NBA Betting: How the Pascal Siakam Trade Changes the Eastern Conference Race

Michael Savio pic
By:
Michael Savio
01/19/2024
NBA

Highlights

  • Pascal Siakam averaging 22.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game while making 52.2% of his shots
  • BetRivers has the Pacers at +4000 to win the Eastern Conference
  • The Pacers lead the league in scoring but at last in opponent scoring

The Pacers changed the NBA landscape on Wednesday when they announced a trade for Raptors star forward Pascal Siakam. The big man will be joining a young and talented Pacers’ core that currently ranks seventh in the Eastern Conference, but have their sites set far higher.

Below, we will discuss how this trade changes the Eastern Conference picture and if the Pacers are now a viable bet to win it. You’ll get all the odds and insights needed to decide for yourself and bet confidently at NBA betting sites.

Current Odds to Win the Eastern Conference 

Though the trade made a big splash with NBA experts, US sportsbooks have hesitated to move the Pacers odds to win the East. 

Here are the current odds from BetRivers Sportsbooks:

TEAM 

ODDS TO WIN EAST 

Denver Nuggets 

+150 

Milwaukee Bucks 

+150 

Philadelphia 76ers 

+600 

Miami Heat 

+1200 

New York Knicks 

+2000 

Cleveland Cavaliers 

+2500 

Indiana Pacers 

+4000 

Why the Pacers Needed to Make a Move 

Indiana paid a very high price to acquire their new star. They sent Toronto three first-round picks and a couple cap-friendly contracts. That means they are no longer preparing for the future but have instead shifted into “Win Now” mode.

The Pacers were willing to make such a large commitment after guard Tyrese Haliburton established himself as one of the league’s best players. The young star has been great, but he is breaking out this season to give Indiana one of the league’s best young players. Haliburton is currently averaging 23.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 12.5 assists (leads the NBA), and 1.1 steals per game.

When small market teams find a star like Haliburton, there is extra motivations to build around him quickly in the hopes of keeping them around. Few stars stick around a small market team that doesn’t have a chance to win a championship, which is why the Pacers wasted no time acquiring a second star to play with him.

Siakam provides the Pacers with a major upgrade at power forward, which has been a hole for much of a season. While the team is loaded with sharp shooters on the outside, they lacked a skilled big man down low. Siakam fills that role, averaging 22.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game while making 52.2% of his shots.

If the Pacers can get the Haliburton-Siakam pick-and-roll going this season, their offense could be in for a historic season.

How the New Look Paces Stack Up in the East

Despite currently sitting in seventh in the East, the Pacers were already looking like a dangerous team in the Eastern Conference race.  They own an 11-5 record against the Celtics, Bucks, Sixers, Cavs, and Miami, all of which are ahead of them in the standings. They already swept their season series with Milwaukee, a feat that has been unheard of in the East. 

Offensively, a Pacers team already leading the league in scoring (125.6 PPG) could be in for a special run. Pairing Siakam with one of the best shooting team in the league is going to make them near impossible to guard. Defenses will be unable to focus on Haliburton and the team’s sharp shooters while Siakam is roaming down low, and it will lead to even more points for this electric offense.

There is no denying that the Pacers are now a contender, but they still have a major issue on defense. While they lead the league in scoring, Indiana also leads the league in points allowing (125.6 PPG). That wasn’t a problem against a Bucks team with similar stats, but it will be against teams like the Celtics, Sixers, and Cavs. 

Siakam has the length to be a great defender, but he isn’t good enough to help fix this major hole. While the increased scoring will win them a lot of games, they’ll have to find a way to tighten up on defense to compete for Eastern Conference.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.