action.

With sports back up and running, Indiana online sportsbooks will have to get ready for the return of basketball betting.

The NBA Board of Governors approved a new plan to continue the season last week. The vote was nearly unanimous, with the Portland Trail Blazers as the only team voting against the league’s proposal.

That new plan will have the basketball calendar resume on July 31, with the season ending on Oct. 12 at the latest.

Twenty-two teams will take part in the new regular-season finale.

To help alleviate some concerns about COVID-19, all the teams and media personnel will be isolating at Walt Disney World in Florida. Disney’s property is basically a miniature city. The hotels that typically accommodate park guests can easily house NBA players and their families.

On top of that, Disney World was a natural choice for the NBA since the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is on the property. That facility already has all of the basketball courts and media-friendly facilities that the league needs.

How does NBA’s plan affect the Pacers?

The good news: The Indiana Pacers will be in the NBA playoffs this year. The potentially bad news: Their playoff position could change significantly.

Right now, the Pacers are the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference with a 39-26 record. The top eight seeds from both conferences made the playoffs.

Under the league’s new plan, the Pacers will play eight regular-season games to finalize the playoff seeding. Realistically, the team could land anywhere from the third to seventh seed.

That’s a pretty wide range of possibilities. Essentially, Indiana needs to win games while teams like the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers need to lose them.

If the Pacers want the home-court advantage in the playoffs, they’ll have to finish the regular season fourth seed or higher.

Betting on Indiana’s title chances

The NBA betting odds will continue to shift until the playoff matchups are set.

At least for now, FanDuel Sportsbook has the team’s title odds at +10,000. That gives the Pacers the 12th-best odds in the NBA.

The Pacers could elbow their way up the odds list with a strong finish in the regular season.

The title odds for Eastern Conference teams vary wildly between the different playoff seeds.

Here’s how FanDuel has each team’s title odds looking, in order of the current conference standings:

  1. Milwaukee Bucks: +240
  2. Toronto Raptors: +2,400
  3. Boston Celtics: +2,000
  4. Miami Heat: +2,700
  5. Indiana Pacers: +10,000
  6. Philadelphia 76ers: +2,700
  7. Brooklyn Nets: +20,000
  8. Orlando Magic: +25,000

In terms of playoff position, the Pacers are in between the Heat and the 76ers.

Why are their title odds so drastically different? Injuries.

When COVID-19 pressed pause on the season in March, Indiana’s roster was riddled with injuries. In particular, Malcolm Brogdon and Victor Oladipo were missing a lot of games.

Those odds haven’t updated since the season stopped. With so many months off to heal, the roster will hopefully be back to full strength when the NBA returns in late July.

If the Pacers announce that Brogdon and Oladipo are healthy, those +10,000 odds will likely shift closer to the +2,700 mark. That would give them the same odds as the Heat and the 76ers. All three teams have nearly identical records.

If you’re feeling good about Indiana’s title chances, now is probably the best time to get in on the action. More Pacers-specific bets will become available once the NBA announces what the schedule will look like for those final eight regular-season games.

Bet on which teams will make the NBA playoffs

The unique type of betting for the rest of the NBA season revolves around exactly which teams will slide into the postseason.

In a typical year, the teams with the eight best records make the playoffs in each conference. This season is mixing things up.

A play-in tournament between the eighth and ninth seeds will decide who gets that last playoff spot. Those tournaments will happen as long as the ninth-seeded team’s record is within four games of the eighth-seeded team’s.

That makes things much more interesting for bettors. Instead of a meaningless regular-season game to decide the final playoff spots, there’s an exciting winner-takes-all tournament.

You can bet on which teams you think will make the playoffs at DraftKing Sportsbook. Here are the odds that the sportsbook has up for each of the bubble teams:

TeamTo Make PlayoffsTo Miss Playoffs
Brooklyn Nets
Memphis Grizzlies -150+112
New Orleans Pelicans+400-670
Orlando Magic-10,000+1,200
Phoenix Suns+6,000N/A
Portland Trail Blazers+450-835
Sacramento Kings+1,100-10,000
San Antonio Spurs+1,300-10,000
Washington Wizards+900-3,335

Specific betting options for the play-in tournament will become available once the matchups are set in stone.

If the season ended tomorrow, the Grizzlies would be facing the Trail Blazers in a play-in tournament for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Right now, the Grizzlies are the eighth seed and the Trail Blazers are the ninth.

There wouldn’t be a tournament in the Eastern Conference since the ninth-seeded Wizards are currently six games behind the eighth-seeded Magic. That ninth team has to be within four games for the tournament to happen.

Regardless of how the playoffs shake out, bettors will be thrilled to have sports back. Between the NBA and the NHL, gamblers and sports fans alike have plenty to look forward to this summer.

Jake Garza Avatar
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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for PlayIndiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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