The Raptors winning streak came to a screeching halt last night as they got stem rolled in the Mile High air in Denver. We were on that one all the way, taking the Nuggets at +5.5, and you had a real nice night if you got greedy and grabbed the healthy moneyline as they won in a straight-up blowout. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers passed another stern test, holding off the Pacers in overtime for their fifth straight win and to move to 5-1 since their controversial coaching change.
We will look to build on yesterday’s nice start to the week and see if we can find another easy winner. Not guaranteeing we can pluck another large underdog to win by nearly twenty, but it is certainly nice to not need to sweat one out once in a while…
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Let’s move on to today’s Free Pick:
Milwaukee Bucks at Portland Trailblazers -7
Maybe I’ve been wrong about Portland. At first glance, this line made my eyes pop out of my head. Portland laying seven points against anyone other than the Lakers or Sixers seems awfully inviting. After all, this Portland team just isn’t very good, and the Bucks were in the playoffs and were even a few (insane) analysts pick this season to emerge out of the Eastern Conference.
So perhaps this line requires some closer investigation.
The first thing you’ll discover is that Milwaukee is 7-22 on the road this season. Portland is a very respectable 14-10 at home. In fact, they are going for a season high five home wins in a row tonight, which would make it their longest winning streak in more than a year – going back to the LaMarcus Alderidge days. You’ll also see that Portland has won eight of their last ten games overall and that while their dynamic backcourt gets most of the attention, it has actually been on the defensive end where a lot of the success has transpired.
As much as I am still not sold on Portland, either this year or moving forward, the fact is that right now, much like Denver last night, this is a far better team than their record indicates or than it feels like it should be.
Milwaukee is dreadful on the road. No other way to put it. They have a 23% winning percentage and recently they aren’t even really competing. They’ve allowed 108.0 points a game in their last six road contests, five of which were losses. They are allowing close to 40% shooting from behind the arc which could bode well for daily fantasy players who have Damian Lillard and McCollum tonight in their lineups. I expect 50+ from the duo tonight in a home romp.
The numbers indicate strongly that Portland will win. The question is, will Milwaukee compete? Unless they have a radical defensive awakening tonight, I think they will get run. I’d rather lay 4.5 or 5, but am willing to swallow a few extra points and back the far hotter team in a matchup that favors their offensive-minded, perimeter-oriented guards.