Bucks-Trail Blazers Free Tuesday Play

On March 21, 2017, in Free Picks, NBA, by Stephen

Bucks plus 4 1/2 at Trail Blazers

The small-market Bucks are below the radar screen having won eight of their last 10 while going 7-3 ATS. One of those defeats came to Golden State this past Saturday when Milwaukee ran out of gas playing for the third time in four days, sixth in nine days and without rest. The Warriors certainly can make a tired road team look terrible. The Bucks aren’t nearly that bad.

Milwaukee enters this matchup having been idle the past two days. So the Bucks should have their full energy. This spot is fraught with danger for Portland. The Trail Blazers are home for the first time in 10 days having gone an impressive 4-1 on their road trip that concluded Sunday at Miami. The Trail Blazers are coming off straight-up victories against the Spurs, Hawks and Heat. They were underdogs in all three of those games.

Now the Trail Blazers have to adjust to being back home while avoid suffering a letdown after such heady road performances.

Recent history is not on the Trail Blazers’ side here. Portland is 1-5 ATS the past six times as a home favorite with the one cover occurring against the Nets, who have the worst record in the NBA by far. On the season, Portland is just 14-17 ATS at home.

I find it hard to back Portland as home chalk when it gives up 110 points per game. Only four teams surrender more points per game. The Bucks, by contrast, rank 10th defensively allowing 5 1/2 fewer points per game than the Trail Blazers.

Milwaukee has been playing excellent defense lately, too. If you discount the Warriors’ game, the Bucks have held six of their last eight opponents to 98 or fewer points.

The Bucks defeated the Trail Blazers, 115-107, at home on Dec. 7 in the previous meeting. It’s not a fluke. The Bucks are active in the paint – where the Trail Blazers are vulnerable – and can match Portland’s athleticism. I would take Giannis Antekokounmpo over Damian Lillard as the best player on the court. The Bucks outscored the Trail Blazers by 24 points in the paint during their earlier victory.


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