Jordan’s NBA Picks: 49-33
Milwaukee (58-20 SU & 46-29 ATS) at Philadelphia (49-29 SU & 36-42 ATS)
Thursday, 8:00 PM EST, TNT
Free NBA Pick: OVER 1H
Best Line Offered: Pinnacle
The Bucks have been periodically resting guys over the last few games with the top spot in the East almost locked up, but it looks like they will go full bore on Thursday to try and lock up the one seed facing a resting and tired Sixers team.
Meaningful And Meaningless Game
For the Sixers, this game means very little after their last two losses. I think the difference between the three and four seed means very little to the Sixers, who almost surely wouldn’t mind falling down to fourth in order to face the Pacers in the first round.
After their last two losses, the Sixers’ magic number to lock up the three seed is two games, but playing on no rest and without Joel Embiid is going to make that very difficult. Without Embiid the Sixers defense takes a big hit as they have to rely on a timeshare at center that is in no way good defensively.
With a team like the Bucks coming to town, that could lead to some high scoring games. However, these two teams still have the ability to play tough defense and the second half could be very different from the first.
The Sharp Pick
So, when you look at this game, the first half could be pretty lax between the two defenses. The Bucks have had a full two days off in between their last game and they should feel pretty confident coming into this one facing a tired team without Embiid.
On top of that, the Bucks and Sixers have been very good on offense in the first halves of their recent games. The Sixers are averaging 62.8 points per first half over their last five games and at home this season they are averaging 61.5 first half points.
The Bucks have been just as hot lately. They are averaging 64.6 first half points per game over their last five and they are giving up 55.2 points during that stretch. Considering the Sixers have allowed over 60 first half points per game over their last five, I see the over as a strong first half play tonight. The Sixers are also posting an offensive rating of 117.8 in the first halves of their home games this season, which ranks fourth-best in the league.
If you look back at the games these two have played lately, they are also really good at cashing the over in the first half. Their last game against one another just a few weeks ago had a half time score of 62-53 and the game before that their score was 64-71 at the half.
I could see a similarly high scoring first half on Thursday, especially if the Bucks and Sixers both try to push the pace against one another.