Handicapping the NBA: Thursday Roundtable

Handicapping the NBA: Thursday Roundtable

This article is part of our NBA Picks series.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, the RotoWire staff gets together and presents their favorite bet on the slate. With only two games Thursday, the options are limited, but player props open up plenty of interesting angles.

Nick Whalen: Bucks to cover 11.5 points vs. Trail Blazers -- Fanduel, 11:45am

Given Portland's injuries and the fact that Milwaukee is Milwaukee, this line almost feels a little low. I do wonder if there's a chance Vegas thinks the Bucks could hold Giannis out on the second night of a road/home back-to-back. If he plays -- we've been given no indication that he won't -- I can't imagine the Bucks not covering 11.5 at home. Even without Khris Middleton, they've been a buzzsaw, and they've reached the point where they rarely struggle against bad teams, which is exactly what the Blazers are right now.

James Anderson: Giannis Antetokounmpo over 5.5 assists (-118) -- FanDuel at 9:43 AM

The Zach Collins-less Blazers might be the least equipped team in the league to defend Giannis -- their power forward depth was so non-existent that they had to sign Carmelo Anthony. The Blazers' defensive scheme is to keep the center back to protect the rim, and this will be more critical than ever against the Bucks, otherwise Giannis will get dunk after dunk after dunk. So I anticipate Hassan Whiteside waiting for Giannis at the rim on every drive. This should lead to some dump offs to cutters and kick outs to three-point shooters (I also like Brook Lopez over 12.5 points). Giannis averaged 7.5 assists in the two games against the Blazers last year, topping 5.5 in both contests. There are lots of great ways to bet on the Bucks' offense in this one, but this assists line just stands out as being too low.

Eric Neuman: Giannis Antetokounmpo UNDER 31.5 points (+100) -- DraftKings, 9:30 AM

The Bucks have played three games in four nights and are on the second half of a back-to-back set. Antetokounmpo has averaged 30.7 points across 30.8 minutes in that three-game span, and as -12.5 point favorites, this seems like a prime spot for coach Mike Budenholzer to exercise caution with the reigning MVP's minutes. 

The Trail Blazers are already struggling and will be without Damian Lillard (back). Not to mention, Anfernee Simons (ankle) and Hassan Whiteside (hip) are both questionable. Rather than playing down to opponents, Milwaukee tends to blow them away, as exemplified by their +9.3 point differential (No. 2 in the league). Following this potential game-script, a parlay with the Greek Freak's under and a Bucks' cover would seemingly go hand-in-hand. 

Of course, there's always a chance Giannis could replicate Luka Doncic's performance against the Warriors on Wednesday and hit the over on his points in three quarters before watching from the sidelines in the fourth. Or, vintage Carmelo Anthony could show up and keep Portland in it via a shootout. Well, the latter may be a stretch, but anything's possible.

Alex Rikleen: Frank Kaminsky over 14.5 points

With Aron Baynes (hip) out again, Kaminsky should start and see additional minutes Thursday. He's played at least 23 minutes eight times this season, scoring at least 14 points in six of those. He's been on a bit of a hot streak lately, averaging 57% from the field and 52% from three over his last four games. The Pelicans play at one of the fastest paces in the league, and their defense ranks among the league's worst. On top of all that, the Pelicans will again be without their best defensive big man, Derrick Favors (back).

Jeff Edgerton: Trail Blazers at Bucks (-11.5) -- DK Sportsbook, 10:31 AM ET

Damian Lillard is out against the Bucks, and Hassan Whiteside may end up missing as well.  The Bucks did a decent job of load management with Eric Bledsoe and Donte DiVincenzo in anticipation of this back-to-back game, and Giannis will have a typical night as he picks apart Portland's interior.  It won't be a blowout, but the Bucks should safely beat this spread.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
James Anderson
James Anderson is RotoWire's Lead Prospect Analyst, Assistant Baseball Editor, and co-host of Farm Fridays on Sirius/XM radio and the RotoWire Prospect Podcast.
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's Chief NBA Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, VSiN and other platforms. He firmly believes Robert Covington is the most underrated fantasy player of the past decade.
Jeff Edgerton
Jeff has provided sports content for numerous sports outlets and has played fantasy sports since scores had to be tabulated via newspaper. He started working with RotoWire in 2017. Originally from South Carolina, he's a lifelong Clemson fan now enjoying the sun in Los Angeles.
Eric Neuman
Eric Neuman makes words into sentences for RotoWire, and turns sentences into verses in the music world. He would cheer for Notre Dame to beat Wisconsin in a bowl game, but not in the Final Four.
Alex Rikleen
Rikleen writes the NBA column "Numbers Game," which decodes the math that underpins fantasy basketball and was a nominee for the 2016 FSWA Newcomer of the Year Award. A certified math teacher, Rikleen decided the field of education pays too well, so he left it for writing. He is a Boston College graduate living outside Boston.
Nick Whalen
Now in his 10th year with the company, Nick is RotoWire's Senior Media Analyst, a position he took on after several years as the Head of Basketball Content. A multi-time FSGA and FSWA award winner, Nick co-hosts RotoWire's flagship show on Sirius XM Fantasy alongside Jeff Erickson, as well as The RotoWire NBA Show on Sirius XM NBA with Alex Barutha. He also co-hosts RotoWire's Football and Basketball podcasts. You can catch Nick's NBA and NFL analysis on VSiN and DraftKings, as well as RotoWire's various social and video channels. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @wha1en.
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