Expert NBA Pick for Monday: Bucks vs. Hornets

Joe Gavazzi

Monday, December 29, 2014 5:16 PM GMT

Monday, Dec. 29, 2014 5:16 PM GMT

This expert sports handicapper shares his betting tips for this battle between the Milwaukee Bucks & the Charlotte Hornets tonight at the Big Cable Box for a 7:05 tip on NBA TV.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Charlotte Hornets (-3) 7:35 ET NBA TV
A look at the Eastern Conference in the NBA standings tells us that after a 41-41 SU NBA season of last, Charlotte is now just 10-21 SU for the season, including 7-18 SU of late.  Milwaukee, meanwhile, is at 15-16 SU for the season good for 6th place in the Eastern Conference playoff standings.

The Hornets were cruising along with 4 consecutive victories, following a 2-14 SU slide.  A closer look at the opposition shows us those were against sub-.500 teams, Philly, Utah and Denver.  The last of those came against these Milwaukee Bucks 108-101 in Milwaukee on December 23rd.  Since the Christmas holiday, however, they have lost at OKC (no Durant 98-75) and to Orlando on this floor (102-94).  It now appears Charlotte has returned to their losing ways.  Kemba Walker has been providing the thrust for the Hornets’ offense. He is regularly playing 40 minutes per game with an infectious, optimistic attitude.  Negatives for the Charlotte lineup are that top big man, Al Jefferson, continues to battle through an injured groin that has allowed him to score only 10 PPG in his previous 3 outings.  In addition, Lance Stephenson, who was expected to be a major contributor, after his trade from Indiana, has missed the last 7 games with a hip injury.

Milwaukee is struggling with injuries of their own.  Prized rookie, Jabari Parker, is out for the season. While big men, Saunders and Ilyasova, are expected to miss this game with illness and concussion, respectively.  From an objective standpoint, these injuries have far greater impacted the line than the ones suffered by Charlotte.  There can be no doubt Milwaukee can be fully focused for this contest. They have already faced the Hornets twice this season, losing to them both times in OT.  That means Charlotte has beaten Milwaukee 7 consecutive times.  Under 1st year HC Jason Kidd, Milwaukee has been one of the most improved teams in the NBA.  Last year, the Bucks were at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings at 15-67 SU.  They have already matched that win total this season.  That improvement has shown up in the pointspread column.  For the YTD, Milwaukee is 21-10 ATS, including 13-5 ATS on the road.  On Saturday night, Milwaukee dropped a 90-85 decision at home to Atlanta.  That sets up a situation that finds Milwaukee to be 11-3 ATS following a loss.   

The value in NBA odds for this matchup, combined with the Milwaukee revenge motive and their record off a loss, make this the standout play of the night in the NBA.

Free NBA Picks: Take Milwaukee Bucks +3 (-109) at Pinnacle Sports

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