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Expert handicapper Stephen Rodriguez is back with his picks for Today's NBA action

BET OF THE DAY 2u - Atlanta Hawks (-4.5) @ - 110

Charlotte Hornets @ Atlanta Hawks, 7:30 PM:

  • The Hornets have a 7-9 ATS record in Atlanta since 2011-12.
  • The Hawks have won 21 of the last 37 meetings with Charlotte. (Stats courtesy of Statschecker

The reason we’re backing the Hawks

Atlanta (19-46) kept the losses coming when falling on the road to the Memphis Grizzlies 118-101.

The Hawks were ice-cold and struggled to score, shooting 33 percent from the field and 26 percent from three-point range.

The usually electric Trae Young was held in check, shooting 1-of-10 from three-point range for 16 points. The lone silver lining was John Collins, who scored a game-high 27 points with eight rebounds.

Charlotte (22-41) finally snapped out of their three-game home losing streak as eight-point-underdogs, defeating the Houston Rockets 108-99.

The Hornets could do no wrong, shooting over 50 percent from the field and 47 percent from three-point range.

All of Charlotte’s production came from the starting rotation as all five starters scored in double figures. Terry Rozier scored a team-high 24 points with six made three-pointers, Devonte’ Graham added 23 points with four made threes and PJ Washington contributed 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting.

The Hawks won the first meeting against the Hornets in Charlotte with ease 122-107.

Young was the difference maker in that matchup with 30 points and nine assists and my expectation is he’ll be the game changer yet again.

I’m betting on Young to lead the Hawks to cover the spread at home.

1u - Denver Nuggets (-3) @ -110

Milwaukee Bucks @ Denver Nuggets, 9:00 PM:

  • The Nuggets have held the edge in this series with the Bucks (15-4) since 2010-11.
  • Denver has a (10-7) ATS record against Milwaukee since 2011-12.

The reason we’re backing the Nuggets

Milwaukee (53-11) were without reigning NBA MVP Gianni Antetokounmpo on Sunday night and it cost them as they were upset on the road in Phoenix by the Suns 140-131.

Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe picked up the slack on offense - Middleton had a game-high 39 points and Bledsoe added 28 points.

The Greek Freak is resting a knee injury and is expected to miss the remainder of the road trip which is at least two games.

Denver (42-21) stumbled on the road as nine-point favorites, falling short to the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-102.

Playmaking big man Nikola Jokic was contained with eight points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Will Barton supplied the scoring with a team-high 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting. Jamal Murray added 17 points with seven assists and five rebounds.

Despite the recent struggles, Denver has owned the series with Milwaukee over the last decade.

I like Denver to cover the spread at home with the Greek Freak sidelined.

1u - Toronto Raptors (+4.5) @ -110

Toronto Raptors @ Utah Jazz, 9:00 PM:

  • Toronto has won 11 of the last 14 meetings with Utah.
  • The Raptors are (12-1) ATS in night games against the Jazz since 2013-14.

The reason we’re backing the Raptors

Toronto (45-18) won a third consecutive game after edging out the Sacramento Kings 118-113.

The Raptors found all their productive from the starting rotation as all five starters scored in double figures.

Norman Powell and Kyle Lowry went off from beyond the arc as they knocked down six made three-pointers. Powell scored a game-high 31 points and Lowry was right behind with 30 points.

Serge Ibaka posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Pascal Siakam contributed 23 points and eight rebounds.

Utah (41-22) stayed hot by picking up a fifth consecutive win after defeating the Detroit Pistons 111-105.

The Jazz led nearly wire-to-wire behind an efficient 50 percent from the field shooting day.

Bojan Bogdanovic was a spark plug, shooting 12-of-18 from the field for a game-high 32 points. Donovan Mitchell added 25 points of his own with five rebounds.

The Raptors owned the Jazz in the first meeting between these teams this season 130-110.

Not only that but they’ve had a significant amount of success ATS against Utah since 2013.

Coming off the win in Sacramento, I like Toronto to build on that and at least cover the spread.


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