If there is one thing I've come to learn when betting the NBA, it's that weird things happen over the weekend. I don't know what it is, but we always seem to see either a crazy upset or insanely high/low-scoring game. Let's hope those outcomes fall in favor of our picks tonight!
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The Milwaukee Bucks travel south to take on the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.
Both the Hornets and Bucks were in action Friday night, so they both enter this game on a back-to-back. Despite Milwaukee also having to travel to Charlotte, I still like the Bucks to have success in this game. Khris Middleton made his season debut on Friday and I think we see another solid game from him tonight. When a player returns after not playing for a significant amount of time, it often takes them a few games to get back into a rhythm. This is a great spot for Middleton to do that against a really bad Hornets team. Charlotte has also been struggling to score without LaMelo Ball on the floor, and with he and Gordon Hayward out of the lineup again, putting up points against a strong Milwaukee defense is going to be a challenge.
My lean: Bucks ATS.
The Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors are also two teams that are on the second leg of a back-to-back on Saturday.
Orlando faced the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Friday while the Raptors played the Nets in Brooklyn. There are two angles that I’d look at in this game. First, this is a spot where the Raptors should be able to cover the spread. Toronto feeds off of takeaways, ranking first in the league in points off turnovers, while the Magic are 26th in points given up after turnovers. The same story rings true for second-chance points. The Raptors rank first, while the Magic are 16th in second-chance points allowed.
The other way to consider playing this game is by looking at the under. Toronto is great on the defensive side of the ball with so many lengthy, athletic defenders, and they're especially good at home. They make it tough for teams to get in the lane and force them to knock down outside shots. I think we see a Magic team that’s going to struggle to score on the second night of their back-to-back, keeping this total low.
My leans: Raptors ATS, under the total.
The Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves meet for the third time this season.
The Timberwolves have won both meetings against the Thunder this season and while I think they make it three in a row tonight, I like the total in this game even better. I expect to see a high-scoring affair in Minneapolis. Karl-Anthony Towns is going to be sidelined with injury for an extended period of time, but I think the Wolves could benefit from that. Part of the team’s early struggles this season was due to their offense being so crowded with KAT and Rudy Gobert both occupying so much space in the frontcourt. That caused a log jam inside the lane and prevented Anthony Edwards from doing what he does best which is getting to the basket. With KAT out of the lineup, this is going to unlock Minnesota’s offense a bit and allow Edwards to play more freely. And when Edwards is having a big game, it’s often because he’s able to play downcourt and push the pace. Playing fast is just fine for OKC as they play at the sixth-fastest pace, just behind Minnesota which is the fifth-fastest team. I also wouldn’t classify either team as having a lock-down defense, so points should come easily.
My lean: Thunder vs. Timberwolves over
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