Things sometimes become rather unexpected when games involve teams where almost nothing is at stake. That is indeed what is happening on Tuesday night in the NBA, as we look at three teams who have been eliminated completely from the playoff picture, while another has already clinched its spot at the top of the playoff heap.
BetAnySports customers are aware that while the nature of these games create some uncertainty, they are nonetheless interesting propositions to handicap.
The games we're talking about are beginning at 9 PM ET, and of course they are at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando. In one of them taking place at The Arena, the Sacramento Kings take on the New Orleans Pelicans, which is on TNT. In the other, the Milwaukee Bucks meet up with the Washington Wizards.
Okay, let's examine the Bucks-Wizards clash. Here are the NBA betting odds on that game:
Millwaukee Bucks -7
Washington Wizards +7
Over 227 points -110
Under 227 points -110
It is almost certain that Milwaukee could defeat Washington with one hand tied behind their backs. And that might be the case here. Giannis recently had oral surgery, and may have to sit this one out. And the Bucks are cruising toward the finish, having already wrapped up the Eastern Conference's #1 seed. They are also on the back end of a back-to-back situation, off a game with Toronto.
But there is still a desire to stay sharp on the part of whoever is going to step on the floor. Remember that Mike Budenholzer preaches defense, and that is what is going to get the Bucks to the promised land - if they indeed get there, that is. And they have people coming off the bench who can hit some three-pointers.
The Wizards came into the bubble with a chance to force a two-game play-in series with whoever was eighth in the Eastern Conference. Well, all of that went out the window rather quickly. They have gone winless in all six games of the NBA restart thus far and that's really no surprise.
When you are last in the NBA in Defensive Rating, you can't lose your three best offensive players and expect to survive. And Washington had to proceed without All-Stars John Wall and Bradley Beal, not to mention Davis Bertans. Beal had already been the team's dominant scorer, averaging 30.6 points per game.
All of the Wizards' losses have been by eight points or more. And four of them have been by double digits. There are a lot of reasons why Milwaukee, even at something less than full strength, should be able to create some distance here.
In the other game, it's the New Orleans Pelicans against the Sacramento Kings. At BetAnySports, it is Sacramento that is favored:
Sacramento Kings -3
New Orleans Pelicans +3
Over 235.5 points -110
Under 235.5 points -110
This game is on TNT, and clearly the NBA had visualized that Zion Williamson would be drawing some eyeballs. But Zion, who has scored 72 points in his last 74 minutes of play, is not slated to play. There is "knee soreness." And he's not the only Pelican who won't be in action. Brandon Ingram and Jrue Holiday will be held out as well.
The Pelicans were just eliminated from the playoff race. For the Kings, it came before that. Sacramento will be holding out De'Aaron Fox, the cat-quick point guard who has a shoulder ailment. He had 30 points in a previous meeting between these teams, where the Kings scored an insane 49 points in the first quarter and rolled to a 140-125 win.
There is less "DNP attrition" on the part of the Kings here, and New Orleans losses arguably its three best players, including Holiday, who is a defensive stalwart. Not enough evidence here to suggest that revenge is in the offing, and, for what it's worth, Kings coach Luke Walton is still trying to get some real effort out of his players.
We'd lay the points in both Tuesday night games.
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