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The NBA In-Season Tournament Eastern Conference semifinal is set, with the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks taking on the surprising Indiana Pacers in Las Vegas.
Thursday’s tipoff from T-Mobile Arena is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Also, be sure to check out our dedicated NBA betting sites page.
NBA In-Season Tournament East semifinal: Bucks vs. Pacers odds preview
Milwaukee (15-6) is a consensus 4.5-point favorite (-190 moneyline) in the game which features a whopping total of 254.5 points. Indiana (11-8) is the consensus +159 moneyline underdog.
The Bucks head to Vegas on a roll, having won 10 of their last 12, including a 5-0 mark in IST play with an average victory margin of 14 points.
Led by mega-talented big man Giannis Antetokounmpo (30.2 points, 10.7 rebounds per game) and guard Damian Lillard (26.6 points, 6.9 assists), the Bucks rank second in the league in field goal percentage (50.0) and third in both scoring (122.3 points) and offensive rating (119.2).
The Pacers are tops in all three of those categories, shooting a league-best 50.9 percent from the field while averaging 128.4 points with a 123.6 offensive rating.
No fewer than eight players boast double-digit scoring averages for Indiana, led by rapidly emerging star point guard Tyrese Haliburton (26.9 points, league-high 11.9 assists), and center Myles Turner (16.6 points, 7.9 rebounds).
The Bucks have the defensive advantage, with the Pacers owning the NBA’s third-worst defensive rating (120.2) while giving up a league-high 125.2 points per outing on 50.2 percent shooting.
Indiana outdueled visiting Milwaukee 126-124 on Nov. 10 in their only other meeting so far this season. Haliburton had 29 points and 10 assists, while Antetokounmpo had 54 points and 12 rebounds for the Bucks.
The winner of this game will face the survivor of Thursday night’s West semifinal between the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans in Saturday’s championship (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC) at T-Mobile Arena with the inaugural NBA Cup on the line.
NBA In-Season Tournament East semifinal best bet: Game total over 254.5 points (-110 or better)
The Bucks (9-11-1) and Pacers (11-8) have been mediocre against the point spread this season.
But they have both soared over their posted game totals with regularity. Indiana is a league-best 16-3 to the over (clearing their totals by a top-ranked average of 15.4 points), while Milwaukee is 14-7 to the over so far with a 7.6-point average over margin.
Plus, it’s certainly more fun to root for a high-scoring, points-aplenty game than against — especially with these offensive powerhouses going head-to-head on a national stage.
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