Bucks vs. Pacers prediction and odds for Friday, January 27 (T. J. McConnell’s positive impact generates betting value)

TJ McConnell - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
TJ McConnell - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s been a very long eight games for the Indiana Pacers without Tyrese Haliburton. The last game he played in was a 119-113 loss to the Knicks on January 11, which dropped them to 23-19, four games over .500. Now, the Pacers are 24-26 after losing to Orlando on Wednesday. Bennedict Mathurin did what he could with 26 points off the bench, but it wasn’t enough to take down the Magic. Now, it’ll be an even tougher test with the 31-17 Milwaukee Bucks in town.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is probable for tonight’s game, but he made his return from injury on Monday and the Bucks are 2-0 with their superstar back in the lineup. Will they make it three tonight in Indiana? Let’s take a look at the odds and I’ll tell you how I’m betting this eastern conference matchup.

Bucks vs. Pacers odds, spread and total

Bucks vs. Pacers prediction and pick

All that matters when looking at the Pacers right now, is how they’re performing without Haliburton. So, filtering to the last eight games, we can find that Indiana is the No. 27 offense in the NBA for that stretch, much better than No. 30 which they were without Haliburton coming into the week. The sample over the past two games might be even more important though, because Andrew Nembhard has missed both, and that sounds like bad news, but the Pacers have been much better without him. Nembhard is a promising rookie and may be a starting guard for a long time, but right now, TJ McConnell is the better option.

The Pacers offensive rating since Haliburton’s injury is 109.3, so that’s over their last eight games, but their last two with McConnell in the starting lineup, it’s 119.8. The Pacers aren’t stopping anybody and with Myles Turner questionable, they don’t stand a chance against Giannis in the paint, but that doesn’t matter because Indiana’s offense is much improved.

We’re taking the over.

Follow all Josh Yourish’s bets HERE

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change