Welcome to the Monday, 10/29/18 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet for tonight I feel has profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager that we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Season to Date:
ATS Picks: 5-3 (.625)
ATS Leans: 3-0 (1.000)
Moneyline: 3-0 (1.000)
10/29/18 NBA Betting Pick:
Toronto Raptors (6-0) at Milwaukee Bucks (6-0)
Over/Under Total: TBD
UPDATE AT 2:15PM ET: Both Giannis Antetokounmpo (concussion protocol) and Kawhi Leonard (rest) have been ruled out for the Bucks and Raptors, respectively. Considering the caliber of each player, I see these moves as essentially cancelling each other out. The books/public seem to agree, as the lines have yet to move based despite the news.
This shapes up as the marquee battle of the Monday night slate between the last two remaining undefeated teams in the NBA. As their respective records imply, the two clubs have been outstanding on both ends of the floor. Milwaukee is scoring the fifth-most points per game (119.3) while allowing the fourth least (103.3). Then, Toronto checks in with the seventh-highest scoring tally (116.8) and as the seventh-stingiest unit (106.0 points allowed per game). Both teams have drained their baskets at an above-average rate, too. The Raptors sport the fifth-highest success rate (49.5 percent) while the Bucks check in closely behind at 47.8 percent.
The two teams match up very closely across the board. The one-to-one comparison of the backcourts (Eric Bledsoe/Kyle Lowry and Malcolm Brogdon/Danny Green) is pretty close, although Lowry has been more productive thus far this season. Kawhi Leonard does have an edge over Khris Middleton at small forward, but the gulf between them isn’t expansive. Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo — who’s listed as questionable for the game with a head contusion but is expected to play — is leaps and bounds ahead of Pascal Siakam or Serge Ibaka at the four. Finally, Brook Lopez and Jonas Valanciunas are two different types of centers with their own strengths and weaknesses. They’re fairly even when all’s said and done.
Milwaukee should prove an interesting test for Toronto in terms of pace. The Bucks are currently generating the seventh-most possessions per game (108.5), including 109.2 at home. The Raptors have been more deliberate (104.2 possessions per game). However, they played at a faster clip on the road (107.2 possessions per game).
Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that despite Lowry’s well-earned defensive reputation, both members of the Bucks’ backcourt enjoyed plenty of success versus the Raptors last season:
Bledsoe: 22.3 points (on 60.0 percent shooting, including 60.0 percent from three-point range), 5.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.7 steals (three games)
Brogdon: 17.0 points (on 53.8 percent shooting, including 80.0 percent from three-point range), 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists (two games)
Despite the Raptors’ impressive defensive metrics, there’s also a potential advantage for the Bucks when it comes to three-point shooting. Toronto is allowing the fifth-highest three-point shooting percentage (38.5) thus far. Then, Milwaukee sports the ninth-highest success rate from behind the arc (37.7 percent). Two key first-unit players — Brogdon and Middleton — boast 43.5- and 57.1-percent tallies from distance.
By the Numbers: The Bucks are 3-0-1 against the spread at home this season. They’re also 3-1-1 versus the numbers in conference games. Moreover, two of the three games between the two teams last season were decided by under five points (one victory apiece for each club).
The Final Word: Antetokounmpo’s questionable status could be influencing this line. However, assuming he plays, Milwaukee is a good bet to defend their home floor against a fellow undefeated squad. The relatively even talent level between the two teams keeps this game close. However, I see a Milwaukee cover at a minimum if the “Greek Freak” is in the lineup and plays his usual minutes.
The Lean: Bucks +2.5