The Milwaukee Bucks will be missing Jason Kidd as Head Coach for the foreseeable future. They beat Philadelphia comfortably enough, but it is a different test against a Toronto Raptors team that has won eight of the last nine in the series and are off a confidence boosting win over the Dallas Mavericks.
The Raptors have just come off the boil in recent games before the win over Dallas and they should be well rested ahead of this one. Momentum is still important for teams so Toronto can’t look ahead to visiting the Chicago Bulls as they look to get some wins under the belt.
Toronto haven’t played that well on the Defensive side of the court in recent games, and they continue to miss DeMarre Carroll who was brought in during the off-season to strengthen that side of things. However they have been better on the road, which can be surprising to hear, and I can see them recover here in Milwaukee.
You have to notice that Milwaukee have struggled with the better teams in the NBA while Toronto are 4-1 against the spread in road games facing teams with losing records. Milwaukee do have a winning record this season against the spread when set as a small underdog at home, but I like Toronto to cover thanks to previous success over the Bucks.
Handicap Betting Pick: Toronto Raptors -2.5 Points at 1.87 with Matchbook
Boston Celtics at Detroit Pistons
There isn’t much separating the Detroit Pistons and the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference and this could be a very good game on Saturday. Both teams have decent winning records, but I think the Detroit Pistons can continue a run of dominance over the Celtics at home, although there is no doubting it will be very close.
I am not reading too much into Detroit’s last loss against the Atlanta Hawks which came in a back to back spot. The Pistons have shown they are more than capable of hanging with some top teams and they should be well-rested while also having a few days to prepare for their next game.
On the other hand Boston are hosting the disliked New York Knicks at home on Sunday and a quick stop in Detroit before heading over the day after Christmas doesn’t look the best spot. The Pistons have shown some better Defensive form at home and I also like the fact they are 4-0 against the spread when favoured by three points or fewer at home.
Detroit are also 6-2 against the spread in their last eight home games against the Boston Celtics and I like them to cover this number in a tight game.
Handicap Betting Pick: Detroit Pistons -1 Point at 2.04 with Matchbook
Philadelphia 76ers at Phoenix Suns
No one really wants anything to do with the Philadelphia 76ers at the moment and you will continue to get double digit spreads on them as the underdog. I am just not convinced the Phoenix Suns should be asked to cover as big a number with the way they have been playing of late as well as trying to get through some personal problems.
There was some friction between the organisation and Markieff Morris in the off-season after Phoenix traded away his twin brother Marcus. That has only been exasperated since Markieff’s request to leave was ignored and it came to a head when he threw a towel at his Head Coach so he is suspended for this game.
It won’t be easy for the Suns to focus on this game with the Cleveland Cavaliers their next visitors on Monday, especially out of a Christmas break. The Suns have lost five of their last six overall and they are just 3-5 against the spread when facing teams with losing records at home which would concern me too.
Philadelphia might not win on the road, but they have covered more often than not when facing the weaker teams in the NBA. The 76ers should have enough to cover if they can take advantage of some of the poisonous atmosphere developing in the Phoenix Suns dressing room and that is what I will back.
Handicap Betting Pick: Philadelphia 76ers +12 Points at 1.94 with Matchbook
Prices correct at time of writing