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NBA SO/UP Bets and Analysis: Warriors-Bucks and Timberwolves-Grizzlies

Golden State travels east to take on Milwaukee and Minnesota heads south to try to cool off red-hot Memphis.

The Warriors and Bucks are two of the top teams in the NBA with two-time MVPs at the helm. Still, they’ve both been struggling as of late ahead of their meeting in Milwaukee. And in Memphis, the Timberwolves get the latest crack at the Grizzlies, winners of 10 straight.

Pat Benson of All Hawks rejoins me as a guest picker for Thursday’s games. Tuesday was a good night for the SO/UP crowd. I hope you followed our picks!

Season record: 69-66-1

Guest pickers: 49-81

Dec 13, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) shoots during the second half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.

Golden State Warriors (30-10) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (26-17)

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET | TNT

Spread: Warriors +1.5 (-110) | Bucks -1.5 (-110)

Moneyline: Warriors (+110) | Bucks (-133)

Total: Under 223.5 (+105) | Over 223.5 (-125)

Injuries: Warriors F Draymond Green—Out; Warriors C James Wiseman—Out; Bucks G Jrue Holiday—Out; Bucks G George Hill—Out

Warriors Profile

Record Over Last 10 Games: 6-4

ATS Record: 23-15-2

O/U Record: 13-25-2

Points Per Game/Rank: 109.8/12

Points Allowed Per Game/Rank: 101.3/1

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Golden State has lost three of its last four games overall and its last three on the road. Draymond Green essentially missed the last three games (he briefly entered the Cavaliers game on Sunday in support of Klay Thompson) and James Wiseman’s lengthy absence continues. The Warriors’ recent slide coincides with Steph Curry’s shooting struggles (34% from the field and 28% from three in January).

Bucks Profile

Record Over Last 10 Games: 6-4

ATS Record: 19-24

O/U Record: 18-25

Points Per Game/Rank: 111.8/5

Points Allowed Per Game/Rank: 108/16

Milwaukee is having issues as well. The Bucks are 2-4 in January, falling to the No. 4 seed in the East and are missing point guard Jrue Holiday. The team’s defense is faltering, especially without Holiday, an elite defender. Availability has been a big problem for Milwaukee’s Big 3—Giannis Antetokounmpo has missed nine games, Holiday 10 and Khris Middleton 11.

Kyle Wood’s bets:

Spread pick: Bucks -2

This is a difficult pick with both of these top-tier teams slumping. Ultimately, I’m going with the home team in large part because Golden State won’t have any answer for Antetokounmpo down low with its big men out. If Curry’s shooting struggles continue – and Milwaukee should throw everything at him to assure that they dom– then the Bucks can eke out a low-scoring win at home on the back of Antetokounmpo’s scoring and Middleton’s playmaking.

Over/Under pick: Under 223.5

Both teams’ games go under more than 50% of the time and they’re each missing stars who are important to facilitating their offense. The Warriors are down Green, who leads the team in assists, and Klay Thompson has yet to play more than 20 minutes in his two games back. While I do think Antetokounmpo can carve out a spot for himself near the basket, that kind of game plan isn’t necessarily conducive to a huge scoring output.

Prop: Khris Middleton Over 21.5 Points

Middleton has gone over this number in six of his last 10 games, despite a season average below 20 PPG. His shooting percentages are up in a small January sample size and he’s been good for 27 points in each of his last two games on 17 and 19 shots. I like him to go over at home in a game that the Bucks really need to right the ship.

Guest picker Pat Benson’s picks:

The Bucks have suffered from a championship hangover through the first half of the season. They are fourth in the Eastern Conference and have lost four of their last five games. Like the rest of the NBA, the defending champs have battled injuries and illness. However, their inconsistent play has led to trade rumors that would reinforce a rotation that belies its top-10 net rating.

After racing out of the gates, the Warriors have lost three of their last four games and dropped to second in the Western Conference. While the team is known for revolutionizing the game with the three-pointer, this iteration is a different beast. They have the best defensive rating in the NBA and are less reliant on their shots falling. Oh, and they just got back future Hall of Famer Klay Thompson after two years of injuries.

Spread pick: Warriors +1.5

Not only are the Warriors the superior squad, but they are also much more reliable against the spread. They cover 60.5% of the time compared to the Bucks' shaky 44.2%. If the past is prologue, I'm going with the Warriors +1.5.

Over/Under pick: Under 223.5

This one is easy money. Both teams are bottom-eight in hitting the over. On top of that, both teams have gone under in four of their last five games. Combine their average points and you only get 221. Let’s take the under at 223.5.

Prop: Giannis Antetokounmpo Under 30.5 Points

Antetokounmpo has been on a tear lately. But he only averages 28.4 points per game. He isn’t scoring 30-plus points against the best defense in the league. Take the under on Antetokounmpo scoring 30.5 points.

