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Pistons vs. Trail Blazers (-6.5) 7:00 p.m. ET
We have a team that is contending for the playoffs versus a team that will be competing for the No. 1 pick. The Blazers are 23-18 for the season and sit at the 6th seed, barely missing the play-in tournament, while the Pistons are 13-33 and sitting at the 15th seed. They are tied with the Rockets as the 2nd worst team in the entire league. This spread of -6.5 doesn’t make sense, and the public agrees as 70% are on Portland’s spread. Even though the Pistons are a terrible team, they are 12-9ATS at home. The Pistons tonight will be without 5 of their rotation players as Dennis Smith JR, Jahlil Okafor, Rodney McGruder, Killian Hayes, and Wayne Ellington are all out. Detroit is led by Jerami Grant, who is averaging 22.6 ppg. Other than Grant, the rest of the Pistons are bad offensively. They rank 27th FG%, 22nd 3P%, and dead last for FGM. This is a perfect matchup for the Blazers, who might be amazing on offense but are bad defensively as they ranked 29th Defensive Rating. The Blazers are undefeated in their last 3 games and have won 6 out of their last 8. Portland is 7th 3P%, 9th ORB, and second in FT%. It’s always vital to have a favorite be good from the charity stripe, especially at the end of games. This is why I’m following the public with my pick.
The pick: Trail Blazers -6.5
Bulls vs. Suns (-7.5) 10:00 p.m. ET
The public loves Phoenix tonight as 64% of the bets are on the Suns’ spread. The Suns are one of the best teams this year as they sit in the 2nd seed in the West. The addition of Chris Paul has brought the entire organization from the league’s laughing stock to an actual NBA team. Instead of looking at the spread, I decided to look at the total set at 217 points. The public is rooting for points as 72% of the picks are on the over. The under has gone 5-2 in the past 7 games for the Suns. During their last 5 games, the Suns have averaged only 108.6 ppg. For the Bulls, the under has gone 8-2 in their last 10 games. They have averaged just 99 ppg in their last 5 games. That is with their entire roster, which they will probably not have tonight as both Zach LaVine and Colby White are questionable. The Suns don’t have injuries, but they play on a back-to-back with no rest as they played against the Atlanta Hawks last night. The Suns and Bulls are both decent defensive teams as Phoneix is 3rd in ppg allowed, 7th in FG%, and 2nd in 3P%. Chicago is 4th in 3P% allowed and has a 16th defensive rating. This is why I’m fading the public tonight.
The pick: Under 217 points
Lakers vs. Bucks (-8.5) 10:00 p.m. ET
On paper, this should be a great late game with the Bucks and Lakers both competing for the Finals. The Lakers are 4th in the West, and the Bucks are 3rd in the East. This could be a matchup for the Finals in a couple of months, except by then, the Lakers will hopefully have Anthony Davis and LeBron James healthy. Los Angeles is without their best players, and the Bucks got blown out by the Clippers in their last game. The public doesn’t care about Milwaukee’s recent struggles as 67% of bets are on the Bucks spread. I agreed with the public the last time the Bucks were blown out was 12/27, when they lost 110-130 to the Knicks. Two days later, they played the Heat and won 144-97. The Bucks are a great team, and they will find their offense again against an injured Lakers squad. When matching up the starting 5 of both the Lakers and Bucks, Milwaukee has the superior player in every spot. Jrue Holiday > Dennis Schroder, Donte DiVencenzo, and Kentavious Cadwell Pope is the closest, Khris Middelton > Kyle Kuzma, Giannis Antetokounmpo > Markieff Morris, Brook Lopez > Andre Drummond. This is why I’m following the public and picking Bucks -8.5. This isn’t the only pick I like for this game, as the total is set at 221.5 points. The public can’t decide which way to pick as 50% are both on the over and under. In their last 3 games, the under for Los Angeles has gone 3-0, and in their last 7, it’s gone 6-1. The Lakers have struggled to score without LeBron and AD as they have scored fewer than 101 points in 5 of their last 6. The Bucks also have their offensive struggles as in their last 2 games; they are averaging under 100.5ppg. The Bucks and Lakers both have a top 10 defense as the Bucks have a 9th Defensive Rating, and the Lakers have the best Defensive Rating in the entire league. This is why I love the under in this game.
The picks: Bucks -8.5, and Under 221.5 points