L.A. Lakers vs. Milwaukee Bucks
The first of our NBA picks is a total play involving the Lakers and their road matchup with Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, and the Bucks. The O/U can be found at either 208 or 208.5.
Milwaukee has been on an awful run, losing four in a row and seven of their last nine. Subsequently, the Bucks have moved to 34-36 SU, yet still hold the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference by 6.5 games over Philadelphia.
As for the Lakers, they ended a three-game losing run (@PHO, vs. WAS, @GS) by beating Minnesota by three last night.
Kobe Bryant had 31 points (12-of-21 FG) and seven assists and Dwight Howard put up 25 points, 16 rebounds, five blocks, and five steals, as the Lakers shot 53.7 percent overall and 45.5 percent (10-of-22 FG) from three.
Grinding out the win, despite committing 20 turnovers and hitting a horrific 57.9 percent from the line, is a good sign for the Lakers as they head into the final stretch of the regular season.
Why a total play for tonight? L.A. has still been terrible on the defensive end, allowing 106.0 PPG over their last five. Plus, the Bucks have given up 100.9 PPG in home games this season, leading us to believe we could be in for a shootout. The Lakers don't have the perimeter quickness to stifle Ellis/Jennings, while Milwaukee's shaky interior defense will likely have fits with Howard/Gasol.
Indiana Pacers vs. Dallas Mavericks
Both the Pacers and Mavericks are playing good ball right now, but ultimately this game means more to Dallas and that's one reason why we like them as part of this teaser. Current NBA odds list the Mavericks as 3.5-point favorites.
Indiana has won five of six, including home wins over Atlanta and Milwaukee and a road victory against Houston. That said, the Mavericks have won three straight (LAC, UTA, BOS), all of which came on their home floor.
Dallas has gone 9-3 SU over their last 12, with their only losses coming at the hands of Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and Brooklyn. During that span they've recorded a profitable 8-4 ATS mark.
Dirk Nowitzki is playing at a high level and is coming off a 33-point outburst in that nice home win over the L.A. Clippers. He's been the guiding force during this improved stretch, having averaged 20.2 PPG (on 54.7 percent shooting) and 8.3 RPG over his last ten games.
The Pacers did just notch a good road win over Houston, but they haven't been great by any stretch of the imagination away from home on the season. They're just 16-19 SU in road contests overall.
So while Indiana has covered in five straight meetings with Dallas, we believe that run comes to an end tonight. Dirk and the Mavs are making a late-season surge and we feel they'll be the much hungrier team.
4.5-Point Teaser: Bucks/Lakers OVER 203.5 & Mavericks +1 (ties win ? +101)
The Lakers defense isn't getting any better, especially with one of their best defenders in Metta World Peace out until at least early May. On the other side, Milwaukee will have trouble containing the twin tower combo of Howard and Gasol inside, which should translate into a lot of easy buckets for the Lakers.To wrap up our sports picks, we think the Mavericks are the play at home once again. They've figured out a rotation that's producing results and everyone has seemed to adapt to their roles well. Indiana is obviously strong opposition, but they struggle to maintain a consistent high level of play on the road.