The Milwaukee Bucks made me sweat for it last night, but they panned out nicely in the end, returning solid value on a -130 moneyline. I originally liked them to cover, but the lines moved just slightly and it got me onto their moneyline. Despite being up big all game in Charlotte, Milwaukee gave up 39 points to Kemba Walker and nearly blew it.
Fortunately they hung on for the win and that pushed my NBA picks record to 2-0 on the young season.
I only make picks for the Eastern Conference here at The Sports Geek, but luckily I get two games to look at one a tiny three-game schedule. Of the trio, the game that calls to me resides in Philly, where the 76ers will make host the Chicago Bulls in their home opener.
The Sixers got embarrassed by the Celtics in Boston in their season opener, so they are going to be playing angry in this one. Chicago was already the obvious underdog, but losing star point guard Kris Dunn (personal) and also not having utility man Denzel Valentine off the bench hurts them a lot in this one. Let’s see what the best bet is there:
Chicago Bulls (+11.5, -105) @ Philadelphia 76ers (-11.5, -115) Total: 220 (-115)
I won’t waste a ton of time here. Not having Dunn is pretty big. He is a solid defender, he can create offense and he can score. That’s going to put a ton of pressure of backup point guard Cameron Payne, who simply isn’t that good. It also forces Zach LaVine to step up as a scorer.
With Ben Simmons’ length and a pesky defender like Robert Covington on the outside, I’m not anticipating big outings from these guys. Throw in an elite interior presence like Joel Embiid, and I struggle to find where the Bulls are going to get their offense from here.
Chicago is also without big man Lauri Markkanen, who will miss up to a month with an elbow issue. The Bulls can be feisty, but I’d really only be interested in them if this game were at the United Center. They do still have LaVine, Jabari Parker and some bench scorers, but they are no match for a mad Sixers squad tonight.
Philly is at home, won’t want to fall to 0-2 and they’re also completely healthy where it matters. If you want to lean on some ATS data, consider that the Sixers were the third best team in that department a year ago and specifically went 27-14 ATS when favored at home. Chicago was pretty good (16-14) as road underdogs, but they’re severely depleted and running into an impossible situation.
ATS data aside, the Sixers wrecked at home last year. They were 30-11 on their home floor last year and I expect to be close to that dominant in front of their home crowd again this year as they try to compete for a title.
This is admittedly a steep spread, but Sportsbetting.ag offers the best line at -11.5 and I think it’s absolutely doable. The Sixers have way too much talent to handle and they even have a slew of viable stoppers on the defensive end of the court.
Barring something crazy like Dunn still suiting up and/or some big name Sixers being scratched, I love Philly to cover here at a solid -115 price.