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Welcome to the Thursday, April 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 SportsbookFanDuel Sportsbook888 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.

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Season to Date:

ATS Leans/Picks: 51-39-1 (.567)
Moneyline: 31-9 (.775)
Over/Under: 30-16-1 (.652)

4/4/19 NBA Betting Pick:

Milwaukee Bucks (58-20) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (49-29)

DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Bucks -4.5 (o/u: 230.5)
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Bucks -4.5 (o/u: 230.5 )
888 Sportsbook Odds: Bucks -4.5 (o/u: 230.5)
BetStars Sportsbook Odds:  Bucks -5 (o/u: 230.5)

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The Breakdown

The waning days of the NBA regular season always feature plenty of matchups between non-playoff-contending squads. That makes motivation and, by extension, point spreads and totals difficult to prognosticate. However, Thursday’s Bucks76ers tilt is certainly an exception. Both squads could potentially be headed to an eventual late-round, high-stakes rematch in the postseason. Additionally, each still has something to play for.

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For its part, Milwaukee has yet to officially lock up the top seed in the Eastern Conference. They need a win or a Raptors loss to make that official. With Toronto off Thursday night, the Bucks can control their own fate by notching a victory. Then, Philadelphia doesn’t yet have the No. 3 seed completely secured either. Both the Celtics and Pacers still remain within striking distance of that spot. A slide down to No. 4 or No. 5 would represent a notable spike in difficulty for Philly’s first-round matchup.

That should make Thursday’s game a tightly contested, drag-out heavyweight bout. Lending credence to that theory is the fact that Joel Embiid will return for Philly after sitting out the last three games for rest. A week-long break from the rigors of the hardwood at this point in the season is particularly beneficial. Embiid is already averaging 35.0 points, 17.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.5 steals in two Bucks games this season.

Moreover, Embiid isn’t the only Sixers first-unit member that’s thrived offensively when facing the Bucks this season:

  • Ben Simmons: 11.0 points and 10.0 assists (two games)
  • J.J. Redick: 19.0 points on 56.5 percent shooting, including 58.3 percent from three-point range (two games)
  • Tobias Harris: 16.0 points on 52.2 percent shooting, including 42.9 percent from three-point range (two games)

Philadelphia’s track record at home must also be taken into account when weighing the chances of the Over hitting Thursday. The 76ers are averaging 118.0 points per game at Wells Fargo Center, where Thursday’s game unfolds. That’s the second-highest scoring average for any home team and is largely the byproduct of Philly generating the sixth-highest shooting percentage (48.2) of any home squad. Plus, 20 of the Sixers’ 39 home games have exceeded Thursday’s projected total.

Naturally, the Bucks are no slouches either when putting up points. Milwaukee is averaging the second-most points per game of any road team (116.1). That makes them a perfect offensive complement to the 76ers’ own aforementioned No. 2 scoring rank as a home team. What’s more, Milwaukee happens to mirror Philly’s sixth-highest home shooting mark with the sixth-highest shooting percentage (46.8) of any road squad. Furthermore, as good as Milwaukee’s defense has been at home (106.6 PPG), it’s a bit more vulnerable when traveling (110.5 PPG).

Finally, some of Milwaukee’s top players have enjoyed their share of offensive success against the Sixers this season:

  • Giannis Antetokoumpo: 42.0 points on 54.0 percent shooting (two games)
  • Brook Lopez: 17.5 points on 45.8 percent shooting, including 40.0 percent shooting (two games)
  • Khris Middleton: 22.0 points (two games)

By The Numbers

The Over is 28-28-1 (50.0 percent) in games following a Bucks’ win. The Over is also 8-7-1 (53.3 percent) in games Milwaukee has played on two or three days of rest.

Then, the Over is 20-19 (51.3 percent) in the 76ers’ home games. The Over is also 8-4 (66.7 percent) in the second game of Philadelphia’s back-to-back sets and 26-22 (54.2 percent) in the 76ers’ conference games.

Finally, both of the prior meetings between the teams this season have exceeded Thursday’s projected total.

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The Final Word

Although the 76ers have been put through the grinder by their recent schedule, they have no shortage of motivation for preserving their No. 3 seed. Then, Embiid’s return from rest should make a major impact on Philly’s already potent offense, especially considering the success he’s enjoyed versus Milwaukee this season. Middleton is also probable to return for Milwaukee after missing the last two games with a groin injury. The total here isn’t massive, either, and I, therefore, see it being exceeded slightly in a wire-to-wire battle.

The Pick: Over 230.5