- Averaging 28.8 PPG in January, Bradley Beal has lifted the Wizards above expectations over the last couple weeks.
For its Friday bets, Three at 3 is eyeing a pair of underdogs against two of the league's best teams, plus a newly energetic Timberwolves squad as a home favorite.
1. Milwaukee Bucks at Washington Wizards (+2.5)
7:00 pm ET
The Wizards are now 4-2 (5-1 against the spread) since publicly announcing John Wall's season-ending surgery. Over their last three games they have beaten the Thunder in Oklahoma City and split a home-and-home with the Sixers, winning the second game 123-06 (WAS +3.5) in DC on Wednesday night. Bradley Beal has stepped up to be an A-level scorer in Wall's absence, averaging 27.2 PPG on 46.2% shooting and 37% three-point shooting during that stretch.
The Wizards remain at home tonight to host Milwaukee, with whom they split their four-game season series in 2017-18, but are yet to play against this season. The Bucks have won seven of their last eight, although only two of those wins have come on the road, and one of those road wins was over the lowly Knicks. While 19-4 at home this year (15-8 ATS), the Eastern Conference-leading Bucks are merely 10-7 (8-8-1 ATS) in games played on the road. The Wizards are 3-1 straight-up as a home underdog this season, and should give Milwaukee everything they can handle tonight. It was also announced that Giannis Antetokounmpo is doubtful to play tonight.
Pick: Wizards +2.5
Dallas Mavericks at Minnesota Timberwolves (-5)
Dallas has looked out of sorts lately, losing three of its last four (1-3 ATS), with the only win in that time being a 104-94 home win over Phoenix on Wednesday (PHX +11). All four of those games have gone under the total, with the Mavericks' 104.5 offensive rating over that stretch ranking 28th of any NBA team over its last four games. On Friday night the Mavs will travel to take on a Wolves team that is playing on two full days rest after a thrilling 119-117 win at Oklahoma City on Tuesday (MIN +8.5) in what was 32-year-old Ryan Saunders's first game as an NBA head coach. Minnesota has now won three straight (3-0 ATS), and Karl-Anthony Towns has averaged 25.7 PPG in those contests in only 30.5 minutes per game. Given that Dallas plays some of the league's worst interior defense (64.3 opponent FG% within five feet of the rim, 27th in NBA), Towns and the Timberwolves should continue rolling tonight.
Pick: Timberwolves -5
Chicago Bulls at Golden State Warriors (-15.5)
Broadly speaking, betting on the Warriors is not a winning proposition. Including the playoffs, Golden State covered in only 44.1% of games last season (26th in NBA), and this year its 17-24 ATS record is second-worst in the league. The Dubs are big-time favorites at home tonight against a terrible Bulls team, but don't assume that they'll win by 20-plus. Golden State is only 9-13 ATS at home this year and, somewhat surprisingly, only the league's 13th-best home team in terms of home net rating (4.7). They've been scoring lots of points recently, but favorites of 10 or more that have seen their last three games go over the total by at least 18 combined points are only 36-63 ATS in non-conference games over the last five seasons. Plus, while the Bulls are young and athletic, they play at the league's fourth-slowest pace, which lowers the likelihood of blowouts.
Pick: Bulls +15.5
Overall Record: 99-78-4