The Milwaukee Bucks seemed to be in deep doo doo after a five-game losing skid without standout guard Jrue Holiday, who is away from the team as he battles COVID-19, but they’re back in the saddle now, with wins in their past three outings to bring their record to 19-13, good for third in the East. They’ll look to make it four straight when they host the 14-17 New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night.
Free Picks: Milwaukee Bucks vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Two Of The Hottest Offenses In The NBA Face Off At Fiserv Forum (Season Betting Record: 45-42)
The two squads will meet in the second game of the TNT Thursday night double-header, which means it’s prime time national television for the stars of both sides. We expect a high-scoring affair, but considering the huge spread sportsbooks are giving the Bucks, an NBA point spread pick doesn’t feel like the play here.
What we have here at Fiserv Forum is a clash between two of the three hottest offenses in the NBA right now: no one’s been scoring more than the Pels’ 121.7 points per game in February, and the Bucks are just behind in third averaging 119.8. While the Bucks have been a half-decent team on defense, New Orleans has been giving up nearly just as much as they’ve been getting, allowing opponents to net 118.5 points per contest, fourth-most in the league this month.
It shouldn’t be surprising considering those numbers, but the fact that New Orleans games have hit the over ten straight times is still mind-boggling. The Pelicans, in fact, have an insane 23-8 record when it comes to hitting the over this season, tops in the NBA. The Bucks aren’t too far behind on that list in sixth, posting a 61 percent over hit rate so far this year, including overs in six of their past nine outings.
The top six teams in terms of over percentage have played against one another in 19 games this season, and in 15 of those meetings, yup, you guessed it, they hit the over. All four Milwaukee games against the other teams in the top six went over, while three of four hit the mark for New Orleans. With that in mind, one of our best bets for today is the over on the 239 game total points prop, which is at solid -115 NBA odds.
The last time Zion Williamson and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s teams came together the Pelicans won a thrilling 131-126 matchup, despite Williamson scoring just 21 points. While we do expect both teams to light up the scoreboard again, Zion should be able to eclipse that total and then some. The 20-year-old has scored 28+ points in six of his past eight games and has not scored under 20 points in a contest since February 5th.
Williamson is improving at a rapid rate, and though the Bucks do defend the paint well, the 285-pound Duke alumnus has been wont to take what he pleases down low over the past couple of weeks. The over on Williamson’s 26.5 points prop at lovely -110 odds is another of our top picks as we back the future of the NBA against the league’s reigning MVP.
The last of our picks for this primetime TNT matchup is a flier on Eric Bledsoe, who will be taking on the Bucks for just the second time since they traded him to New Orleans back in November. The veteran guard was clearly out to prove something in the first matchup, putting up 25 points on 21 shots.
We wouldn’t expect the same output or volume considering the emergences of Williamson and Brandon Ingram, but we would certainly expect him to crack double-digits against the team that tossed him in the trash heap, especially with Holiday still sidelined. With his points prop sitting at just 10.5 on -120 odds, this should be a sneaky good NBA pick on Thursday night.
- The total has gone over in 8 of the past 9 meetings
- The total has gone over in 7 of Milwaukee’s past 8 games against teams under .500
- The total has gone over in 18 of New Orleans’ past 21 Thursday games
- Zion Williamson has scored 28+ points in 6 of his past 8 games
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The Los Angeles Clippers will renew hostilities with the Dallas Mavericks, who they dispatched in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
The Denver Nuggets and the league’s presumptive NBA MVP will look to get off to a strong start against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1.
The Golden State Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies in the final play-in game, which will determine the Western Conference’s eighth seed.
The Washington Wizards will host the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night with the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference on the line.
Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve.