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Our expert handicapper Dan Canova brings you his top picks for Saturday's NBA games

PICK OF THE DAY: (2u) MAGIC +9 @ -110

Milwaukee Bucks @ Orlando Magic, 5:00 PM:

  •  Since the 2011-12 NBA season, the Milwaukee Bucks have a 12-18-1 against-the-spread record in night games against the Orlando Magic. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

The reason we’re backing the Magic.

Listen, we know the Milwaukee Bucks are arguably the best team in the entire NBA. And more likely than not, the Bucks are going to head into Orlando and come away with a victory over the Magic.

But in terms of covering a spread, there’s no doubt about it that the Bucks can have a hiccup here.

The Magic are on a two-game skid, with losses against the New York Knicks at MSG, and the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. During Thursday’s 105-102 loss to the Knicks, Nikola Vucevic finished with 25 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three blocks, and Aaron Gordon added 16 points, four boards and five assists.

But as the saying goes, hungry dogs run faster. The Magic hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and are in playoff mode game-in and game-out knowing that if they lapse into a big losing streak, they could easily find themselves on the outside looking in.

The Bucks, on the other hand, are coasting. At 44-7, they have the best record in the NBA, and have the No. 1 seed in the East. If the playoffs started tomorrow, these two teams would match up in the first round.

But it’s not the playoffs. It’s a meaningless game for the Bucks, who hold a seven-game lead over the second-place Toronto Raptors.

I like the Magic and the points in this basketball game. They are at home and need to keep the momentum going. They may not win, but they will give the Bucks a game. Take Orlando here.

(1u) Mavericks -3.5 @ -110

Dallas Mavericks @ Charlotte Hornets, 7:00 PM:

  •  The Charlotte Hornets have a 0-5 against-the-spread record against the Dallas Mavericks at the Spectrum Center since the 2014-15 NBA season. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

The reason we’re backing the Mavericks.

Without superstar Luka Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks are riding a two-game skid.

The Mavs first lost at home to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wedneday, and then on Friday night were beaten by a last second-shot against the Washington Wizards. Seth Curry led the way with 20 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals off the bench, and Tim Hardaway Jr. contributed 19 points, seven assists and four rebounds, but Washington’s Bradley Beal scored two of his game-high 29 points with 0.2 seconds left in the game to give the Wizards a 119-118 win.

Even without Doncic, the Mavericks should have enough to get past the Charlotte Hornets on the road.

The Mavs are going to be a playoff team in the loaded Western Conference for a reason, and it means they should come away with the win over Charlotte.

Take Dallas minus the 3.5 points here.

(1u) Lakers -13.5 @ -110

Los Angeles Lakers @ Golden State Warriors, 8:30 PM:

  •  Since the 2017-18 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers have a 6-3 against-the-spread record in night games against the Golden State Warriors. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

The reason we’re backing the Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers will look to rebound after a tough loss against the Houston Rockets at the Staples Center on Thursday night.

Anthony Davis finished with a team-high 32 points to go along with 13 rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocks, and LeBron James added 18 points, 15 assists and nine boards, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Russell Westbrook’s 41-point burst as the Rockets rolled to a 121-111 win.

As crazy as it sounds, the Lakers are better on the road this season. Los Angeles sports a 21-5 record away from home and has seven losses at the Staples Center.

The Golden State Warriors are one of the worst teams in the NBA this season, due mainly to the injuries to Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, along with the departure of Kevin Durant. There’s no doubt that the Lakers, along with everyone else in the NBA, want to beat the Warriors down while they can.

Take the Lakers minus the points in this matchup. Look for LeBron, AD and the boys to bounce back.

Article Author

Expert handicapper known for his deep knowledge of all things NBA and his ability to pick winners.


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