NBA Picks: Bucks vs. Lakers

Joe Catalano

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 3:21 PM GMT

Don't get too excited, but the Lakers finally played a decent game. Are the Lakers starting to find their feet, or should bettors back the Milwaukee Bucks with their sports picks tonight? Read to find out who we are adding to our free NBA picks here.

After a 20 point beating of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dwight Howard took the lead role and said that he thinks the Lakers (16-21) will start to turn it around. The Lakers have an opportunity to make it two in a row as they face a beatable Milwaukee Bucks (19-17) team.

Tip-off is scheduled for Tuesday, 10:30 pm ET at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

NBA odds currently list the Lakers as a 7 point betting favorite, while the total for the game sits at 211.5

The Lakers always get the respect with the odds makers. If this was another team with a similar record, they would be lucky to be a favorite. I know the Lakers are coming off of a huge win, but it was over an awful Cavaliers club. The Bucks, however, are a legitimate playoff contender.

[gameodds]5/134290/43/us[/gameodds]

Superman is back?

In their recent victory, we finally were able to see the Los Angeles Lakers team that we have been expecting to see. As was planned, Nash was dishing out the assists, Kobe was scoring, and Dwight Howard was scoring and rebounding. The question is “will this style of play continue?

This performance was without the aid of Pau Gasol. Earl Clark has filled in for Gasol and quite frankly, he has done a better job than Gasol has this season as a starter. In his last 3 games, Clark is averaging 15 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

Could Pau Gasol be the problem, or is team chemistry to blame? The Lakers might not be so eager to see the Spaniard return if Clark keep’s playing like this. Look for another strong outting out of Earl Clark. Having Larry Sanders in the middle will make things difficult for L.A., but Clark looks to be a formidable player when starting.

Rejected!!!

We knew that Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings would lead the Milwaukee Bucks offensively on a nightly basis, but what we didn’t know was the defensive prowess of Larry Sanders. If Sanders keeps up this pace, he could set many records where blocked shots are concerned. He’s also just the type of player that can give the Lakers fits.

On the 8th and 9th of January, Sanders had 6 and 7 blocks respectively. In his last 5 games, he’s averaging 4.4 blocks to go along with 8.4 points and 9 rebounds per game. He’s the perfect complimentary player for a basketball team with 2 legitimate scoring threats in Jennings and Ellis. Look for lots of rejections between the combination of Larry Sanders and Dwight Howard.

Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings

Although their points per game averages are similar, Ellis is more of the pure scorer. That being said, it’s Jennings that’s been leading the Bucks lately. Brandon Jennings can do so many different things for a guy that weighs just about 170 pounds soaking wet.

Jennings has shot a dismal 40% from the field this season, but he suits so many purposes and still gets his points that it hasn’t affected the Bucks. Brandon Jennings is coming off of a double- double (a 20-10 game) in a victory over Toronto. In his last 10 games, Jennings is averaging 21.6 points, 6 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game.

The Bucks have had much more success in games where Jennings has played well compared to games that he’s played poorly. The Lakers are a tough test for Jennings, but he has momentum on his side. Look for him to play well at the Staples Center.

Milwaukee has won 3 out of their last 4 games.

Outcome

I expect both teams to play well here in a competitive game. That said, I don’t think that the Lakers are deserving of being a 7 point betting favorite against a team such as Milwaukee. Add the Bucks and the points to your NBA picks tonight.

NBA Picks: Milwaukee +7