Pacers vs. Bucks NBA expert prediction and odds for Game 1 of Eastern Conference Playoffs

Betting odds, pick and prediction for the Indiana Pacers-Milwaukee Bucks playoff matchup on Sunday.
Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam.
Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam. / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 6-seeded Indiana Pacers are on the road for Game 1 of the first round in the Eastern Conference playoffs, and they’re looking to take down a banged up Milwaukee Bucks squad.

Giannis Antetokounmpo likely won’t play in this game (he’s listed as doubtful) which has led to the Pacers finding themselves as one-point favorites in this game. 

The Bucks struggled without Giannis – and overall against the spread – this season, but can they pull off a home win?

Indiana dominated this series in the regular season, and oddsmakers clearly like this young team’s chances in this matchup. 

Let’s break down the odds and my best bet for Game 1: 

Pacers vs. Bucks odds, spread and total

Pacers vs. Bucks how to watch

  • Date: Sunday, April 21
  • Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Fiserv Forum
  • How to watch (TV): TNT
  • Pacers record: 47-35
  • Bucks record: 49-33

Pacers vs. Bucks injury reports

Pacers injury report

  • Bennedict Mathurin – out

Bucks injury report

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo – doubtful

Pacers vs. Bucks key players to watch

Indiana Pacers

Pascal Siakam: Siakam has not faced the Bucks as a Pacer yet, but he’s definitely played plenty of postseason games in his career. Don’t be shocked if the Pacers forward leads the way on Sunday. He finished the regular season strong, putting up 28 points on 13-of-18 shooting in a win over Atlanta. 

Milwaukee Bucks

Bobby Portis: This season, Portis is averaging 20.8 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in nine games without Giannis, clearing 17.5 points six times. Two of the games he failed to clear this number were the last two games of the regular season that Milwaukee mailed in with blowout losses. I expect BP to eat against an Indiana team that allows 58.4 points per game in the paint this season – the most in the NBA. 

Pacers vs. Bucks prediction and pick

Milwaukee has struggled this season without Antetokounmpo, going just 4-5 straight up, and I question the team’s ability to slow down this Indiana offense.

Not only did the Pacers win four of the five meetings between these teams in the regular season, but they did it without Pascal Siakam, who adds an extra punch to the team in the playoffs.

Indiana can get exposed in the paint (allowing the most points in the paint per game this season), but does that truly hurt them when the Bucks’ best paint scorer is inactive? 

I don’t think so. 

Milwaukee is facing an uphill battle – even at home – to take Game 1. After watching the Bucks wilt in the playoffs without Giannis in the 2022-23 season, I’ll gladly take the Pacers on Sunday. 

Pick: Pacers Moneyline (-110)

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Find Peter Dewey's NBA betting record here (futures included). You can also follow my daily plays on BetStamp here.