The top two teams in the Eastern Conference clash in a pivotal flag-planting game north of the border. Not only that, but the Clippers take on the Lakers in the late game while the Philadelphia 76ers will hit the road to take on the Golden State Warriors. Thursday night in the NBA is always a good one, so let’s break down these matchups!
Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors
Even if you don’t plan on backing either team, turn on the telly and watch this matchup. Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo gets the press, but the squad is deep. Giannis is a total team player as well. He leads the team in points, assists, and rebounds, but he makes sure that everyone can contribute. That’s why his MVP campaign hasn’t lost steam all season, despite the recent explosion of one James Harden.
The Bucks average 117 points per while holding opponents to 107. The real reason for their success is holding teams to a league best 43% from the field, which may be hard to do against a very capable Toronto team that shoots exceptionally well.
Toronto shoots 47% from the field. Kawhi has found a home with the Raptors, so much so, that we’re not hearing any talk of Leonard leaving (for now). The Raptors’ top scorer contributes in ways that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet.
Toronto beat Milwaukee 123-116 the last time these two battled. Surprisingly, the trends point to a different outcome: the Bucks are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 versus a team from the Atlantic, 8-3 ATS in their last 11 playing on a day of rest, and 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings in Toronto.
The Raptors are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 playing on 3 days of rest. Milwaukee’s the play to at least cover, and they could pull off the SU upset.
NBA Free Picks: Bucks ATS
Brooklyn Nets at San Antonio Spurs
Remember De’Angelo Russell? The former Ohio State star was supposed to be the Lakers next great point-guard until they decided to go with Lonzo Ball. Los Angeles might be kicking themselves. While Ball has yet to turn into the all-everything PG the Lakers envisioned him being, Russell’s driven the Nets to a 28-24 SU record. He leads his team in points and assists.
San Antonio’s top scorer, DeMar DeRozan, is listed as questionable for this game. Even if DeRozan plays, the Spurs might have trouble covering. Brooklyn is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 following a straight up win, and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 following an ATS loss.
The Spurs show a few hot trends as well, including going 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 following an ATS loss, but they figure to get over played here. NBA handicappers should drive the spread to a number that forces us to back the road team.
NBA Free Picks: Nets ATS
Philadelphia 76ers at Golden State Warriors
In the 76ers holster are Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid. The Warriors draw with Draymond Green, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and DeMarcus Cousins. You know that and I know that, but I just like writing it out because that is a lineup from hell to play against.
It’s obvious the Warriors have more to work with overall, but the NBA is about individual matchups. Draymond, who rested in Monday’s win over Indiana, can’t man up against both Embiid and Simmons. Neither Steph nor Klay can stick with Ben Simmons.
It should be interesting to see how the individual matchups play out. Once we go to the trends, picking the winner ATS is obvious. Although Golden State shows the more hot trends, all the trends are at 6 games or less. The Warriors are 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 home games versus a team with a losing road record, 1-6 ATS in their last 7 at home following a road trip of 7 or more days, and 1-7 ATS in their last 8 on Thursday night.
Philadelphia is 22-8 ATS in their last 30 versus an NBA Pacific team, and 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings. The 76ers should cover. They might even take this on the moneyline.
NBA Free Picks: 76ers ATS
L.A. Lakers at L.A. Clippers
The Lakers’ season isn’t a disaster just yet, but it’s quickly becoming one. How bad has it gotten? As of Jan. 30, they’re is only a game ahead of Sacramento in the Pacific Division, LeBron continues to struggle as he returns from a groin injury, and now Kyle Kuzma is having issues with his hip.
Both are questionable to battle the rival Clippers on Thursday night. With Kuzma and The King both hurting, Brandon Ingram’s become the Lakers’ star. That’s why LAL’s really thinking about trading him. They can get a lot right now.
Ingram will play, but it shouldn’t matter. The Clippers dominated the Lakers 118-107 in the last matchup while LAL is 5-14 ATS in the last 19 meetings as the road team, 1-4 ATS in the last 5 overall, and 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 following a straight up loss.
Even if LeBron steps up, the Lakers are in dire straits right now. They’re caught with over half of their starting lineup on the trading block, with mutinies against Luke Walton happening behind the scenes. Even though the Clippers just shipped Tobias Harris, they’re simply in a much better position to protect your investment.
NBA Free Picks: Clippers ATS