Oladipo injury impacts Pacers future bets

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Risk is inherent to gambling of all types, be it casino games in which the odds are immutably against the player (save for successful blackjack counters up until the time they are discovered and likely asked to leave), horse racing or sports betting.

Sometimes, as in casino games, the risks are known, dictated by the house advantage. In sports betting the risk is the 10 percent vigorish one must risk when making straight bets at 11-10 odds.

But in wagering on sports, the mathematical risk can be offset or overcome by the reduction of risk due to selectivity in looking to play events in which the bettor perceives to have an edge that suggests laying 11 to win 10 results in a perceived advantage based upon factors used in deciding to make the bet.

When it comes to making futures wagers, such as betting on a team to win the Super Bowl or NBA championship, there are unknown risks that, when they materialize, often turn what seemed to be a perceived advantage into a known disadvantage. The same is true of wagering on Season Win Totals in various sports.

As you may have guessed, the risk to which I refer to is the risk of injury, especially one that is prolonged or perhaps even season ending that occurs to one of the team’s best players, if not its best player.

Such is the fate that has befallen myself and others who made wagers on the Indiana Pacers to either exceed their Season Wins Total of 48 or to win a Division, Conference or NBA title.

A key cog in the season-to-date success of the Pacers, Victor Oladipo suffered an injured quad last Wednesday in a win over Toronto. The injury is expected to sideline the guard for the balance of the current season and possibly into the early part of next season.

Averaging 18.8 points per game, 5.2 assists per game and 5.6 rebounds per game his absence will be felt on team with a talented but otherwise nondescript roster.

While the injury may have occurred deep enough into the season for the Pacers to eclipse their Season Wins Total, they did lose their first two full games without Oladipo, including Monday night’s 132-100 home loss to Golden State. At 32-17 following that loss the Pacers have 33 games remaining and need to go 17-16 or better to cash the “over” ticket for their backers.

Making the playoffs is another story. The Pacers currently are seeded third in the East and have what would normally be considered a very comfortable 10.5-game lead over the team that is the currently just outside the Eastern Conference playoffs, ninth-seeded Detroit (21-27).

Should the Pacers achieve that 17-16 record, they are likely to still make the playoffs as probably a six, seven or eight seed. But if they do make the playoffs, their chances of winning even one round have fallen dramatically.

Their odds to win the Eastern Conference are currently 80-1 with their odds to win the NBA title are 300-1. Last week, prior to Oladipo’s injury, the odds were a much more modest 25-1 and 80-1 respectively.

Key injuries in basketball have more significance and impact than in any of the other sport with perhaps the exception of a quarterback injury in football. The reasoning is obvious as a basketball played represents one fifth, or 20 percent, of the players on the court at any one time; and even in team sports, a player’s individual contributions will account for a significant portion of a team’s productivity.

Therein lies the ever-present tradeoff. Do I make a play very early at attractive odds and assume the risks of unforseen negative developments? Or do I wait for greater “certainty” as the season wears on and winds down in exchange for less attractive odds?

Here are thoughts on three games to be played this weekend.

Rockets at Nuggets (Friday): Denver has been at or near the top of the Western Conference standings since the start of the season and currently are seeded second, just a game and a half behind Golden State. Houston has overcome its slow start and starts play Tuesday nine games above .500. And the Rockets are getting healthier as Chris Paul has returned to the lineup after missing more than Of course the headlines have belonged to James Harden,who single-handedly has kept the Rockets afloat with his scoring feats of historic proportions having scored at least 30 points in 23 straight games, second only to Wilt Chamberlain (who had three streaks of at least that length).

Despite Denver’s better success to date, the Rockets have won both prior meetings this season, winning both by double digits both on the road in mid-November and at home in early January, setting up a double revenge spot for the hosts who are also playing well, having won seven of its last 10 games through Monday. ­NUGGETS

76ers at Kings (Saturday): Although rarely making headlines and highlights, Sacramento is enjoying what has to be considered a very successful season thus far. With a Season Wins Total of 26, the Kings were 25-25 through Monday but still 2 1/2 games out of the eighth playoff spot in the West behind the Clippers.

Philadelphia has started to play with greater consistency over the past month and at 32-18 sits fourth in the East and just four games out of the top spot. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are playing to the level their potential suggested when they were drafted third and first respectively in 2014 and 2016. Though both teams are generally thought of as being stronger at the offensive end of the court.  Sacramento had played 11 straight games under through Monday. Six of the games have stayed below the total by at least 14 points. The Sixers are playing the final game of a four-game West Coast road swing and is also their fourth game in eight days. UNDER

Thunder at Celtics (Sunday): This is the most attractive of the three Sunday games that lead into the Super Bowl. Both teams have had choppy and streaky seasons to date yet each starts the week playing well and have nearly identical records.

Through Monday, OKC had won five straight (4-1 ATS) that include wins at Philadelphia and at home against Portland and Milwaukee. The Celtics had won six of seven (though just 3-4 ATS).

Their first meeting was in late October as the season was just unfolding. Boston won at OKC 101-95 in a game that closed at Pick ‘em. OKC is ending a brief three-game road trip that had them playing at the two Florida teams earlier in the week.

Russell Westbrook and Paul George form as solid a frontcourt/backcourt duo as any in the league. Kyrie Irving is having a solid season for the Celtics but he has not gotten the kind of support expected from Gordon Hayward, who missed all of last season due to injury. Irving has also been the subject of trade rumors as the deadline approaches next week. THUNDER

Last week: 1-2

Season: 24-20

About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

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