We had a huge Monday and want to keep that momentum rolling for you on a gigantic slate of action today. We are approaching the middle point of the bubble restart, seeing some lines start to take shape on some of the best and worst. Our first game features two teams at the opposite extreme, while a couple of other team’s playoff identity are starting to take form. Keep an eye on how fast certain teams get out to leads and how long they can keep their opponent at bay. We dive deep into four big picks on the day!
Nets +17.5 @ -109
Brooklyn Nets @ Milwaukee Bucks
BET: Nets +17.5 @ -109
This is a ridiculously large number for the Bucks to cover in a situation where there is very little to no pressure in doing just that. This is far from any make or break game for Milwaukee, and they seem to be playing their regular season style with the same rotations. The rub here is that they are coming off a tight loss to the Rockets, and the expectations are they will pound Brooklyn into oblivion. I do think this is a 15-20 point lead at the half, or close to it. As the Bucks will want to erase that feeling of that loss to Houston by cruising against this inferior team. The Nets have covered in 6 of their last 8 as dogs. Add that to how fast the Bucks should be up in this game and expect to see a lot of Brooklyn starters (what’s left of them) still going at it against Milwaukee’s bench. That hook might save us, but the reality is even in the bubble this is a large number to cover. We’ve seen runs by even the Wizards, so having one come from the Nets while the Bucks are already thinking about their next game means a BK cover!
Over 236.5 @ +100
Dallas Mavericks @ Sacramento Kings
BET: Over 236.5 @ +100
One thing we know for sure is that Dallas will do everything they can to get to 70 in the first half, while allowing opponents to creep back in the second half. A true tale of two halves for the Mavs who have been red hot in the first half, winning 8 of their last 9. We know Dallas and the combo of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis is going to work, but where the support will come is still an unbalanced mystery. I’ll sacrifice the extra point - most books have it at 235.5 – because of the confidence I have that not only will Dallas fall off some in the second half, but also the ability of Sacramento to get some late points. This one is about De’Aron Fox. I’m staying away from the line because I think it’s a little too tight for me, but truly believe this game won’t get out of hand despite what could be a comfortable early lead for Dallas. Fox and company have done wonders in pushing their games over in each of their last 6 games. Combine that with the kid coming off a career night in a bad loss to the Spurs, and you have a fast-paced motivated team that is going to throw everything at Dallas. Good news for fans of the over is that Dallas can’t play great defense, so their solution will be to try and hang 150 on Sacramento. I’ll take it all day.
Pacers -1.5 @ -109
Orlando Magic @ Indiana Pacers
BET: Pacers -1.5 @ -109
This tight line exists simply because the books want you to believe this Magic team has something. Despite losing a young talent in Johnathan Isaac, the Magic have won two straight and are trying desperately to hold on to that 7th seed. While avoiding a play-in series would be ideal – even against the Wizards – they aren’t the only team playing for something tonight. Despite winning two straight, including one against Philadelphia, the Pacers are trying to climb the ladder themselves, with hosting a first round matchup still in play. We’ve seen roster changes, rotation issues, and minutes restrictions all come into play for Indy. Most notably the team has not had to rely on Victor Oladipo as a heavy crutch, especially when TJ Warren has gone for over 80 combined points in two games. I thnk there’s still too much emphasis put on who is a home vs. away team in this bubble, combined with the uncertainty of who will play –Malcolm Brodgon returned last game with no restrictions. Orlando was able to build up two pretty big leads against inferior opponents over their last two, something that will be awfully difficult to maintain against the Pacers. They won’t be able to push the Pacers around up front, nor will the Magic backcourt – with Markelle Fultz even off the bench – be able to have their way with any combo of Brogdon and Oladipo. Close game or blowout, it’s going to the Pacers.
Over 243 @ -105
Houston Rockets @ Portland Trail Blazers
BET: Over 243 @ -105
This game just screams OT to me. Both backcourts have been playing outstanding at times, and there’s no reason why either would cancel the other out on defense. James Harden vs. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum vs. Russell Westbrook just means points and more points. Guess what? The Rockets are going to take 50 3-pointers tonight, and all that’s going to do is entice the Blazers to play along. Even without a fifth frame, I love this game going over. We’ve seen Carmelo Anthony step in and make some big shots, as well as the smaller Houston lineup causing problems for opponents. Houston is fired up after knocking off the Bucks, and the Blazers come in trying to bounce back from a tight loss to Boston. Portland has a realistic shot at pushing the Grizzlies for the 8th seed, while Houston continues to try and play themselves into a better seed. Lots of fireworks tonight!