Saturday, March 2, 2024

NBA Betting Picks for Thursday 2/8/24: Will the Bucks Fend Off the Timberwolves?

Must read

The 82-game NBA regular season offers us a wide variety of betting options, including point spreads, moneylines, and totals. The Association features 1,230 regular season games, which can make sifting through the odds an overwhelming task.

However, various advanced statistics can help narrow the choices. numberFire’s NBA power rankings and daily projections paired with advanced stats from the NBA can help give the inside track to winning big.

While utilizing some of the mentioned tools, which NBA odds from FanDuel Sportsbook look like the best bets today?

Please note lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published.

NBA Best Bets

Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn Nets

Under 225.0 (-110)

During the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ seven-game winning streak, the under is 5-2. With numberFire’s projections suggesting the under, I like the trend to continue with Cleveland visiting the Brooklyn Nets.

The Cavaliers certainly have defense covered, boasting the league’s second-best rating while giving up the third-fewest points per game (PPG). The Nets tout the 14th-worst offense rating, totaling 114.1 PPG (11th-worst).

When Brooklyn gets the ball rolling, it’s usually thanks to the three-ball, with the Nets averaging the sixth-most three-point shots per game. However, the three-point attack has been a bit lacking over the last two games. Brooklyn is shooting 33.3% during the span, and they totaled 12.5 three-point makes per game — compared to their season average of 13.9 (sixth-most).

The Cavs surrender the ninth-fewest three-point attempts and makes per contest. Cleveland also has exceptional defenders in Donovan Mitchell (107.8 defensive rating) and Max Strus (110.1 defensive rating), two guys who can help slow the Nets’ top two leading scorers — Mikal Bridges (21.9 PPG) and Cameron Thomas (21.4 PPG).

The pace of both teams also gives further support to the under, with each squad ranking among the top 11 slowest tempos. Cleveland could look to slow down the game even more versus a Brooklyn squad that averages the fourth-most shots per game. The Cavaliers could have the rebounding advantage, too, with the 6th-best defensive rebounding percentage while the Nets have the 14th-best mark in that category.

With Cleveland holding their last 10 opponents to 106.7 PPG and with Brooklyn totaling only 102.5 PPG over their last two, I’m backing the under for Thursday’s clash.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Milwaukee Bucks

Bucks -1.0 (-110)

The Minnesota Timberwolves against the Milwaukee Bucks looks to be the top matchup of the day, with the T-Wolves holding the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference while the Bucks have the No. 3 seed in the East. Minnesota’s defense (first in rating) against Milwaukee’s offense (fourth in rating) will likely draw most of the attention. Whoever gains the upper hand on that side of things could emerge as the victor.

The Bucks are on a bit of a slide, losing four of their last five games. During this span, they are averaging only 113.2 PPG, compared to their season average of 123.3 PPG (second-most). Milwaukee’s efficiency has simply not been there, which is unusual as the team holds the league’s third-best effective field goal percentage (eFG%). It’s likely only a matter of time until this unit catches fire once again.

Even with the top defensive rating in basketball, Minnesota has shown some cracks in its armor over the last four games. First off, opponents are averaging 27.8 free throw attempts per game; the Wolves have surrendered only 22.0 free throws on the season (seventh-fewest). This increase could be trouble against the Bucks, who average 26.3 free throw tries each contest (second-best).

Additionally, Minnesota has given up at least 54 points in the paint in two of the last three games. This is out of character for a team that allows only 45.8 points in the paint per game (second-fewest) and is led by Rudy Gobert (107.9 defensive rating) and Karl-Anthony Towns (109.6 defensive rating) in the frontcourt.

The Timberwolves’ meh paint defense of late also gives Giannis Antetokounmpo (31.3 PPG) a chance to feast as 75.6% of his field goals are within 10 feet of the rim. Attacking the rim may take the center stage for the Bucks as their top three-point shooter, Damian Lillard, could be absent due to an ankle sprain.

Milwaukee’s defense has the 13th-worst rating in the league, but it could have the tools to slow Minnesota. The Bucks tout the 9th-best mark in opponent eFG% and give up the 10th-fewest three-point attempts. Both directly combat the T-Wolves’ strengths on offense, as Minnesota carries the eighth-best eFG% and third-best three-point percentage.

Minnesota is 1-3 against the spread (ATS) over their previous four road games, and Milwaukee is 5-1 in their last six home contests. Give me the Bucks to cover and win at home.

Chicago Bulls at Memphis Grizzlies

Under 216.5 (-112)

If you like explosive offenses and high-scoring games, shield your eyes from the Chicago Bulls against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Bulls total the sixth-fewest PPG and have the ninth-worst offensive rating while the Grizzlies rank last in PPG paired with the worst offensive rating in the league.

Injuries only further hurt both units. Chicago will be without Zach LaVine (19.5 PPG) and Patrick Williams (10.0 PPG). Of course, it’s been one blow after another for Memphis; Ja Morant (25.1 PPG) is out for the season, Desmond Bane (24.4 PPG) will miss his 14th straight game with an ankle injury, and Jaren Jackson Jr. (22.1 PPG) is questionable.

As you probably guessed, the Grizzlies have not been lighting up scoreboards, and things probably won’t change soon. They have averaged only 102.6 PPG over their last 10 games. Chicago has a solid defense, with the 15th-best rating, and gives up the fewest points in the paint per game. Memphis seems in store for another low-scoring night as they average the least points in the paint. The Grizzlies also attempt the fifth-most threes per contest, but they could be without three of their top five three-point shooters.

The D has still been there for Memphis as they have the 10th-best defensive rating. With the sixth-worst eFG%, the Bulls could stumble on offense against an above-average defense. Chicago has managed to increase their point total to 120.3 PPG over their last three games while shooting 36.6% from three (35.7% on the season). But the Grizz also feature a solid perimeter defense, giving up the 13th-fewest three-point shots per game.

Both defenses are among the top five in the fewest field goal attempts allowed each contest.

I’m siding with numberFire’s suggestion of taking the under. numberFire’s model projects this game to total just 212.7 points.

Dive into the action with FanDuel Sportsbook’s No Sweat Same Game Parlay for the upcoming Mavericks vs Knicks and Nuggets vs Lakers games on February 8th. See the promotions page for more information.

Looking for the latest NBA odds? Head over to FanDuel Sportsbook and check out all of the NBA betting options.

Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook and FanDuel Daily Fantasy today!

The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author’s advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.

Latest article