The NBA on TNT returns tonight at 6:30 PM CT with a thrilling matchup of NBA titans before a historic rivalry the 9 PM CT nightcap.
First, Stephen Curry will lead his defending NBA Finals Champion Golden State Warriors squad into Brew City for a clash with Giannis Antentokounmpo and the 2021 Champion Milwaukee Bucks. Then, Jayson Tatum and the 2022 NBA runners-up Boston Celtics renew their rivalry with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Here’s a look at the betting breakdown ahead of tonight’s matchups:
(As of 2 PM CT on Tuesday)
You can bet your favorite spread, moneyline, total or game prop over with our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Warriors (+4, +150 ML) at Bucks (-4, -175 ML) | Total: 233.5
Currently, Milwaukee -4 is receiving 68% of the overall betting handle (proportion of total money wagered), but only 58% percent of the total bets placed according to VSiN. That could change, though, if Jrue Holiday (questionable to play with a non-COVID illness) is unable to go.
This suggests the public is betting on the Warriors more than sharp, professional bettors are. Anytime you find a higher bet percentage higher than handle percentage, it’s a sign that sharps are fading the public. In this case, the public is fairly split on the game, but pros are favoring the Bucks.
83% of the handle and 62% of the total wagers are on over 233, suggesting that the smart money is on over in this matchup.
It’s an interesting matchup from a hoops perspective, given the size disparity of the two teams. Between Khris Middleton (6-foot-7), Antetokounmpo (7-foot), Brook Lopez (7-foot) and Bobby Portis (6-foot-10), the Bucks have the extreme size advantage over Golden State, who don’t have any players in their rotation taller than Kevon Looney (6-foot-9).
The Warriors will also be without Andrew Wiggins (right adductor strain), who would be the likely candidate to guard the Greek Freak. Instead, that may fall onto the 6-foot-6 Draymond Green, who is less than 100% with an ankle sprain, or second-year forward Jonathan Kuminga. But with that in mind, as long as Curry and his splash brother Klay Thompson are in the lineup, Golden State can beat anyone if they find the touch from distance.
The Picks: Bucks -4 | Over 233
Assuming Holiday is able to give it a go, the Bucks are built to find success against a Warriors squad that may struggle to defend their size and speed. I expect Giannis to get into the paint more easily without Wiggins, and as much as I like Looney as the anchor of a well-oiled Golden State defense, I don’t have faith in his ability to repel the two-time MVP and his All-Star teammates for 48 minutes. The Warriors will need to defend the 3-point line while turning the game into a shootout if they want to win this one. Give me the Bucks and the over.
Celtics (-3.5, -155 ML) at Lakers (+3.5, +135 ML) | Total: 235.5
Boston is up to -3.5 after this line opened at -3. The Celtics are receiving 87% of the handle on the spread and 71% of the overall wagers, per VSiN. The public likes Celtics, as do the sharps. The sides are in disagreement, however, on the total in this matchup; over 235.5 is receiving 53% of the total money wagered yet only 42% of the total wagers.
The Picks: Celtics -3.5 | Under 235.5
Both teams enter play tonight looking to bounce back. Boston has lost two games in a row by double digits, while Los Angeles has lost three of its last four and needed a combined 69 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists from James and Davis just to squeak by the Detroit Pistons late in the fourth quarter on Sunday.
Despite the Celtics’ slide, they are a significantly stronger, deeper and more versatile team than the one they’ll face tonight. Boston has the league’s top net rating as a result of its No. 1 ranked offense and No. 9 overall defense, per Cleaning the Glass. They have two bench players in Grant Williams and Malcolm Brogdon who would start immediately for this Lakers squad, too.
This game may boil down to a math equation. Los Angeles ranks 28th in both 3-point percentage and and 3-point attempts per game, while Boston is second in both categories. The Lakers do not possess the shooting and perimeter defensive versatility needed to slow down the Celtics, which the Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers have shown to be the recipe for beating Boston over the last few days.
Even though LeBron and AD are playing arguably the best basketball they’ve played together since teaming up a few years back, it won’t be enough to take down the most dominant team in the NBA.
Give me the Celtics and the under.