Chicago Bulls @ Milwaukee Bucks – BMO Harris Bradley Center at 01:00
It feels like both the Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks might have been listening to too much praise of how they have played at different times this season. There won’t be much praise in the air with the Bulls heading into this game having lost four of their last six games, while the Bucks are not in any better form having lost four of their last five including the last three in a row.
For a little while it looked like the Chicago Bulls might have been the biggest threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference, but that doesn’t look as likely now. Surprisingly both the Bulls and Bucks hold wins over Cleveland this season, but neither has shown the consistency that they can really build on that impressive game.
Milwaukee are a younger team than the Bulls and have a little more inexperience to deal with which is going to produce some inconsistent moments. The Bucks have just had a few problems on the Defensive side of the court that they need to resolve, but Chicago have not exactly been lighting things up Offensively. The Bulls have really struggled from the three point range in recent games and Milwaukee look to have a definite edge in that aspect of the game.
However it is Chicago who look stronger on the boards which can make up for poor three point shooting, although I do like how Milwaukee have played when it comes to getting some support from the bench. The Bucks have been a strong team to back when hosting a team with a winning record as they are 5-2 against the spread in that spot and they have been solid as a small favourite.
My concern is how well Chicago have matched up with Milwaukee in recent games with a strong record against the spread in that time too. However I do think the Bucks can cover the spread in the first of this home and home series as they have been a little better Offensively which can make the difference in a close game.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Milwaukee -2 at 1.97
Portland Trail Blazers @ Denver Nuggets – Pepsi Center at 02:00
The Portland Trail Blazers are hoping the blow out win over the Oklahoma City Thunder can give them the confidence to get their season back on track. Not many in the locker room would have predicted they would have a losing record after twenty-seven games and the majority of the issues have come on the road where Portland have a 5-10 record.
They’ve been close to turning things around, but Portland have failed to close the show on a number of games in recent weeks. The Trail Blazers have lost by 2 points at Memphis and 1 point at the LA Clippers but there are signs they are improving on the Defensive side of the court and start putting a strong run together.
It is a very good chance for Portland to begin that run by following up the win over the Thunder by winning at the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets have a 3-7 record at home this season and have lost six of their last eight games and they are just having a few issues that need to be resolved at the moment.
The Nuggets have not defended the three point arc well enough and their overall Defensive performance has not been up to scratch in their recent games. The only saving grace for Denver is that they should be much superior on the boards and that will give them a chance, but failing to defend the three point shot is only going to give the Trail Blazers the edge in this game overall.
I am surprised they are the underdog in this game and I do think Portland can improve their 7-2 record against the spread in their last nine games in Denver. They have not been a great small underdog to back this season, but Portland can reverse that here and I will take the points with the road team and look for them to cover.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Portland +2 at 1.95
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