With all their key players healthy, the Milwaukee Bucks are the smart NBA pick for Tuesday’s battle with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Tuesday, March 29, 2022 – 07:00 PM EDT at Wells Fargo Center
For a while there, the online sportsbooks were handing out free money. There was an arbitrage opportunity for Tuesday’s matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers; the Bucks opened as 4-point road dogs at DraftKings and assorted locations and were still available at that price while other books had Philadelphia pegged at –1.5. Did you take advantage?
If you didn’t, well, at least the Bucks are still available at +2 as we go to press. And they might be the right team for your NBA picks; it appears this line shifted after news came down that Giannis Antetokounmpo (right knee) and Jrue Holiday (left ankle) would both be available after missing some time recently. That makes Milwaukee about as complete a team as they’ve been all year.
Don’t Fear The Beard
The 76ers (46-28 SU, 35-37-2 ATS) don’t have anyone at all on their injured list, but is this a complete team? While the James Harden trade was obviously very important for them and their title hopes, sending both Seth Curry and Andre Drummond to the Brooklyn Nets did leave Philadelphia’s bench a bit thin. They’re 11-5 SU and just 7-8-1 ATS since Harden made his Sixers debut.
Compare and contrast to Milwaukee (46-28 SU, 35-39 ATS). The defending champions spent virtually the entire season without starting center Brook Lopez – until he returned to active duty on March 14. The Bucks are 4-2 SU and ATS since then, even with Antetokounmpo missing two games (including one of those two losses) and Holiday one.
Getting Lopez back is a much bigger deal than people seem to realize. His level of play still isn’t where it was last year, and there’s a chance that Lopez (who turns 34 this Friday) will never fully recover from the back surgery he had just after the 2021-22 season began. However, Lopez does appear to have gotten better with every game, and in theory, represents both a small upgrade over Bobby Portis and a large one over Serge Ibaka.
15 Fouls to Give
Lopez is also another very big body that Milwaukee can throw at Joel Embiid. The Sixers have enjoyed a lot of their recent success by having Embiid run over everyone and get to the foul line, where he leads Antetokounmpo 587-506 for most free throws in the NBA this year. Attacking Embiid with the three-headed monster of Lopez, Portis and Ibaka gives the Bucks a golden opportunity to force Embiid into foul trouble, without causing themselves too much grief.
The Sixers, on the other hand, have almost nothing left in the cupboard if Embiid has to sit extended minutes – or worse, fouls out. After sending Drummond packing, they signed DeAndre Jordan off the scrap heap; he’s been awful, far worse than he was playing for the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this year. If Philadelphia remains stubborn and doesn’t start giving some of those minutes back to Paul Reed, they might be looking at another short playoff run. Bet accordingly.
NBA Pick: Bucks +2 (–110) with PointsBet