The outstanding play of the Milwaukee Bucks (48-16) has certainly opened a lot of eyes this season as they have continued to post the best record in the NBA following the All-Star break. But the Indiana Pacers (42-23) have been equally impressive - especially without leading scorer Victor Oladipo - heading into Thursday's Central Division showdown at Fiserv Forum.
Indiana visits Milwaukee as a 10.5-point road underdog on the NBA odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, sitting 6.5 games back for the division lead.
While nobody expects the Pacers to catch the Bucks in the Central, that does not mean they cannot keep this matchup competitive and cover the double-digit point spread. After all, Milwaukee has lost twice to the Phoenix Suns this year as a 13.5-point favorite, the latest coming on Monday in a 114-105 defeat to close out a five-game road trip.
The Bucks actually lost the last two games of their trip and return home to a 25-5 mark straight up at Fiserv Forum, going 17-12-1 against the spread there. As double-digit home favorites, they have won 10 in a row to go along with a 6-4 record ATS, according to the OddsShark NBA Database, failing to cover three of their last four.
As double-digit road underdogs, Indiana is 6-3 ATS in its last nine games under that scenario. But the Pacers are 4-3 SU the last seven times they have played in that role, which is why they are Thursday's best bet to cover the spread at Milwaukee.
Later on Thursday, the Portland Trail Blazers (39-25) are also coming home from a very successful road trip to host the Oklahoma City Thunder (39-25) as 3.5-point betting favorites. The Trail Blazers moved into a tie for second place in the Northwest Division by going 5-2 SU on their trip and an even better 6-1 ATS. The only game Portland did not cover during that stretch was a 120-111 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies as 5.5-point favorites.
Meanwhile, the Thunder have dropped five of their last six games, and they will also be looking to break an eight-game skid ATS. The last time they did cover the spread, it came in a 120-111 home win over the Blazers as 4.5-point favorites back on February 11. Oklahoma City has won the past three meetings with Portland both SU and ATS.