Philadelphia 76ers (24-22) at Milwaukee Bucks (26-22)
We picked up an easy victory last night when we backed the Oklahoma City Thunder at home against the Philadelphia 76ers. We only had to lay -3.5-points to back the red-hot Thunder. The game was competitive most of the afternoon, but the Thunder pulled away for the double-digit victory and easy cover.
I mentioned in my article that I thought this line would have been nine points had the Thunder not been playing back to backs. And in the end, that number was probably the more accurate one as OKC won 122-112. Rest is very important in the NBA, it must be considered when evaluating a game, but don’t let the back side of a back to back scare you off backing the much better team, especially if they are playing at home.
Today I will look at a similar scenario as I break down the matchup between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Philadelphia 76ers will continue their road trip as they travel to Milwaukee to face the Bucks Monday night. The Sixers may come in a bit fatigued as they had to chase around Russell Westbrook and the Thunder last night to the tune of 122 points. Philly has been resurgent as of late, winners of nine out of twelve games so far, this month.
Milwaukee will also be playing on back to back nights as they played last night in Chicago, and easily defeated the Bulls 110-96. The Bucks have won three straight games. The Bucks are -3.5-point home favorites tonight. The game total over-under is set at 209.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 PM PST from the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
In my pick yesterday, I raved about how well the process is finally starting to take hold in Philadelphia. Even without last year’s number one overall pick, Markel Fultz, playing this year, the Sixers have been very competitive and are poised to break through with a playoff appearance in the Eastern Conference this year. After all that positive talk, I picked against them and won easily.
I will be doing the same thing tonight. I like Philly, I really do, and they are playing particularly well at the moment. But I am not sure they are set up for success tonight. Last night’s game saw them give up 122 points as they were forced to chase around the uber-athletic OKC Thunder all afternoon long. On top of that, they are forced to play their third consecutive game on the road, the last two of which are on back to back nights.
Long road trips are hard to handle, and young teams like Philly tend to struggle the most with the no rest and lots of travel. It wouldn’t at all shock me to see Philly come out flat and tired and fade in the third and fourth quarter tonight. Back to backs on the road are tough, they are even tougher when both teams you had to play are playoff caliber teams in the middle of winning streaks.
The Milwaukee Bucks are by no means world beaters. But right now, they are playing pretty well, having won three straight games. The Bucks are currently occupying the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference but are only a game and a half behind Miami for a top-four seed.
The East is really up for grabs behind Boston and Toronto up top. We could easily see this team as a top-four seed, and we could just as easily see them miss the playoffs altogether. Right now, is when the pressure really starts turning up.
This is more situational betting for me. I like the 76ers, I swear that I do. They are a fun young team with lots of charisma and a good core of talent. But a young, inexperienced team playing back to backs on the road? After getting blasted for 122 points last night?
I see them with tired legs tonight. The Bucks are playing the back end of a back to back as well, but they only had to travel that short trip from Chicago and got to sleep in their own beds last night and get to play at home today. That is a very key distinction.
These two teams played just over a week ago in Philly, and the 76ers blew them out. But that was at home, playing after a day off. I see some revenge factor coming into play tonight when it is the Bucks turn to play at home. I don’t think this is a blowout, both of these teams are evenly matched, but I do see Milwaukee being able to protect its home court tonight.
Give me the Milwaukee Bucks tonight at home laying -3.5-points.