Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:01 PM
Inside the Paint - Tuesday
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(SU – Straight Up, ATS – Against the Spread)
Game of the Night (10:05 p.m. ET)
Milwaukee (8-1 SU, 6-3 ATS) at Portland (7-3 SU, 7-3 ATS)
All eyes will be on the Moda Center on Tuesday as the Trail Blazers host the Bucks in a matchup of talented yet overlooked clubs. Portland enters this game with the third best record in the Western Conference while Milwaukee is second in the East behind a league-leading point differential of 15.8 points per game.
[...] opened Portland as a one-point home favorite and the line has flipped to Milwaukee -1 at some betting shops in what’s expected to be a tight game. The Trail Blazers have gone 4-2 both SU and ATS at home this season and that includes a 111-81 win over Minnesota as a six-point favorite this past Sunday.
The Bucks didn’t get caught looking ahead to this matchup either as they pasted Sacramento 144-109 as 10-point home favorites on Sunday afternoon. The win came after Milwaukee dropped its first game of the season last Thursday, a 117-113 close call against the Celtics from TD Garden. This will be the fourth road game of the season for the Bucks, who are 2-1 SU and 1-2 ATS on the road. If you believe the West is the more dominant conference, Milwaukee is 2-0 both SU and ATS in those non-conference matchups while Portland sits at 2-2 versus the East.
The Bucks have gotten the best of the Trail Blazers recently, winning four straight and six of the last seven matchups in this series. Last season, Milwaukee stole a 113-110 victory at home before winning 103-91 at the Moda Center. Tight games have been common as three of the six wins by the Bucks have come by three points or less during this span and Portland’s goal should be to stay within reach tonight.
As noted above, the Bucks point-differential is off the charts right now and Milwaukee has only played in two games decided by single digits this season. And they went 1-1 SU and 0-2 ATS in those games.
The reason for Milwaukee’s success is scoring, which has gone from 106.1 PPG to 121.9 PPG. The team is shooting 37.9 percent from 3-point land while taking 41 attempts from distance, one of only two clubs in the NBA to shoot 40-plus bombs a game. They just set a franchise record for most 3-pointers made in a game with a 22-of-56 effort against the Kings on Sunday.
Head coach Mike Budenholzer loves the ‘bombs away’ style and some of you may have forgotten but he did lead Atlanta to 60 wins and a top seed in the East in the 2014-15 season. While that Hawks squad was solid with four All-Stars, this Bucks team has a superstar in Giannis Antetokounmpo (26.1 PPG, 13.9 RPG, 5.9 APG) and an underrated group of players.
After tonight, the Bucks will get tested again on Thursday as they meet Golden State in the Bay Area. Portland has a couple more home games on deck (Clippers, Celtics) before they begin a six-game road trip which will feature a rematch against Milwaukee on Nov. 21.
The largest spread on the board Tuesday takes place from the Spectrum Center in North Carolina when Charlotte (5-5 SU, 7-3 ATS) hosts Atlanta (3-6 SU, 3-6 ATS) in a Southeast Division matchup. The Hornets opened as 11-point favorites and while the line may seem a tad high, you can make a strong case for the favorite in this spot. Charlotte cleans up on weaker teams and it’s record as a favorite (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS) has been solid, plus all four of those wins came by double digits. At home, the Hornets have notched wins versus the Bulls, Heat and Cavaliers while coming up short to the Bucks and Thunder which goes back to my ‘bully’ status on them.
The Hawks live and die from distance and you better hope they shoot a good percentage if you’re taking the points. Atlanta enters this game off a 123-118 win over Miami last Saturday as a 5 ½-point home underdog and it has captured back-to-back wins once this season. Again, you need Atlanta to score if you bet on the club knowing they’re allowing 120.2 PPG and that’s the third worst in the league. For what it’s worth, the spread hasn’t mattered in Hawks games this season. When they lose, they get run out of the building while all three of the wins were outright as ‘dogs.
Before placing a buy order on Atlanta money-line (+550), make a note that Charlotte swept the season series (4-0 SU, 4-0 ATS) last season and is 8-2 in the last 10 encounters and the last five wins in Charlotte came by an average of 14.2 PPG.
Pick your Poison
The other two games on Tuesday are tough to figure out and it seems like the oddsmakers just flipped a coin to see who should be favored.
Washington (2-7 SU, 2-7 ATS) at Dallas (2-7 SU, 5-4 ATS)
The recent history between this pair makes you do a double-take knowing Dallas has won 17 of the past 20 meetings (13-7 ATS) against Washington and that includes two blowout wins last season (113-99, 98-75). Dallas would love to keep the domination going since it enters Tuesday’s contest on a six-game losing skid. The Mavericks have had plenty of time to work on things with their last loss coming on Friday to the Knicks (118-106) at home.
Coincidentally, Washington just snapped a five-game losing streak on Sunday to New York with a 108-95 victory as a 6 ½-point home favorite. It was the best defensive effort of the season for the Wizards, who are currently listed as the worst defensive team (120.7 PPG) in the league. Washington is clearly the more talented team on paper and even though head coach Scott Brooks has faced early heat, the Wizards have played a tough schedule (ranked 7th) which started with a five-game road trip in the second week of the season.
Oddsmakers opened a healthy total (225 ½) on this matchup and despite not being great shooting clubs, neither is afraid to host from deep. Dallas and Washington both enter this game with 6-3 ‘over’ marks.
Brooklyn (4-6 SU, 5-5 ATS) at Phoenix (2-7 SU, 4-5 ATS)
The Suns haven’t been listed as favorites this season, the only team in the NBA not to lay points, and I’m not sure if they’ll receive enough attention to close in that role on Tuesday. Phoenix just won its second game of the season on Sunday, a 102-100 triumph over Memphis as a four-point home underdog. After its first win, they got clobbered by 28 in their next game so confidence shouldn’t be too high on Phoenix again.
The Suns are playing a Brooklyn team that does have confidence, winners in two of their last three games and that includes a 122-97 blowout win over Philadelphia on Sunday as a four-point home underdog as well. Just by looking at the lines for the Nets, you can see the oddsmakers have given them more respect this season at home but not as much on the road – point in case with tonight’s line. I agree with the pick ‘em opener especially with Brooklyn’s poor road record (1-4 SU, 3-2 ATS). The Nets also haven’t been as effective offensively (105 PPG) away from the Barclays Center. Similar to so many teams in the NBA these days, Brooklyn relies so much on the production of its outside shot.
The pair split last season but the Nets have won and covered five of the six meetings and that includes a run of three consecutive wins in the desert at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
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Since we started rolling out two selections a day since Nov. 1, we've produced a 6-4 (60%) record. I wish I could take credit for the winning mark but I'm actually 2-4 while NBA expert Kevin Rogers has gone 4-0. We've got two more selections up tonight and I decided to go with an exotic wager instead of your usual side or total. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end - Good Luck!
Chris David can be reached at [email protected]