Our analysts are on a pair of those later games, including a first-half spread between the Suns and Wizards and the defending champion Bucks on the road in Portland against a Trail Blazers team that just traded some key contributors on Friday.
Here are our two favorite NBA bets from Saturday’s slate.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Phoenix Suns vs. Washington Wizards||7 p.m. ET|
|Milwaukee Bucks vs. Portland Trail Blazers||10 p.m. ET|
Phoenix Suns vs. Washington Wizards
|Pick||Suns 1H -4.5|
|Tipoff||7 p.m. ET|
Austin Wang: The Phoenix Suns have been incredible this season and look poised to make another run to the NBA Finals. Chris Paul is playing at such a high level, averaging 11.9 assists per game and shooting over 50% from the field since the beginning of January. Devin Booker has scored 30-plus points in four out of his last six games. DeAndre Ayton and Jae Crowder are healthy and back in the rotation.
This team is elite at both ends of the floor, ranking third in Offensive Rating (113.0) and second in Defensive Rating (105.4), per NBA Advanced Stats. They have the depth to match up against bigs (Javale McGee and Bismack Biyombo) or go smaller with versatile swingmen like Crowder, Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson.
They just had their 11-game winning streak snapped by the Atlanta Hawks last game, and I don’t imagine they are very happy about it.
They’ll face the Washington Wizards, fresh off breaking a six-game losing streak against the Philadelphia 76ers in Philadelphia. They’ve been on a freefall lately and have gone 2-12 ATS in their last 14 games. They will be without Bradley Beal for the third consecutive game.
This is a classic let-down spot for the Wizards and a prime bounce-back spot for the Suns.
The Suns have been road warriors this season. They are 19-4 SU, 15-8 ATS and have the No. 1 Net Rating in the league on the road.
Without Beal, the Wizards lack a consistent playmaker and have really struggled on offense. They are dead-last in the league in Offensive Rating in their previous five games.
Teams below .500 off a three-game (or more) road trip where they won their last game and return home as underdogs don’t perform very well, going 23-49-1 ATS, per the Sports Data Query Language at Gimme the Dog. This is active as a fade against the Wizards. These below-average teams in this situation tend to have a let-down spot upon returning home after finally getting that win.
I am taking the Suns in any way I can, but there’s one angle I am particularly fond of. The Wizards are one of the worst first-half teams in the NBA with a 17-32-3 ATS record in the first half. The Suns have done well in the first half, especially on the road where they are 15-8 ATS in the first half.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Portland Trail Blazers
|Tipoff||10 p.m. ET|
Brandon Anderson: And so it begins for the Blazers, or perhaps it’s more fitting to call this the beginning of the end.
After many weeks of rumors, the Portland teardown finally began in earnest on Friday with the first big trade of the season. The Blazers sent out Norm Powell and Robert Covington and got back … well, not a lot. Keon Johnson and a future second round pick are the only real future value returning, while Eric Bledsoe is a strange fit and may not play much on his expiring deal.
This was a salary dump for Portland, and it leaves the Blazers shorthanded and likely headed toward a tank with Damian Lillard also out indefinitely. The tank could start in earnest Saturday night against a Bucks team that’s pretty much fully loaded. Milwaukee is taking some lumps of its own lately, but there’s little question that the defending champs should be able to take care of a game like this with little more than a bump in the road, especially with Portland so shorthanded on the wing.
I won’t be surprised if Portland totally bottoms out the rest of this season, and if the players think that too, there could be some morale drop after a deal like this happens and reality begins to set in. I expect Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday to take care of business with ease.