Sacramento Kings vs. Indiana Pacers – NBA, May 5, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| May 5, 2021 5:23 am PDT

The King’s travel to Indiana tonight to take on the Pacers at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Time is running out for Sacramento, and if they want to qualify for the playoffs, they need to keep their run going. The Pacers know a few more wins will guarantee them a pre-playoff berth, but perhaps more importantly, they will want to finish ahead of the Wizards and claim the ninth spot. By finishing eighth or ninth, they are likely to face the Hornets in the first round of the playoffs, but if they drop down to tenth, they will take on the Celtics, and they won’t fancy their chances of toppling them.

This is a fixture that usually favors the home team as they have won five of the previous six meetings between them, which is good news for the Pacers. The last time they met back in January was in Sacramento, and the Kings won a high-scoring, entertaining game. The Kings seemed like they couldn’t miss that night as they scored at 56% from the field goal range and 46% from deep. They will need more of the same tonight as they have failed to win any of their past five matches played in Indiana.

Here is my Kings vs. Pacers betting preview.

Kings vs. Pacers Odds

Kings +6.5-110
Pacers -6.5-110
Kings To Win+235
Pacers To Win-225
Over 239.5 Points-110
Under 239.5 Points-110

Although the Kings have a poor record in Indiana recently, the spread seems a couple of points bigger than I thought it would be, as there doesn’t appear to be a great deal between these teams at present. The points total looks enormous, and although they played out 249-point thriller last time out, I can’t see them getting anywhere near that again tonight. Over the previous ten meetings between them, they are only averaging a combined score of 213-points. Granted, their offenses are scoring much better this year, but they are still only combining for an average score of 228.

The Pacers have a dreadful record against the spread when playing at home, as they have only won eight of their 30 matches. Although, the Kings don’t inspire much faith either when you see that they have lost two-thirds of their games on the road to Eastern Conference opponents.

A Look at the Kings

The Kings are enjoying their best spell of form for a couple of months as they have won four of their previous five games, including the last three straight. Their only defeat during that period was against the Jazz, who are top of the Western Conference, so they can be forgiven for that loss. However, what they can’t be forgiven for is allowing them to score 154-points and going down by 49-points!

The Kings have been slightly below par on the road this season, having won 14 and lost 19 of their 33 road trips. However, exactly like their overall record, they have won four of their previous five, including the last three in a row.

Here are the latest betting trends for Sacramento:

Against The Spread

  • They have won four of their last six matches.
  • The Kings have lost 14 of their previous 20 games against teams from the east coast.
  • Sacramento is 5-11 in their last 16 matches against teams based in the Central Division.

This pretty much confirms what we already know in that the Kings have struggled throughout the season but are playing well at present.

Points Total

  • Five of their last six games have gone under the betting total.
  • All of their previous five road trips have seen the points total go under.

These trends back up our case for backing under the betting total tonight.

Other Pointers

  • They have lost six of their last eight matches against Indiana.

This highlights Indiana’s dominance of this fixture recently.

The Kings have a good offense that is driven by some accurate shooting. If you give them a hint of a chance in and around the paint, they will likely punish you. They also have Buddy Hield in their ranks, who can hurt you from deep. He was in sensational form against the Thunder last time out, and he will be hoping to carry that into tonight’s matchup.

However, their defense is the worst in the league this season, and I have to use the word defense very loosely when I refer to the Kings, as at times it’s like they don’t have one. They are conceding on average 118-points per game as they give up far too many easy baskets each night.

Plus, they aren’t even rebounding well in defense either. In fact, they have the worst numbers in the NBA this season. This highlights they have a total lack of disregard for defending.

Their defense has been marginally better on the road, conceding a couple of points less per game, but it’s still inadequate.

The Kings are nursing a fair number of injuries at present, and they will miss both Fox and Haliburton tonight. They also have Barnes, Metu, and Woodard listed as questionable to feature.

Assessing the Pacers

The Pacers appear to be doing their best to throw away their hopes of post-season basketball as they have now lost three of their last four games. What’s more damaging is that their last defeat came against the team chasing them for ninth place, the Washington Wizards. Their only win during those games came against the Thunder on a night where everything the Pacers touched turned to gold as they racked up 152-points on their way to a 57-point win! Domantas Sabonis posted a first-half triple-double on the way to the Pacers, making history by posting the biggest margin victory on the road ever.

They have been dreadful at home, winning only 11 of their 30 games in Indiana this season. The Pacers have alternated back-to-back defeats with back-to-back wins over the last six games, and they will be hoping that continues tonight.

Here are the latest betting trends for Indiana:

Against The Spread

  • Indiana is 3-6 in their previous nine matches.
  • They have only won two of their last 17 home games.
  • The Pacers have lost four of their previous five matches against teams in the Pacific Division.

These stats don’t bode well for the Pacers and suggest taking them on with the handicap.

Points Total

  • All of their most recent five games have seen the points total go over.
  • Eight of their previous ten matches against Western Conference opposition have gone over the betting total.

All signs point to a high-scoring, entertaining game.

Other Pointers

  • The Pacers have lost six of their previous eight matches in May.

This stat is self-explanatory.

The Pacers have an excellent offense that is averaging 114-points per game this season. However, this drops to 111-points when you focus on their home games. This is a worry especially seen as the Kings are conceding a couple of points fewer on the road.

However, what is usually a concern might not be so tonight. Their offensive rebounding has been terrible this season, but given how bad the Kings are rebounding in defense, they will fancy their chances of winning this battle tonight.

The Pacers have certainly lived up to their name this season as the pace they move the ball around the court this season has been incredible, and this has led to a high number of assists.

Like their opponents tonight, their defense is appalling, and they are conceding on average 115-points per game.

However, one aspect of their defensive game which is working is the high number of steals they are making each night. Given how bad they are rebounding, this has been key for most games. T. J. McConnell has led the way in this department as he sits second in the standings for average steals made let game.

Incredibly, another part of their defensive game which is working is their blocking, where they have the highest average in the league this season.

The Pacers have an even longer list of absentees than the Kings, and they will be without Sampson, Warren, and Turner. There are also question marks over Lamb, Brogdon, Sumner, and Bitadze.

Kings vs. Pacers Betting Pick

Pick
  • Kings +5.5
    -110

When I looked at this game, I was convinced I would be backing under the points total. While I still believe that will be the case, it is hard to ignore the high-scoring games the Pacers have been involved in recently. Plus, they both suck at defending this season.

I will follow the form lines and take the team playing the better basketball right now, and that is the Kings. They have three wins over the Mavericks recently, and they have also beaten the Lakers, which is good going by anyone’s standards. The Pacers also have an awful record at home, especially against the spread.

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