TheRX’s Top 3 NBA Picks for the Weekend: Expect Bucks’ Dominance

It’s a smaller-than-usual slate on Friday, but there are still plenty of NBA picks to be made.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers

Friday, January 27, 2023 – 07:00 PM EST at Gainbridge Fieldhouse

The Milwaukee Bucks will take on the Indiana Pacers on Friday. Friday’s slate in the NBA is a bit smaller than normal.

No Threat for the Bucks

The Pacers currently look like one of the worst teams in the NBA. They’ve dropped to 24-26 without Tyrese Haliburton in the lineup. He’ll more than likely miss this game against the Bucks too.

Indiana’s offense will have some trouble trying to score against the Bucks. Milwaukee has allowed 110.5 points per 100 possessions while giving up an effective field goal percentage of 51.8%.

The Bucks won’t earn a high rate of turnovers, but they’ll dominate the defensive glass and not allow a bunch of second chances. The Bucks are giving up 24.8% of offensive rebounds this season, which is second-best in the NBA.

Milwaukee is also second-best in the NBA in defensive free-throw rate. So don’t expect the Pacers to get to the foul line at a high rate, either.

On the flip side, the Bucks aren’t the best offense. The defense, as stated above, makes up for it. The Bucks have grabbed 28.8% of offensive rebounds this season, while the Pacers have given up 30.1% of offensive rebounds on the defensive end.

Pacers’ Offense to Struggle

Meanwhile, the Pacers are scoring 113.1 points per 100 possessions. They’ve also shot a 53.7% effective field goal percentage, below the NBA average.

Indiana turns the ball over 15.1% of the time, and while they’ve done well on the offensive glass, it’s going to be a minor shock going up against the Bucks. The Pacers won’t reach their average on the glass in this game as long as Milwaukee’s entire lineup plays without load management.

Indiana is also fouling at a high rate but should end up earning a solid rate of turnovers from its aggressiveness.

The Pick

The Bucks will have more shots up throughout the game and should defend the Pacers well enough to cover the spread.

NBA Pick: Bucks ATS (Odds TBD)

Orlando Magic vs. Miami Heat

Friday, January 27, 2023 – 08:00 PM EST at Miami-Dade Arena

This will be the first of four meetings between the Magic and Heat this season. Orlando is 19-29 on the year and starting to play better.

Not Enough Magic

The Magic have won three of their last four games with convincing wins over the Pelicans and Celtics in that period. They are still averaging 111.9 points per 100 possessions. That’s a bottom-five rate in the NBA. They’re also turning the ball over 15.4% of the time, thanks to a lot of inexperience on the roster.

Meanwhile, the Heat should be able to earn plenty of turnovers, dominate the defensive glass and hold the Magic from getting to the foul line at a super high rate. The Magic already have a top-five free-throw rate in the NBA, but the Heat have limited teams to a 19.6 free-throw rate on the defensive end, ranked sixth in the league.

Miami’s defense should be able to get many stops against the Magic, despite the Magic scoring at least 123 points in two of their last four games.

Not Enough Heat Either

On the other hand, the Heat haven’t been very impressive on the offensive end, either. Miami has also scored 111.9 points per 100 possessions and is shooting a worse effective field goal percentage of 52.3%.

It’s unclear if Jimmy Butler will play for the Heat in his game. But we’re capping this game as if he will be.

The Pick

The Heat will limit turnovers better but won’t earn a high rate of second chances or freebies at the foul line. Let’s rock with the Under in this game.

NBA Pick: Under (Odds TBD)

Toronto Raptors vs. Golden State Warriors

Friday, January 27, 2023 – 10:00 PM EST at Chase Center

The Toronto Raptors already lost to the Golden State Warriors once this season, 126-110, on their home floor. Now the Raptors will be on the road to take on the Warriors.

The Grizzlies squeezed Golden State with a 122-120 win in their last game. They’ve been trading wins for losses lately, though. Meanwhile, Toronto started its West Coast trip with a win over the Kings, 113-95.

Warriors in Trouble?

It’s unclear if Andrew Wiggins will play in this game. He’s had an illness and will be questionable.

The Raptors should be able to limit turnovers and succeed on the offensive glass. There’s also a good chance that Toronto will get to the foul line at a high rate, with Golden State giving up a 22.9 free throw rate.

How About the Raptors?

Conversely, Toronto doesn’t defend very well, giving up an effective field goal percentage of 56.7%. The Raptors will earn plenty of steals that could lead to fastbreak points against the Warriors.

Golden State doesn’t get to the foul line often but could see more freebies against a Raptors team with a high defensive free-throw rate of 22.7.

The Pick

I like this game to go Over the total established at the best sportsbooks. One team could earn 130 points, the other team could be just as close too.

NBA Pick: Over (Odds TBD)