Warriors vs Bucks – Free NBA Pick for January 12th
My goodness, are the Cleveland Cavaliers in a bad way right now. I wrongly assumed their atrocious performance in Minnesota two games ago was a fluke, only to watch them burn me in horrific fashion yet again last night in Toronto.
The Cavs were virtually 100% healthy with Isaiah Thomas on hand and they were battling a Raptors team sans both Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, yet they still lost be a ridiculous 34 points.
I certainly understood the risk of betting against Toronto on their home floor (2 losses there all year), but Cleveland felt like the clear value play and one of the best bets on a small 4-game slate.
I was far from the only one annoyed by Cleveland’s terrible play, as LeBron James ripped into his team during a timeout in last night’s “contest”:
As the Raptors were blowing out the Cavs last night, LeBron James went off on his teammates and coaches in the huddle. A video of the confrontation was posted on Instagram and Kyrie Irving liked it almost immediately. 😂 #PettyWarz pic.twitter.com/RtkRMGFwKU
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) January 12, 2018
King James is mad and I can only assume that helps turn the Cavs into an interesting bet right away tonight in Indiana. Of course, I’m not targeting that game. Cleveland looks awful right now and are already down 0-2 in the season series with the Pacers.
Rather than bet on the Cavs against a solid road opponent, I’ll pick myself up with the defending champions. The Golden State Warriors should be 100% healthy across the board tonight, as they ride into Milwaukee to take on the Bucks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and company have given the Dubs a good fight the last two times they came to the Bradley Center. However, Milwaukee doesn’t have Jabari Parker on hand this time around and limp into this intense inter-conference showdown with a mild 5-5 record over their last 10 games.
Should bettors take the points and favor the Bucks, or are the Dubs at -6.5 too valuable to bypass?
My gut instinct is the latter. Milwaukee stole a win at home in this series two years ago and last year gutted out a 3-point defeat on their home floor. Still, the Bucks aren’t completely healthy yet and Golden State (3 straight wins) has otherwise dominated this series recently.
This is a dangerous time to take on the Warriors, too. Golden State has been banged up for much of the year, but all signs point to a fully healthy roster come Friday night. That, and a depleted Dubs team got housed by the Los Angeles Clippers in their last game.
Something tells me the best team in the NBA will want to avenge that.
That isn’t to say the Bucks aren’t a threat here. They’ve played the Warriors close in the past and The Greek Freak gives them a counter punch to Kevin Durant. Milwaukee also plays at a slower pace, so if they can dictate the tempo, they could potentially control how this game unfolds.
While that sounds nice, I’m not really buying into it. The Warriors have oddly been better on the road (17-3) than at home this year, while their latest loss doesn’t hide the fact that they’ve been a blistering 7-3 over their last 10 contests.
Golden State has dominated against the Eastern Conference this season, too. Not only did they dispatch the Cavs on Christmas Day, but they’ve got a staggering 13-3 against non-Western Conference foes.
The Bucks can explode at anytime and have the tools to defend, but the numbers don’t add up. They do for the Dubs, who come into this showdown ranking 4th in pace, 1st in offensive efficiency and 3rd in defensive efficiency.
This is clearly not a team to be trifled with, while they’ve managed to avoid any type of losing streak to this point this season. In addition, only once did they follow up a defeat with a win by fewer than 7 points.
The ATS data is the only thing remotely troubling for this game, but I also think it’s extremely misleading. Golden State is a shaky 18-23-1 against the spread on the year, but their record is understandably negatively impacted by constantly being favored and also carrying obscene spreads into their contests.
Tonight is a spot that offers value when it comes to Golden State’s spread, though. In fact, one could even make a case that their Moneyline (-225 at BetOnline) is about as palatable as you’ll see it all year. Still, I like the Dubs to cover here and a -6.5 point spread feels manageable.