Milwaukee Bucks to Cover ATS is the NBA Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, December 26, 2014 4:56 PM GMT

Friday, Dec. 26, 2014 4:56 PM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Friday.

 

The team that may be the hottest in the NBA may have difficulty covering the rather large spread Friday night against a team seemingly on the rise when the young Milwaukee Bucks (14-15, 7-10 away) pay a visit to the red-hot Atlanta Hawks (21-7, 13-2 home) at Philips Arena in Atlanta, GA at 7:35 ET in a game televised available on SportSouth.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Milwaukee as a decided underdog for this contest with the current line at +8½ with odds of +100.


Not a Laughing Stock Any More
The Bucks had the worst record in the NBA last year at 15-67, netting them the preseason Rookie of the Year favorite in Jabari Parker with the second pick in the draft. The Bucks are now already almost at that win total at 14-15 overall including a respectable 7-10 on the road, but unfortunately Parker was lost for the season to a torn ACL five games ago. The good news is that Milwaukee has had good depth and has still topped 100 points each of the last three games.

The Hawks have certainly caught fire by being the wining NBA picks in 14 of their last 15 games, and at 21-7 they have pulled to within one-half game of the 22-7 Toronto Raptors for the best record in the Eastern Conference. Still, that does not mean they will have an easy time covering this spread as Atlanta’s average winning margin this season has been +5.8 points.


Most Bench Points in the NBA
Many people may not realize that the Bucks lead the NBA in bench points with their 44.4 points per game, and while losing Parker and his 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in what was looking to be a fine rookie campaign was obviously a big blow, the play of the bench has eased his loss and allowed the Bucks to remain productive.

No, Milwaukee is not an offensive juggernaut ranking 19th in the league with 99.6 points per game, but that is still up from the Bucks’ 28th ranking last season when they averaged just 95.5 points and as we alluded to earlier Milwaukee is averaging 100.8 points in the last five games without Jabari and taking it back further, the Bucks are averaging 103.0 points in their last 16 games overall while topping 100 points 13 times and scoring a minimum of 96 points!

Granted the defense is only 21st on points against at 101.2 points per contest but the Bucks have not been quite that bad, as they have quickened their tempo this season ranking 10th in the NBA in Pace Rating and are actually in the upper half of the league in 13th in defensive efficiency while allowing opponents to shoot 45.6 percent.


Balanced Scoring with No Stars
Now there can be no denying that the Hawks are hot as they have won five straight games since their only loss in the last 15 games by one point at Orlando, and their latest win over the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday means that all five wins during the current streak have come vs. probable top playoff teams in Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Dallas and those Clippers. Then again, that could make this game vs. a probable also-ran a dangerous letdown spot.

And the Hawks do not really have that one true superstar but rather have all five starters averaging in double-digits, paced by Jeff Teague (16.5 points per game) and Paul Millsap (16.2). That approach usually results in good regular season results but some struggles in the playoffs without a real go-to guy at crunch time, but that remains to be seen as of now.

And interestingly only one of the Hawks’ last six wins have been by more than seven points, so they are almost at the point of becoming a bit overvalued as we simply do not feel that Atlanta is as good as its recent play would lead some to believe.


Milwaukee Has Been Resilient after ATS Loss
Finally, the Bucks have been quite resilient in not failing to cover spreads in consecutive games, as they are 17-5-1 ATS the last 23 times they have come off of an ATS loss. Milwaukee is now looking to atone for a 108-101 home loss to Charlotte on Tuesday.

So in the end, the Hawks may remain hot on the court but we feel that Milwaukee will give them all that they can handle, so take the rather big points in Atlanta on Friday.

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NBA Pick: Bucks +8½ (+100)

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