Welcome to the Monday, Feb. 4 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 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: 20-17 (.541)
ATS Leans: 18-12-1 (.600)
Moneyline: 22-8 (.733)
Over/Under: 13-7 (.650)
2/4/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Milwaukee Bucks (38-13) vs. Brooklyn Nets (28-26)
Over/Under Total: 230.0
The Nets have been admirably resilient this season in the face of key injuries. Spencer Dinwiddie, for one, will remain out for multiple weeks due to thumb surgery. They’ve also been without the emerging Caris LeVert since mid-November due to a foot injury. Plus, the sharpshooting Allen Crabbe has been missing since mid-December because of right knee soreness. Now, Joe Harris, who’s made considerable strides this season and is shooting an impressive 45.3 percent from three-point range, is questionable for Monday’s game due to hip soreness.
The strain of making up for lost production could be starting to wear on the rest of Brooklyn’s players. The Nets come into Monday’s game having lost two straight and three of their last four overall. Given the considerable improvement they’ve demonstrated this season — already matching their win total for all of last year — that actually represents a relatively rare stretch of ineffectiveness. The Nets could certainly have used the likes of Dinwiddie in their loss to the Magic on Saturday night. They shot just 36.3 percent overall (including 26.3 percent from three-point range) on their way to scoring just 89 points.
And while they do return to the friendly confines of Barclays Center on Monday night, it’s worth noting they’ve actually been a poorer defense there. The Nets have allowed the seventh-most points (112.7) of any team on their home floor. That figure is partly the byproduct of Brooklyn allowing a robust 46.6 percent shooting at Barclays. Those numbers could particularly spell trouble versus the Bucks. Milwaukee comes in scoring the third-most points of any team on the road (114.4). They’ve unsurprisingly accomplished it with stellar shooting: a 47.6 percent success rate when traveling. That’s the fourth-highest road figure of any team in the NBA.
And the Bucks’ overall body of work on the road seems to be growing only more impressive as the season unfolds. Milwaukee comes into Monday’s game having won three straight away tilts and six of their last seven overall. Included in that sample is a 13-point win over the Raptors two games ago that was much more dominant than the final score implies. Then, the Bucks also claim road wins over the Rockets by seven, the Celtics by 13, another over the Raptors by five, the Nuggets by seven, and the Warriors by 23. In other words, they’ve toppled a who’s who of topflight teams on the road.
It’s also worth noting when making the case for a possible Bucks cover Monday that Milwaukee has enjoyed a solid margin of victory in most of their 16 road victories overall, one that exceeds the projected seven-point spread more often than not. Of the Bucks’ away wins, 11 have come by more than Monday’s predicted margin of victory. Then, two others have been by exactly seven points. That leaves only three road wins that have fallen short of the number.
Finally, it’s worth noting the Bucks’ most important piece, Giannis Antetokounmpo, has a very impressive track record versus both the Nets in one prior game this season and on the road in general. “The Greek Freak” tore up Brooklyn for a 31-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist triple-double that also included three blocks and two steals in a 129-115 home win back on Dec. 29. Antetokounmpo shot an absurd 76.5 percent in that contest, including 66.7 percent (2-for-3) from three-point range. Then, Giannis is also sporting road numbers very comparable to his home metrics, and he’s actually boasting slightly higher rebound (12.7, compared to 12.3) and steal (1.5, compared to 1.4) averages when traveling.
By The Numbers
The Bucks are 29-13-3 (60.4 percent) versus the spread overall this season. That includes a 13-10-2 mark (56.5 percent) against the number as a road team and a 9-8-2 (52.9 percent) tally as a road favorite. Milwaukee is also 20-10-3 (NBA-best 66.7 percent) versus the spread in conference games, 19-11 (63.3 percent) against the number in games they’ve played with one day’s rest, and 18-16-3 (52.9 percent) versus the spread following a win.
Then, the Nets are 14-13 (51.8 percent) versus the spread as a home team. That includes an 8-7 mark (53.3 percent) against the number as a home underdog. Brooklyn is also 11-14 (44.0 percent) versus the spread following a loss.
The Final Word
The Bucks have proven their status as one of the Eastern Conference’s elite with their body of work this season. And they’ve been nearly as impressive on the road as at home. Even a potential Eric Bledsoe (Achilles) absence doesn’t do enough to dampen their outlook here. The fact that Harris is also a game-time decision for the Nets evens the playing field there. While Brooklyn does have an impressive track record against the spread overall this season, there’s enough of a gulf in healthy talent between the two clubs to make me lean toward the Bucks covering a manageable number on their way to a win.
The Lean: Bucks -7, Bucks moneyline