Memphis Grizzles guard Ja Morant (12) reacts after a basket during the second half against the Golden State Warriors at FedExForum.

Minnesota Timberwolves (20-21) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (29-14)

Time: 8 p.m. ET

Spread: Timberwolves +4.5 (-110) | Grizzlies -4.5 (-110)

Moneyline: Timberwolves (+155) | Grizzlies (-188)

Total: Under 230.5 (-110) | Over 230.5 (-110)

Injuries: Grizzlies G Dillon Brooks—Out; Grizzlies C Steven Adams—Out

Timberwolves Profile

Record Over Last 10 Games: 5-5

ATS Record: 22-19

O/U Record: 22-19

Points Per Game/Rank: 110/11

Points Allowed Per Game/Rank: 109.2/19

Minnesota’s four-game win streak ended on Tuesday in New Orleans when Brandon Ingram drained a game-winning three. The Timberwolves have split the season series with Memphis, losing in overtime and winning by 43. The recent stretch of success came against lesser competition—OKC twice, Houston and the Clippers—but wins are wins and Minnesota is slowly creeping toward a top-eight spot in the conference. The trio of Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards is working better than any gathering of talent the Timberwolves have trotted out in recent years.

Grizzlies Profile

Record Over Last 10 Games: 10-0

ATS Record: 28-15

O/U Record: 21-20-2

Points Per Game/Rank: 112.2/3

Points Allowed Per Game/Rank: 107.9/15

Memphis hasn’t lost since before Christmas and scored a signature win on Tuesday against Golden State. Ja Morant is ascending as a scorer and playmaker and the Grizzlies still aren’t fully healthy with Steven Adams and Dillon Brooks sidelined. It’s no matter—Memphis is winning without them in the same way it did without Morant earlier in the season. Morant has led the team in scoring for most of the games on its run of excellence, but Desmond Bane or Jaren Jackson Jr. have been able to take over as well, as Memphis keeps mowing down opponents.

Kyle Wood’s bets:

Spread pick: Grizzlies -4.5

The Grizzlies are winning seemingly with ease against some of the best teams in the league. Minnesota is a fringe playoff team and this game is in Memphis. It’s easy to side with the Grizzlies, who have one of the best cover percentages in the league in a home game against a team that’s been playing against lesser competition for the last week.

Over/Under pick: Over 230.5

Memphis and Minnesota games hit the over more often than not. The Grizzlies have scored 110 or more in seven straight games while the Timberwolves have topped 125 points three games in a row. Both offenses are ranked in the top half of the league and their defenses are less of a strength, especially for Memphis with the players it’s missing.

Prop: Jaren Jackson Jr. Over 5.5 Rebounds

Jackson’s season-long rebounding numbers are unimpressive—5.6 boards per game for the 6-foot-11 forward. But with Adams out, he’s stepped up. Jackson posted double-doubles in each of the last two games and has gone over 5.5 rebounds in his last four games and five of his last six. Minnesota is an average rebounding team—he should clear this figure with ease.

Guest picker Pat Benson’s bets:

The Grizzlies are the hottest team in the NBA. They have won their last 10 games and have risen to third in the Western Conference. Even more impressive, Morant is putting together an all-NBA campaign. The 22-year-old leads the Grizzlies’ third-highest scoring offense in the league with almost 25 points per game.

One of the more exciting teams in the league is on the fringe of the playoff picture. The Timberwolves have finally found their identity as a fast-paced team that shoots more threes than the rest of the NBA. Towns leads the team with roughly 25 points and 10 rebounds per game. But guards Russell and Edwards provide the secret sauce. The pair of wings combine for 40 points per game and countless humiliating highlights.

Spread pick: Grizzlies -4.5

The Grizzlies cover the spread over 65% of the time, second-best in the NBA. Not only have they been beating teams, but they've also been beating them up. The Grizzlies have covered the last seven games, with a 13-point average margin of victory. I'm rolling with the hot hand. Grizzlies -4.5.

Over/Under pick: Under 230.5

Both teams have hit the over in their previous three games. But they only score a combined 222 points per game. I don’t expect these two teams to score 231 points when they both boast top-10 defensive ratings.

Prop: Karl-Anthony Towns Under 9.5 Rebounds

The Grizzlies lead the league in rebounds per game and hold their opponents to bottom-five rebounds per game. Towns is not exceeding his average 9.3 rebounds per game. I’m going under on KAT grabbing 10 rebounds tonight.

DFS Value Plays

(Prices based on 7:30 p.m. main slate)

SG/PG Eric Bledsoe, Clippers (FD: $4,800 | DK: $5,700)

SG Josh Giddey, Thunder ($6,800 | $7,000)

SG/SF Josh Hart, Pelicans ($6,900 | $6,800)

PF/C Jaren Jackson Jr., Grizzlies ($7,600 | $7,200)

PF/C Bobby Portis, Bucks (6,200 | $6,900)

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