The Indiana Pacers take on the Washington Wizards in the final game in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament. With a playoff berth on the line, it’s time to continue our NBA Play-In Tournament odds series and make a Pacers-Wizards prediction and pick.

The Pacers finished the regular season with a record of 34-38 overall and 32-40 against the spread. Indiana blew out the Charlotte Hornets to advance to this play-in game.

The Wizards’ regular season record was 34-38, and they went 41-30-1 against the spread. Washington is coming off a loss to the Boston Celtics to put their backs against the wall in this elimination game.

Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Pacers-Wizards odds.

NBA Play-In Tournament: Pacers vs. Wizards Odds

Pacers Wizards Prediction, Pacers Wizards pick, Pacers Wizards Odds, NBA Play-In Tournament Odds, NBA play-in Odds

Indiana Pacers +3.5 (-112)

Washington Wizards -3.5 (-108)

Over 237.5 Points (-110)

Under 237.5 Points (-110)

Why The Pacers Could Cover The Spread

While Pacers fans probably wish this game could be played in Indiana, it actually might be better for the team that they’ll be playing in Capital One Arena tonight.

The Pacers had the worst spread record in the Eastern Conference on their home floor at 13-23 in the regular season. On the flip side, they were 19-17 ATS on the road.

Looking at the Pacers’ recent run, they’ve played very well of late. Indiana has won three of their last five and covered in all of them.

The Pacers’ recent success has come thanks to an offense that has found its groove. Against a Wizards team that gives up the most points in the NBA, this groove should continue.

Nate Bjorkgren’s group finished the season sixth in points scored, with the 11th highest field goal percentage and the second most assists in the league. They’ve topped 116 points in four of their last five games, with the one miss coming against one of the best defensive teams in the league in the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Even without Caris LeVert and T.J. Warren, the Pacers boast several guys capable of dropping 20 points. Domantas Sabonis is a walking double-double, and Malcolm Brogdon (questionable tonight with a hamstring injury) is one of the best shooters in the game.

The Pacers should have enough firepower tonight to keep up with the Wizards. The question is, can they get enough stops?

Indiana’s defense is slightly better than Washington’s in most areas, but the focus tonight will be slowing the Wizards star duo. Russell Westbrook has killed the Pacers this regular season, scoring 30 point triple-doubles in two of the three games.

The Pacers’ strategy tonight should be to slow the pace and make Bradley Beal, who didn’t look close to 100% against the Celtics, carry the scoring load. As long as Russ doesn’t obliterate them, the Pacers should at the very least make this a close one.

Why The Wizards Could Cover The Spread

Washington has dominated the Pacers this season, winning all three regular season matchups in dramatic fashion.

In all three games, the Wizards relied on their offense to blitz Indiana off the floor. Washington is averaging a whopping 139.6 points per game this season when matched up with the Pacers.

The odds the Wizards hit this figure again are slim. The pace should drop in this postseason-like setting, and the focus will shift to quality possessions over quantity of possessions.

Westbrook and company would probably prefer to push the pace, but Washington has the personnel to get the job done either way. The biggest question will be Bradley Beal’s health.

Beal shot a horrendous 8-27 from the field against the Celtics, his second worst shooting night of the 2020-21 season. The Wizards star is self admittedly not at 100 percent while dealing with a hamstring strain.

The good news is that this Pacers defense should be much easier to break through than what Beal saw in Boston. Indiana allows the sixth most points and fifth most free throws per contest, which should help Beal and Washington get back on track. The Wizards shoot the most free throws in the league, so we could see Washington milk the advantage for some easy points tonight.

Defensively, the Wizards will focus on limiting Sabonis and making the Pacers work for their points. Indiana ranks 7th in field goal percentage, but only 17th in three-point percentage. If the Wizards can force Sabonis and the Pacers to settle for long jumpers and three-pointers, their odds of hitting enough to keep pace with Washington are low.

Additionally, the Pacers could be missing both Brogdon and Edmond Sumner, who supplied a scoring punch off the bench. If Brogdon misses this matchup, I don’t see the Pacers keeping this close.

Final Pacers-Wizards Prediction & Pick

Both Beal and Brogdon are dealing with hamstring injuries, and neither will be at 100% today. Of the two, Beal is far more important to his team. The Pacers should be able to push through with a Brogdon that’s at 75% while the Wizards will struggle immensely if Beal comes out shaky once again. The Pacers looked spectacular against the Hornets, while the Wizards looked gassed out in Boston. I’ll roll with the hot hand and take Indiana to cover the spread, and possibly oust Russell Westbrook from the playoffs for the first time since 2015.