There are so many ways to bet an NBA game, but for those bettors who can’t bear to sweat the full 48 minutes, there are other markets that offer more instant satisfaction. One of those markets is the Race to 15 Points. It’s as simple as the name suggests: The first team to hit 15 points cashes the bet.
We’ve hit the final week of the regular season and injury management will be an important thing to monitor for teams that have little to play for due to their success or failure to this point. Let’s dive into today’s first to 15 odds and picks.
Chicago Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks
|First to 15 Odds||Bulls: +142 | Bucks: -184|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
The Milwaukee Bucks are rolling right now, sitting at the top of the Eastern conference standing with a three-game lead on the Celtics. Yet, if you look at the injury report, their MVP is probable to play in a game he could easily sit out.
The Bucks have won the Race to 15 in their past 11 games, have the best overall percentage in the NBA this season (65.8%) and reach 15 points at the third-fastest rate in the league.
Over their past 10 games, only the Atlanta Hawks average more points in the first quarter than the Bucks, but Milwaukee has the best point differential over that span. The Bulls are 29th in first quarter scoring in their past 10 games with the ninth-worst point-differential in the league over that span.
There’s a possibility, albeit a slim one, that this is a first-round playoff series. If the Bucks are indeed going to play their top guys, I’d expect them to look to put this away early and keep their first to 15 streak rolling. I’m all over the Bucks here despite the number.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. New Orleans Pelicans
|First to 15 Odds||Grizzlies: +110 | Pelicans: -140|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
It’s rare that the Grizzlies are dogs in this market. They destroy teams early nearly as frequently as the Bucks this season with a 63.3% win rate in the Race to 15 standings. Ja Morant likely won’t be available — he’s doubtful with hip soreness — but the Grizzlies have been really good in first quarters in their past 10 games.
The Pelicans have been really good, too. The Pelicans (+4.9) and Grizzlies (+4.3) are second and third in first quarter point differential. They are fifth (31.5) and eighth (30.4) respectively in first quarter scoring over that span as well. Both teams have also cashed eight of their past 10 Race to 15 bets.
As evenly-matched as these teams have been, I think the Grizzlies being underdogs here is entirely tied to the status of Morant. We’ve seen the Grizzlies play just as well with or without Morant in the lineup. I’ll take the rare opportunity to bet the Grizzlies as dogs.