With another ESPN NBA doubleheader knocking at the door, it’s a good time to place your bets! Tonight, the Milwaukee Bucks host the Miami Heat at 4:30 p.m. (PST) followed by the Phoenix Suns hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder at 7:00 p.m. (PST). There are some notable absences, so make sure to read on before deciding where to put your money. We’ll start, as always, with the early game.
MIA Spread: +1.5 (-115) Moneyline: +100
MIL Spread: -1.5 (-105) Moneyline: -120
Things to consider…
1) Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (sprained right wrist) is doubtful to play. Although the two-time MVP avoided any serious damage, he is unlikely to take the court until pain subsides. His absence opens up an opportunity for the Heat to take advantage.
2) Heat guard Kyle Lowry (left knee soreness) remains without a timetable to return. Miami appears to be playing it cautiously with its 36-year-old floor general, as he has missed the team’s last six outings. He will not play against the Bucks tonight.
3) Even without Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee should be considerable favorites at home, where it boasts a 24-5 record this season. Compare that with Miami’s 13-17 road record and it seems likely that Milwaukee will overcome. That said, when the Bucks played the Heat in Miami without Antetokounmpo earlier this season, they lost each game.
Main takeaways: The Bucks should be favorites to win, but betting on the Heat is understandable given recent history and available personnel. This matchup could be a lot closer than it would otherwise be with all stars accounted for.
And now, the late game.
OKC Spread: +7 (-115) Moneyline: +230
PHO Spread: -7 (-105) Moneyline: -275
Things to consider…
1) Suns forward Kevin Durant (right MCL sprain) is targeting a March 1 return to action and, as such, will not be available for tonight’s contest. This will mean a heavier workload for forward Josh Okogie, though it is guard Devin Booker who will be expected to carry the team to victory.
2) This game is the second half of a back-to-back for the Thunder as they come off a hard-fought loss to the Utah Jazz. Fatigue could be a factor for Oklahoma City tonight, especially since Phoenix has not played since before the NBA All-Star break.
3) On top of that, the Suns have homecourt advantage. Phoenix is 20-10 at home despite consistent health problems this season, whereas Oklahoma City is 11-18 on the road. This should be a relatively straightforward win for the Suns, but you can never count out Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s squad.
Main takeaways: Despite the absence of Durant, Phoenix should be in the driver’s seat. Put your money on the Suns if you want to keep it, but bear in mind that an upset is not out of the question.