Milwaukee Bucks (-1.5, -115) at Miami Heat (+1.5, -105)
The Bucks lead 2-0 and aren’t showing many signs of slowing down — even if the series is shifting to Miami. Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing up to his normally high standards, averaging 28.5 points, 15.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and three steals over the first two games of the series. He’s also getting some big-time help from Game 1 hero, Khris Middleton, who’s posting 22 points per game.
Even more impressively, the Bucks are holding Jimmy Butler to next to nothing. The Heat star is averaging just 13.5 points per game this series in 38.8 minutes per outing.
This is a Bucks team with a ton to prove, so I’ll take them again on the Moneyline and the spread.
Phoenix Suns (+6.5, -105) at Los Angeles Lakers (-6.5, -115)
The Lakers pull one back in the series in Game 2 and now they head home as sizable favorites over a Phoenix Suns team that I still think isn’t getting enough respect. But that’s how it goes against the defending champions — and when Chris Paul is dealing with a shoulder injury that is clearly hampering his abilities.
Devin Booker is averaging 32.5 points per game this series while Deandre Ayton has stepped up with 21.5 points and 13 rebounds per game of his own.
But the Lakers are healthy, and LeBron James and Anthony Davis rightfully are going to be favored for most of the postseason — regardless of how far it goes.
Both games this series have been close regardless of Paul’s health, so I think we’ll have another close one in Game 3. I’ll take the Lakers Moneyline but the Suns on the spreak.
Denver Nuggets (+4, -113) at Portland Trail Blazers (-4, -107)
The Denver Nuggets deserve a ton of credit for still being a threat in the West despite losing Jamal Murray earlier this season. That just shows just how good Nikola Jokic is and why he deserves to be in MVP talks. Jokich is averaging 33 minutes per game, but is posting 36 points per outing so far this series while Michael Porter continues showing glimpses of meeting those high expectations that came with him out of college.
But Damian Lillard is on another planet right now coming off a 42-point outing in the Blazers’ Game 2 loss.
The homecourt advantage is what decides this for me in both aspects. Give me the Blazers.