The Breakfast Spread: Bucks Smash Pacers, Rockets Face Sixers
The Milwaukee Buck and Giannis Antetokounmpo dominated the Indiana Pacers 117-98 and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Portland Trail Blazers 129-121 in overtime Thursday. Jason Day withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational after six holes. Today, Arch Madness continues at 1 p.m., and the Houston Rockets attempt to extend a six-game win streak later tonight. Here is a sports betting recap from Thursday and a lookahead to Friday.
Fear the Deer
After a short two-game skid, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks looked like themselves in a big win Thursday night. That is, they looked like the best player and the best team in the NBA.
Using a 13-point run late in the third quarter and a 12-0 run early in the fourth, the Bucks dominated the Indiana Pacers on their way to a 117-98 win. Milwaukee bettors didn’t have to sweat much in the fourth quarter as the Bucks covered the 10-point spread by 9 points.
Thanks to the Buck’s hard-nosed defense, the Under hit by eight points
Houston, We’re Activated
Friday night features an exciting meeting between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Houston Rockets. The Rockets hope to use two days rest to extend their win streak to seven games. Oddsmakers are confident that they will do so, opening Houston as 7-point favorites (as of early Friday morning, the total is currently off the board).
The Rockets have averaged 116.2 ppg during their six-game win streak. Even more impressive, three of those wins have come against top teams like Golden State, Toronto and Boston. In fact, at 9-2, Houston has the best record in the league against top-five teams this season.
So what’s the difference and why do the Rockets finally look like the team we expected to see this year?
Put simply, they’re healthy.
February 21st was the first time in two months that Houston played with James Harden, Chris Paul, and Clint Capela all on the floor. Since then, the Rockets are 6-1 with three of their best wins of the year.
Let’s look at the big picture: Over the last two season, Houston is 62-12 when Harden, Paul and Capela are in the starting lineup.
While the Rockets are healthy and competing for the third seed in the West, the Sixers are thin down low with multiple players hurt. Breakfast Pick: Rockets -7.
Stat of the Day:
Antetokounmpo has had 24 games with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists this season. That’s twice as many as anyone else. Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic and Karl-Anthony Towns are tied in second with 12 games meeting that stat line.
Temperature Meter: When Hot Meets Cold
There’s one team hot in L.A., and that’s the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are 7-3 in their last 10 games (8-2 ATS). Tonight, they take on yesterday’s featured “cold” team: the Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite the Thunder’s upset-win in Portland, Oklahoma City is still 2-8 against the number in their last 10. Right now you can find the Clippers favored by 2 at FanDuel Sportsbook and by 1.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook, with a 236.5 total at both shops.
The Thunder have been streaky this season. With Paul George looking like himself in a 129-121 win in Portland, don’t be surprised if Oklahoma City make it two in a row tonight. On the other hand, the Thunder have to play on short rest after a tough overtime game. Breakfast lean: Oklahoma City +2.
Joel Embiid (knee) and Boban Marjanovic (knee) will continue to miss time for the Sixers. Embiid hasn’t played since before the All-Star break.
Ricky Rubio (hip) is likely to sit for the Utah Jazz, leaving Utah’s backcourt thin on a road trip to Memphis. Utah opened -5, and the total has already dropped from 213.5 to 212.5.
The New Orleans Pelicans will play with a thin backcourt as well Friday night. Jrue Holiday is confirmed out with an abdominal strain, joining the Pelicans’ E’Twaun Moore on the bench as the Pelicans host the Toronto Raptors. With early money on Toronto, the opening line has moved from Pelicans +4.5 to 5.5.
Prop Shop: Clint Capela Over/Under 11.5 Rebounds.
Clint Capela has recorded 15+ rebounds in three of his six games, including two games with 11 rebounds, since returning from a thumb injury that kept him sidelined for five weeks. PointsBet set his Over/Under rebounds prop at 11.5 tonight against a Sixers team that is more than beat up in the low post.
The Sixers should have an especially difficult time trying to match up with someone like Capela. Capela Over/Under 13.5 points is also in play. Breakfast Pick: Over 11.5 rebounds.
Arch Madness Continues
We get our first taste of early weekday basketball thanks to the Missouri Valley Tournament, commonly referred to as Arch Madness.
Arch Madness tipped off last night with a 77-55 blowout, when 3.5-point underdogs Valparaiso dominated Indiana State from start to finish. Oddsmakers were right on the money in the second game of the night, giving Evansville 5.5 points against Illinois State. Illinois state used a 38-32 second half to beat Evansville 65-60.
Though Valpariaso and Loyola-Chicago tip off at 1 p.m. ET, you may have to wait to bet. Sportsbooks haven’t posted a line for the game, maybe in part due to Valpariaso’s quick turnaround.
Worst case, you have to wait until 3:35 p.m. to bet when No. 5 seed Bradley takes on No. 4 seed Missouri State. Missouri State are 2-point favorites and the total has fallen from 126 to 124.
Be sure to check out my chat with Thomas Casale as we talked mid-major picks and sleepers for this weekend’s conference tournaments.
Arnold Palmer Invitational Update: Jason Day Withdraws
Tiger Woods wasn’t the only golfer to withdraw from the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week. Unfortunately for some bettors, Jason Day withdrew a little too late. At +1400 and a previous winner of the tournament, Day was one of the favorites to win this weekend. Day cited a back injury that had previously gone unreported despite withdrawing from the pro-am tournament on Wednesday. Fortunately, DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook were generous enough to show bettors mercy.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello shot -7 to take a two-stroke lead heading into Friday. Cabrera-Bello is currently the tournament favorite at +700, followed by Billy Horschel +95- and Keegan Bradley +1200, per FanDuel Sportsbook’s live golf odds.
Don’t miss Thomas Casale’s AAF Week 5 betting preview.
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