Handicapping the NBA: Thursday Picks

Handicapping the NBA: Thursday Picks

This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.

Alex Barutha

Jrue Holiday OVER 23.5 points (-106) vs. ATL – DraftKings (11:03 AM CT)

Holiday has looked shoddy during a decent portion of these playoffs, averaging just 16.9 points on 39.8 FG% since the start of the Brooklyn series. And strong Games 1 and 2 outings in this Atlanta series (27.5 PPG, 59 FG%) helped make up for less-than-efficient Games 3 and 4 (12.5 PPG, 28.5 FG%). [Deep breath] However, Holiday has been the biggest beneficiary of Giannis Antetokounmpo's absences this season. He sees the highest usage bump on the team of any rotation players (8.8%), fueled by an extra 5.7 shot attempts and 2.3 assists per 36 minutes. Overall, including the playoffs, Holiday averages 25.2 points per 36 minutes with Giannis off the court. When considering that Holiday could play upwards of, well, the whole game, it's easy for me to like his points prop for the day. If you want to see the non-Giannis numbers for yourself, you can click here to navigate RotoWire's On/Off Court Stats page.

Nick Whalen

Hawks at Bucks UNDER 215.0 points (-109) – DraftKings (12:12 PM CT)

I don't feel great about picking the actual outcome of the game, but I do like the under on what's admittedly a relatively low number. With (presumably) no Giannis, the Bucks lose their most efficient and effective interior scorer, and while they can now roll out some five-shooter lineups, even Milwaukee's "good" shooters haven't been able to hit open threes throughout the postseason. Whether or not Trae Young plays, the Bucks' best bet is to keep the ball in the hands of Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday and turn the game into a slow-paced rock fight.

Jrue Holiday OVER 23.5 points (-106) vs. Atlanta Hawks – DraftKings

For the most part, I've been underwhelmed by Holiday's postseason play, but with no Giannis, he'll have no choice but to step up and raise his shot volume. They haven't always been falling, but if Holiday can sit in the 18-to-25 FGA range, I like his chances to convert enough to get to 24 points. If he can't hit that number, it will take a monster game from the Bucks' role players – or Middleton – for Milwaukee to avoid taking a home loss.

Ken Crites

OVER on Brook Lopez 6.5 rebounds vs. ATL (+105) – DraftKings (1:08pm ET)

For those feeling more conservative, you can also head to FanDuel and take the OVER on 5.5 Lopez rebounds (-142).  I've got confidence in Lopez snagging some of those 11.0 rebounds per game that Giannis usually gathers. Sure, the Bucks will rely on Bobby Portis a lot tonight, but no props are available for Portis. All the other Bucks will need to pitch in to make for Giannis' absence. And defensively, Milwaukee needs Lopez's rim protection even more than usual, which should leave him in the paint for some easy boards.

Jacob Lebowitz

Khris Middleton to record a double-double (-105) vs. ATLDraftKings (1:25 PM CT)

With Giannis Antetokounmpo officially out for Game 5, someone on the Bucks is going to need to step up, and who better than the Game 3 hero? In the postseason, Middleton has been a consistent double-double threat, averaging 22.7 points and 7.9 rebounds to go along with six double-doubles. Antetokounmpo's injury should open up the floor more, which will allow Middleton to grab rebounds and even some assists. The Bucks may also shorten their starting lineup's height by replacing Antetokounmpo with either Bryn Forbes or Pat Connaughton. If coach Mike Budenholzer decided to do so, Middleton will have plenty of chances to grab rebounds en route to a double-double. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's NBA Assistant Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, DraftKings Live and other platforms. Vince Carter and Alex both first dunked during their respective sophomore years of high school.
Ken
An early RotoWire contributor from the 90's, K-Train returns with the grace of Gheorghe Muresan and the wisdom of Joe Gibbs. Tweet @KenCrites or e-mail at ken@rotowire.com. Ken won the FSWA 2014 Humor Article Of The Year award. He's also the 2016 Champion of the prestigious RW NBA Keeper League and the 2019 Champion of the RW NFL Ottonue Keeper League. Ken still owns a RotoNews shirt.
Jacob Lebowitz
Jacob writes about fantasy sports and sports betting for RotoWire. He's always doing something sports-related whether that's playing NBA 2K, watching a football game or playing a game of pickup basketball.
Nick Whalen
RotoWire's NBA Editor and host of the RotoWire NBA Podcast. Nick was awarded the FSWA Best Podcast -- All Sports award in 2017 and 2018. Many years ago, Stromile Swift gave Nick his unbelievably sweaty headband after a preseason game. Despite its failure to match his school colors, Nick went on to wear that headband for the entirety of his sixth grade basketball season. Catch Nick on Twitter @wha1en.
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