NBA Expert Betting Picks (Saturday, Feb. 8): Our Favorite Bets for Bucks vs. Magic, Clippers vs. Timberwolves
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Clippers Forward Kawhi Leonard (2), Minnesota Timberwolves Center Karl-Anthony Towns (32).
There are nine games on Saturday’s NBA schedule and our experts are betting on three specific matchups:
- 5 p.m. ET: Milwaukee Bucks at Orlando Magic
- 7:30 p.m. ET: Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors
- 8 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Clippers at Minnesota Timberwolves
See the bets they’re making below.
Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Matt Moore: Bucks at Magic
- Spread: Bucks -9
- Over/Under: 220.5
- Time: 5 p.m. ET
Under Mike Budenholzer, the Bucks are 23-9-1 (69%) against the spread vs. sub-.500 teams when favored by six or more points. They are 9-4-1 as double-digit favorites in such spots. They just wreck teams.
The Magic have a bottom-five offense and the Bucks play at the league’s fastest pace with the best defense.There shoul be a lot of possessions where the Magic don’t get a bucket and the Bucks run down and score. The pace differential alone makes this pretty good.
I know this sounds counterintuitive, but I also like the under. I’ve seen it regularly throughout this tenure. A low-scoring game where the Bucks’ defense delivers a double-digit win.
The Magic are a top-five team in two key categories: points allowed after field goal misses and transition points allowed. So even when the Magic clank it up, they’re going to slow down Milwaukee’s offense enough to keep the total down.
To back that up, the under is 7-2-1 in Bucks road games with a sub-220 over/under, and 15-9-1 (63%) in Bucks road games where the opponent’s offensive rating is below 106.
I get that this feels like a middle, but it has been a successful strategy. I like playing the Bucks and unders against the market in Bucks games in two situations: against bad offensive, good defensive teams, and against good offensive, bad defensive teams. The Bucks play to the under vs. outliers.
The PICK: Bucks -9, under 221
Brandon Anderson: Nets at Raptors
- Spread: Raptors -6.5
- Over/Under: 219.5
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
You’d barely know that the Raptors are the reigning champions with all the media attention elsewhere, but they are defending their title with pride. They’re currently on a 13-game winning streak, on pace to win more games this season than they won a year ago with that Kawhi Leonard dude.
Toronto is 10-3 against the spread during this winning streak, while Brooklyn is just an average East team, and average East teams aren’t very good. The Nets ate four games below .500 on the season and an awful 8-15 ATS on the road.
We’re getting a discount on the number here with Kyle Lowry out, but we know by now that this Toronto roster is deep and talented, and they’ll be just fine without him. The Raptors are going for 14 straight, and I say why not?
The PICK: Raptors -6
John Ewing Clippers at Timberwolves
- Spread: Clippers -8.5
- Over/Under: 234
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
The Timberwolves-Clippers total opened 230 and has quickly been bet up past that number. Sharps are responsible for the line movement.
We know this because 76% of tickets were on the over, which accounted for 89% of all dollars wagered on the total at the time of writing. When there is a higher percentage of dollars than tickets on a bet it is an indication of professional action.
Historically, it has been profitable to follow such line movement.
Since 2015, when we began tracking dollar percentages, bettors following this system have gone 336-265-7 (56%). A $100 bettor would have returned a profit $5,369.
Pros don’t always win, but being on the same side as the smart money is a profitable long term strategy.
The PICK: Over 231.5 (The total has since moved up to 234)