A very short two-game slate on Thursday night will see four high-scoring teams in action. We break down how to handle the high totals and handicaps for these two games.
Firstly, the slumping Portland Trail Blazers are up against the confident Milwaukee Bucks, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo. One of the most important considerations for this game is the discernible absence of Damian Lillard. Carmelo Anthony’s debut with the Trail Blazers was middling at best. Other injury concerns to Hassan Whiteside (hip) and Anfernee Simons (left ankle) worsen Portland’s chances against a team that is nearly at the top of their game.
Antetokounmpo had 33 points in a high-scoring win against the Hawks. He was ably led by Eric Bledsoe’s 28 points. The Bucks have shown they can win pretty in high-scorers and scrappily in low-scoring games. It’s no surprise, therefore, that they are double-digit favorites in this one. I can’t see Portland upsetting Milwaukee at home, but they might be able to prevent the Bucks from covering the spread if they start well.
The only other game on Thursday is the struggling New Orleans Pelicans at Talking Stick Resort Arena to face the Phoenix Suns. This is also a game that will be heavily impacted by injuries to both teams.
For the Pels, Lonzo Ball is officially listed as “questionable”, but they will be buoyed by the presence of Brandon Ingram, who returned to the starting line-up with 21 points in a 115-104 win over the Trail Blazers. Ricky Rubio, Frank Kaminsky, Cameron Johnson and Dario Saric are all day-to-day, so watch the status of these players nearing tip-off.
The O/U handicap is understandably high considering the inefficiency of these defensive units. The Pelicans average 115.6 points per game (fifth in the NBA) and the Suns post 115 points a game (sixth in the NBA). In terms of form, the Suns have lost three of their previous four games, while the Pelicans have a reverse record, having won three of their last four.
Here are the point spreads and the O/U totals for these two games:
Trail Blazers @ Bucks (-11.5, 231) 8:00 p.m. ET
Pelicans @ Suns (-4.5, 234.5) 10:30 p.m. ET
Note: Bets and DFS players will lock at those specific game times.
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