NBA Playoffs Odds Preview: Will Pacers Be Working For The Weekend?

Written By Russ Mitchell on May 20, 2021
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It’s one down, one to go for the Indiana Pacers as they try to clinch their spot in the NBA Playoffs.

The Pacers were ever-so-slight favorites Tuesday to get past Charlotte and stay alive as the NBA begins playoffs. They had no trouble dispatching the Hornets in a 144-117 win.

Also on Tuesday, Boston coasted past Washington 118-100 to lock in the East’s No. 7 seed. With the loss, Washington now hosts Indiana for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

TNT has the 7 p.m. game Thursday.

Jason Sylva, the product analyst at Betfred Sportsbook, helped PlayIA track the NBA odds for the play-in games. Sylva correctly anticipated a Pacers win Tuesday night, but he isn’t as optimistic about Thursday’s prospects.

Most sportsbooks in Iowa think the Wizards are 3.5 to 4-point favorites, as of Wednesday afternoon:

“Washington’s home-court advantage would have some to do with that. So yeah, I don’t favor the Pacers very much, especially without Myles Turner who’s out. I don’t see it happening.”

Turner averaged about 12 ppg before an injury destabilized his big toe and shut down his season in mid-April. The Pacers have missed his contributions on the other end of the court more. He led the league in blocks and was a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

Indiana also has to do without shooting guard Caris LeVert. He’ll miss the play-in game due to health and safety protocols. The Wizards feature the potent backcourt of Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal.

Pacers at Wizards odds


NBA Playoffs pairings

Out West the Memphis at Golden State game Friday will decide the eighth seed. The rest of the NBA Playoff pairings are locked in and the full playoffs begin Saturday:


  • No. 6 Miami Heat at No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks (Game 1 at 1 p.m. Saturday on ESPN)
  • No. 7 Boston Celtics at No. 2 Brooklyn Nets (Game 1 at 7 p.m. Saturday on ABC)
  • No. 8 Indiana Pacers-Washington Wizards winner at No. 1 Philadelphia 76ers (Game 1 at noon Sunday on TNT)
  • No. 5 Atlanta Hawks at No. 4 New York Knicks (Game 1 at 6 p.m. Sunday on TNT)


  • No. 5 Dallas Mavericks at No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers (Game 1 at 3:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN)
  • No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers at No. 3 Denver Nuggets (Game 1 at 9:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN)
  • No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers at No. 2 Phoenix Suns (Game 1 at 2:30 p.m. Sunday)
  • No. 8 Memphis GrizzliesGolden State Warriors winner at No. 1 Utah Jazz (Game 1 at 8:30 p.m. Sunday on TNT)

Heat at Bucks Saturday

The ESPN/ABC networks gave Milwaukee a Saturday matinee on ESPN. They host the Heat at 1 p.m. Sylva said:

“This is a team that should roll past the Heat they got something of a statement to make this year and I really like the Bucks in this series.”

Betfred odds set Miami’s moneyline at +165. The Bucks are -220. For the best-of-seven series, Milwaukee is -300 and the Heat are +240.

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Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

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