Indiana Pacers: nba FUTURES & BETTING ODDS
In 1967, the Indiana Pacers became one of the ten original ABA teams, and were ultimately one of only two teams to have the same name throughout the league’s nine seasons. If you had bet on the Indiana Pacers to make the ABA Finals you would have won money most seasons, Indiana lost the finals in 1969 and 1970, then won titles in 1972, 1973 and 1975.
After the 1976 season, the ABA disbanded and four teams paid the $3.2 million entry fee and joined the NBA- the Pacers, San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets and New York Nets. To this day, only the Spurs have won the NBA title. The Indiana Pacers odds were long to be a winner right off the bat, joining a superior league, and in fact they struggled immensely, needing five seasons to make the postseason for the first time in 1981.
If you had bet on the Indiana Pacers to make the playoffs in any of the five seasons after their first appearance, you would have been disappointed, as they suffered four straight seasons with at least 56 losses from 1983 through 1986. The Indiana Pacers odds increased in 1987 when they drafted Chuck “The Rifleman” Person fourth overall and he averaged over 18 points and 8 rebounds en route to winning Rookie of the Year and led Indiana to a respectable 41-41 record and their first playoff game win, though they lost the series 3-1 to Hawks. The Pacers used the eleventh overall pick in the 1987 draft to select shooting guard Reggie Miller, and the Indiana Pacers odds changed forever. Now, a bet on the Indiana Pacers would be a bet on a winning team.
After struggling for the final two seasons of the 1980’s, Indiana became a respectable team as the 1990’s started, making the playoffs only to lose to the Pistons, Celtics (twice), and Knicks in 1990, 1991, and 1992. Finally, in 1994, a Pacers team led by Miller, Dutch center Rik Smits, and the Davis duo of Antonio and Dale, carried the Pacers to their ever postseason series win, with a sweep over the Magic, and then the Indiana Pacers odds were defied again as they beat the Hawks in six games. Many fans bet on the Indiana Pacers to win the Eastern conference finals, but they fell to the Knicks in seven games.
The 1995 playoffs were a mirror of 1994, as they swept the Hawks, then defeated the Knicks in seven games, only to fall to Shaquille O’Neal and the Magic in seven games.
In the 1998 playoffs, the Pacers, now coached by local legend Larry Bird, went 58-24 in the regular season only to once again lose in seven games in the Eastern finals to Michael Jordan and the Bulls. In the lockout-shortened 1999 NBA season, the Indiana Pacers odds to finally win the East were strong, and with a 33-17 record they earned the top seed in the playoffs. However, a bet on the Indiana Pacers to finally snap their streak would not have paid off as the Pacers fell to the eight-seed Knicks in six games.
At long last in 2000, in their fifth conference finals in seven seasons, the Pacers vanquished the Knicks to make their first, and still only, NBA Finals. The Pacers played valiantly, a 35-year-old Reggie Miller averaged over 24 points per game, but the Lakers beat Indiana in six.
An aging Pacers team bowed out of the playoffs in the first round the next three seasons, before having the best regular season in team history in 2004. The Pacers went 61-21 led by Jermaine O’Neal and Defensive Player of the Year Ron Artest, before losing to the Pistons in six games in the conference finals.
The 2005 season would be tarred by an early season incident in Detroit, when Artest and Detroit center Ben Wallace started a fight that eventually devolved to a massive fracas in the crowd, which would see Artest suspended for the final 73 games of the season. The Pistons would ultimately knock off a short-handed Indiana in the 2005 playoffs
After losing in the first round of the 2006 postseason, the Pacers would manage to miss four consecutive postseasons from 2007 through 2010. In the 2010 draft the Pacers selected Paul George out of Fresno State, and the move p[aid immediate dividends as Indiana again became a perennial playoff team, making the 2011 and 2012 playoffs, and finally getting back to the ECF in 2013. George would develop into a star by the 2014 season, in which the Indiana Pacers odds to win it all were as good as any team after a 56-26 regular season.
In the summer of 2017, the Pacers would change from being Paul George’s team to Victor Oladipo’s, as the players were traded for each other. Oladipo would immediately become a star, being named Most Improved Player in 2018, as George had five years earlier. But Indiana fell into a pattern of losing in the first round each season, falling to the Raptors, Cavs (twice), Celtics and Heat in five consecutive seasons.
Championships: Zero, but the Pacers won three ABA titles in 1970, 1972, and 1973
30: George McGinnis
31: Reggie Miller
34: Mel Daniels
35: Roger Brown
529: Bobby Leonard