Editor’s Note: Seth Curry has been ruled out of Monday’s game with ankle soreness. For real-time injury updates, check out our FantasyLabs NBA news page.
While many folks will be focused on Alabama and Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Monday night, the NBA is rolling with seven games on the evening’s slate. The lone matchup on national TV — Milwaukee Bucks vs. Charlotte Hornets — is among the two games our NBA experts are betting.
You can check out their analysis and best bets for that matchup and more below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Charlotte Hornets
Raheem Palmer: The Milwaukee Bucks are coming off a 114-106 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night and after a day off with no travel they have the opportunity to avenge their loss in the second game of their two game series.
I’ve spoken about this a ton but typically we see teams split the home-home duplex series with motivation being a big factor in these matchups. Since the two game series was introduced last season, the team who lost the first matchup is 34-17-2 (66.7%) ATS in the second matchup, which is an angle that points towards playing the Bucks tonight.
In the first matchup, the Bucks were in a really tough spot coming off a back-to-back road win against the Brooklyn Nets and having to fly to Charlotte to take on a rested Hornets the following day. There will be no such rest advantage for the Hornets in this spot.
The Bucks should be able to capitalize against a Hornets defense which is 25th in Defensive Rating (113.6) in their non garbage time minutes and struggles to defend the perimeter, allowing opposing teams to shoot 36.3% from behind the arc — 23rd among NBA teams.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Charlotte Hornets
Kenny Ducey: I went into greater detail about this game here, but I’m reversing course after taking the Hornets as short favorites in Milwaukee and hopping on the Bucks as short favorites in Charlotte.
There are a few reasons to love the Bucks here, but the biggest two would have to be Pat Connaughton and Donte DiVincenzo. The former was questionable as of Monday morning, which would seem to indicate he’s trending towards a return, while the latter is off the injury report completely.
Without those two (and a host of other players) the Bucks have really struggled to have any sort of depth. Their bench scored five points in Saturday’s loss to the Hornets and Milwaukee is desperate to get some NBA-level players back into its rotation.
Milwaukee also has a massive advantage, in theory, against a Hornets team which is the weakest in the NBA up front and should be no defense against Giannis Antetokounmpo. The star got whatever he wanted in a 43-point outing against Charlotte and the Bucks were +4 on the glass.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Houston Rockets
Jacob McKenna: The Philadelphia 76ers will make their way to Houston to take on the Rockets to begin their week. Joel Embiid has been a monster as of late, but he has received consistent help from one other guy on the roster, and that man is Seth Curry.
As one of the best sharpshooters in the NBA, the chances that Seth Curry gets hot from behind the arc are always good. On the season, Curry has been one of the most efficient 3-point shooters, entering this matchup shooting 41.1% from deep.
In the absence of Ben Simmons and now Tyrese Maxey, Curry has been relied on heavily to play a larger role in the 76ers offense, and so far he has risen up to the challenge. In his last four games he has not scored below 15 points, and his volume has increased tremendously in that same span as he is averaging just over 14 shot attempts per game and nearly seven 3-point attempts per game.
The matchup tonight against the Rockets presents Curry with a near-perfect matchup as well. At this point in the season, Houston is surrendering 38 3-point attempts per game to their opponents, and they enter this matchup with the worst Defensive Rating in the NBA as they are allowing 114.7 points per 100 possessions.
Seth has averaged 36 minutes per game in his last nine games, and with more minutes comes more opportunities to do what he does best which is sink 3-pointers. He has made more than 2.5 3s in four of his last six, including when Philly played the Rockets last week, and I think he is in line to it again tonight.
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