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NBA Central: Pacers Look to End Heat’s Streak


With just over a month left to go in the NBA season, teams are coming down the home stretch and looking to make their final push towards the postseason. Three teams in the Central Division are currently in playoff position, but bettors will get a chance to see all five of the division’s teams in action today, a couple of which will be hooked up in some high-profile match-ups. Here’s a look at each game and the point spreads.

Chicago Bulls +5 at Los Angeles Lakers -5

The Lakers are finally over the .500 hump and are tied with the Utah Jazz for eighth place in the West, while the Bulls have held steady in fifth position in the East.

It should be an interesting match-up, as the Bulls have fared better on the road than at home this season and will bring a defensive-minded team into L.A. against one of the worst defenses in the league.

This game should be very close, especially when considering that the Lakers last two wins against the Hornets and Raptors came in the final minutes, with the Raptors game going into overtime. The Lakers are hot and they may stay that way, but expect this one to come down to the wire. Take Chicago to cover +5 here.

Cleveland Cavaliers +5.5 at Toronto Raptors -5.5

The Cavs and Raptors have both endured seasons they would like to forget, but Cleveland is playing better recently, as winners of five of their last 10 games. Cleveland has also gotten the better of Toronto this season, winning two of the last three match-ups between the squads. Look for the Cavaliers to find continued success and beat the Raptors on the road tonight, covering +5.5.

Indiana Pacers +7 at Miami Heat -7

Then there’s the biggest match-up of the day in the entire NBA, not just the Central Division. The Pacers will look to put a stop to Miami’s incredible 17-game win streak, but they’ll have to do it in South Beach, where the Heat are 28-3 this season.

The Pacers actually match-up fairly well against Miami and they’ve not only held their own against the Heat this year, but they’ve had the upper hand, winning the previous two meetings this season. However, neither of those games were in Miami.

The Pacers have plenty of size and strength and should have no problem winning the war in the paint. However, what they’ll need to worry about is forcing misses and LeBron James and Dwyane Wade haven’t tossed up many of those lately.  There’s almost no way you can bet against a team as hot as Miami, but since the Pacers stack up so well, the game should at least be extremely close. Take Indiana to cover +7, but look for the Heat to keep the streak alive with a narrow victory.

Detroit Pistons +14 at Los Angeles Clippers -14

There’s no question that the Clippers should dominate Detroit at home tonight, but it’s always tough to take any NBA squad favored by such a large spread. The Pistons may not be very good, but they’re more competitive than what the odds makers are assuming in this one. Take Detroit to cover +14 in defeat.

Milwaukee Bucks +1 at Sacramento Kings -1

With the fifth best rebounding team in the league, Milwaukee should be able to dominate the painted area and control the game, even on the road here. Look for the Bucks to seize control early and hang on late, as they also look to give themselves some more cushion in the eighth and final East playoff spot. Take the Bucks to win and cover +1.

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