Inside the Paint – Sunday

Odds per [...]

(Straight Up – SU, Against the Spread – ATS)

Philadelphia (34-27 SU, 34-26-1 ATS) at Milwaukee (33-29 SU, 25-32-2 ATS)
Opening Odds: 76ers -1, Total 210

ESPN will offer up a quality primetime matchup on Sunday at 8:05 p.m. ET as the Bucks and 76ers square off from the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Philadelphia currently holds a 1 ½-game lead over Milwaukee for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race and if recent form holds for both teams, that gap could widen.

The 76ers are 9-2 in their last 11 and have gone 4-2 since the All-Star break as they enter this matchup off a pair of impressive back-to-back wins. On Thursday, the club earned an eye-opening 108-97 road victory over Cleveland on Thursday before rallying past Charlotte 110-99 on Friday. I thought the Hornets (+3 ½) were the right side in that game based on the short number and they were ahead for the majority of the game but Philadelphia outscored them 36-19 in the fourth quarter.

The recent additions of Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli didn’t make big headlines but those veterans can knock down jumpers. Ilyasova chipped in 18 points in his first home game since he rejoined the team on Friday and while Belinelli isn’t a great defensive player, he’s a dangerous sharpshooter. On a side note, is it safe to say that Philadelphia is the only team in the league that can win with a lineup of five international players?

Whoever is on the court, it's apparent that the confidence is growing for Philadelphia and head coach Brett Brown appears to be in playoff mode already. He said, “We're closer than we've ever been to achieving a pretty significant goal. We don't feel like we're there at all, and I don't see complacency creeping in there.”

While the self-esteem is high in Philadelphia, the same can’t be said for Milwaukee. The Bucks have dropped four in a row both SU and ATS, and that losing skid was preceded with a quality overtime win at Toronto. The first two setbacks during this skid came by a combined five points while the recent losses to the Pistons (110-87) and Pacers (103-96) showed their flaws on offense.

Milwaukee is clearly having issues scoring as the team deals with the 'war of attrition.' Jason Terry, a 40-year-old veteran, started in Friday’s loss to Indiana and that shows you how banged up the Bucks are in the backcourt. Guards Malcolm Brogdon (quad) and Matthew Dellavedova (ankle) aren't expected to come back until later this month but the team should get Tony Snell (thigh) in the lineup on Sunday.

Even though the odds are short for this contest, Milwaukee will likely close as a home underdog and it’s gone 1-2 both SU and ATS in that role this season. Prior to last Thursday’s win at the Cavaliers, the 76ers were just 1-6 in their previous seven road games and winning away from home (14-17 SU, 14-16-1 ATS) is something they haven’t been good at this season. The Bucks have gone 19-13 SU at the Bradley Center this season but they’ve burned bettors with a 9-19-4 ATS mark.

A couple weeks ago, I brought up a total angle on the 76ers as road favorites. Philadelphia is 5-5 SU and 4-6 ATS this season when laying points as a visitor but the ‘over’ has now gone 9-1 in those games. They’ve only held one team under 100 points during this span and only one of them had a winning record. Milwaukee does have offensive issues but the 76ers have had major lapses defensively on the road.

This will be the third encounter between the pair this season and each team has won on its home court already this season, both outcomes decided by double digits. The 76ers have gone 2-1 in their last three trips to Milwaukee, the loss taking place this season but they didn’t have Joel Embiid (rest) in the lineup.

These teams will meet on the final day of the regular season at Philadelphia and similar to this matchup, that contest could have playoff implications as well.

Sunday Night Traps?

Toronto (44-17 SU, 35-26 ATS) host Charlotte (28-35 SU, 26-33-4 ATS) on Sunday and it opened as a nine-point favorite but the early money pushed the number down to 8 ½ as of this morning. I thought this was spread was going to open Toronto -10 or -11 yet the books are still giving Charlotte a lot of respect despite its losing record.

The Hornets came out of the All-Star break with four straight wins albeit three of them were against teams below .500. Then the wheels fell off the wagon for the club with back-to-back losses to the Celtics (134-106) at home and the aforementioned collapse at the 76ers (110-99) this past Friday.

They now face the best team in the Eastern Conference in Toronto, who has won nine of its last 10 games and they’ve gone 8-2 ATS during this span. Expecting to win at the Air Canada Centre won’t be easy with the Raptors going 25-5 SU and 17-13 ATS there this season. What’s really separated Toronto from the field is its ability to dominate these weaker teams and they own a league-best 25-2 record against clubs with losing records.

Three of those victories came against Charlotte and the Raptors covered every outcome (126-113, 129-111, 123-103) by double digits plus the ‘over’ connected in each contests as well. Looking at all those numbers, you might be scratching your head as well with the money leaning to Charlotte and that’s where you have to pivot sometimes.

Another home favorite getting faded on Sunday is the L.A. Clippers (33-28 SU, 35-26 ATS) in their matchup against Brooklyn (20-43 SU, 35-27-1 ATS). Oddsmakers opened Los Angeles -9 ½ and the number is now -8 this morning and down to 7 ½ at a couple betting shops.

This move is another head-scratcher considering the Clippers have gone 8-3 since trading Blake Griffin and they find themselves in the thick of the playoff race. They’ll be facing a Nets team that pardon the over-used hoop expression - Lives and Dies by the Three. The pair just played in Brooklyn on Feb. 12 and the Clippers earned a 114-101 road win as 4 ½-point favorites. Including that loss, the Nets are 1-10 in their last 11 games and they’ve only managed to go 4-7 ATS during this span.

The Clippers bailed out bettors chasing on Friday with a 128-105 win, cover and 'over' ticket versus the Knicks. Los Angeles outscored New York 71-45 in the second-half as 'chalk' bettors lit up cigars. I'd be careful trying to catch that favorite-over combination again. 

Fearless Predictions

We got caught by San Antonio's fourth quarter collapse last night but still managed to turn a profit. It’s not an easy card tonight and I would tread lightly, especially for those playing catch-up on the last day of the week. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!

Mavericks +3 ½ over Pelicans

New Orleans has been on fire lately (7-0 SU, 6-1 ATS) but it’s been playing with danger in its last four games and I believe it will finally get caught. Dallas comes to play at home and it’s gone 1-1 SU and 2-0 ATS since the All-Star break at American Airlines Center. The Mavericks are 2-2 SU and 3-1 ATS in their last four matchups against the Pelicans and the losses came by five and three points. New Orleans hasn’t played since last Wednesday and they’re just 3-4 with three days or more of rest this season. With a key matchup pending at the Clippers on Tuesday, the look-ahead angle for the Pelicans is in play too.

Chris David can be reached at