Tuesday features a two-game NBA slate, with the action getting underway at 6:30 p.m. ET with the Bucks vs. Heat. Milwaukee will need another win to stave off elimination. The Bucks were able to put together a gutty win in Game 4 after losing Giannis Antetokounmpo, but they still have a long way to go to keep their title hopes alive.
After that, we have Game 3 between the Rockets and Lakers at 9 p.m. ET. The Lakers took Game 2 after dropping Game 1, which sets up an important contest for both teams. Whoever wins Game 3 of a tied series goes on to win at a roughly 75% clip.
Let’s break down some of my favorite bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for Tuesday’s slate.
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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat:
The big question going into this contest is the status of Antetokounmpo. He is expected to be a game-time decision after aggravating his ankle injury in Game 4. He was able to do some very light work at practice on Monday, and according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Antetokounmpo feels very similarly to how he felt prior to Game 5. This feels like a true 50-50 in terms of his availability.
If he’s in, grabbing the Bucks at +2.5 feels like a nice value. The Bucks were favored by roughly six points in the first game of this series, so this line has moved by approximately eight points over a pretty short period of time. Maybe that opening line was too high, but this ultimately feels like an overreaction to a small sample size of games.
If Giannis is out, the Bucks should still have a fighting chance. Their offense actually looked better at times without Giannis since they were able to space the floor with all five players. As great as Giannis is, his offensive game is a bit limited when he can’t get to the rim, and the Heat have done a great job of guarding the rim in this series.
The sharps also appear to be interested in the Bucks. They’ve received just 19% of the spread bets at the time of writing, but those bets have accounted for 54% of the money wagered.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle) has been ruled out for tonight’s game vs. the Heat.
Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers:
Virtually everything went wrong for the Rockets in their last game. They couldn’t stop Anthony Davis, who had an absolute field day on the interior. He finished with 34 points on 62.5% shooting from the field. The Lakers also had an offensive rebound rate of 28.2%, which ranked in the 81st percentile according to Cleaning the Glass. The Rockets were always expected to struggle vs. Davis and on the glass, but they have to make the Lakers work a little harder in those areas moving forward.
Additionally, the Rockets got a dreadful performance from Russell Westbrook. He scored just 10 points on 4-15 shooting, and he also recorded seven turnovers.
With that in mind, how did the Rockets only lose their last game by eight points?
If they can get a better performance from Westbrook in Game 3 – and that’s not asking for much – I think they should be able to cover the spread.
NBA Draft Prop
Since there are only two games to choose from today, let’s take a look at an appealing prop bet for the upcoming NBA draft. The draft is set to take place on October 16th, so it’s not as far away as you think.
Toppin was one of the best players in college basketball this season, and he took home the Naismith Award, Wooden Award, and the AP Player of the Year. He was also a consensus All-American after averaging 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds for the 29-2 Dayton Flyers.
That said, it’s easy to envision a scenario where Toppin slides on draft night. For starters, Toppin is 22 years old. That may not sound very old, but it’s ancient for a top draft prospect. Most top prospects go pro just one year after graduating high school, but Toppin has been out of high school for four years at this point. The last 22-year-old to get drafted in the top four? Wesley Johnson all the way back in 2010. There have only been three 21-year-olds drafted in the top four since 2010 as well, so youth is definitely prioritized.
It’s also fair to question if Tobbin is that good of a prospect to begin with. CBS has him ranked No. 9 on their big board. ESPN has him at No. 6. The Ringer has him at No. 12.
The fact that we can grab the over on 4.5 at -118 is very sweet. I would be willing to play this prop at anything better than -200.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and I may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.