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Better NBA Bets on Saturday
NBA picks & tips for bettors
By Liam Davis
Milwaukee Bucks (-8.5) vs. Brooklyn Nets (+8.5)
The Milwaukee Bucks absolutely slammed the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on Thursday night. The game was close for a tick, but Milwaukee used an explosive third quarter from Giannis Antetokounmpo, who didn't even need to play the fourth quarter, to pull away.
Tonight's contest is tough, though. Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson is great at making adjustments, and the Bucks don't have the kind of team to blow out others on a consistent basis. At the same time, Brooklyn doesn't have an answer for Giannis Antetokounmpo, and its defense has been crud all season.
Bake in the fact that Milwaukee ranks eighth in home-court net rating, and it's hard to pick against the Bucks in this one.
The Pick: Milwaukee Bucks (-8.5)
Dallas Mavericks (+3) vs. Chicago Bulls (-3)
This spread shouldn't be so small.
Sure, the Chicago Bulls played on Friday night. And yes, said game was against the Cleveland Cavaliers. It took a lot of effort for the Bulls to win. There's no guarantee head coach Fred Hoiberg unloads all his troops on the tail end of a back-to-back against the worst team in the NBA.
Except the operative phrasing here is "the worst team in the NBA." That's what the Mavericks are. They don't have Dirk Nowitzki. They don't have J.J. Barea. Wesley Matthew is a wild card. Andrew Bogut is banged up.
In sum, this is not a game the Mavericks should win—or, more importantly, even come close to winning.
The Pick: Chicago Bulls (-3)
Memphis Grizzlies (-2.5) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (+2.5)
It's concerning that the Los Angeles Lakers will be without D'Angelo Russell and Nick Young when they head to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies. But their opponent is missing more key players.
Chandler Parsons, Zach Randolph and, most notably, Mike Conley won't be suiting up on Saturday night. Conley's absence is especially problematic, because the Grizzlies cannot function without him on offense. Their defense, in addition to their shooting percentages, are also much worse with him off the floor.
True, the game could technically go either way. The Lakers have been surprisingly competitive, but they're not some juggernaut in the making. As of now, though, a 2.5-spread is too large for a Grizzlies team that, typically, doesn't match up with against youthful opponents.
The Pick: Los Angeles Lakers (+2.5)
Golden State Warriors (-16) vs. Phoenix Suns (+16)
Let's keep this simple.
While a 16-point spread is huge, do you really want to pick against a Golden State Warriors team that's working off a double-overtime loss to the Houston Rockets on Thursday night? And when they're playing a Phoenix Suns squad that is flat-out terrible but has given them trouble twice this season, thereby implying the Warriors have some sort of a score to settle?
The answer is no. You don't want to pick against the Warriors in this situation.
The Pick: Golden State Warriors (-16)
Portland Trail Blazers (-6.5) vs. Miami Heat (+6.5)
The Portland Trail Blazers have not been good this season. They have the league's worst defense, and the offense is prone to fits of missed pull-up three-pointers. That doesn't bode well against a Miami Heat squad that deploys a pretty good defense.
With that being said, the Heat have not been good on the offensive side this season. And they're missing a boatload of people for Saturday night's affair, from Josh Richardson and Dion Waiters, to Justise Winslow and possibly Luke Babbitt.
Losing Richardson and Babbitt is particularly damning. The Heat cannot shoot threes well to begin with, so soldiering on without two of their best three-point chuckers is offensive suicide, even against Portland's porous defense.
Expect the Blazers to win in decisive fashion. They can be a very scary team on their home floor, and quite frankly, they're overdue for such a victory given how topsy-turvy their entire season has been.
The Pick: Portland Trail Blazers (-6.5)
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