MetroBet looks at a pair of games on the NBA slate for Monday night including the Sixers at Pelicans and Bucks at Bulls.
Philadelphia 76ers at New Orleans Pelicans (-1.5)
Moneyline: Sixers EVEN, Pelicans -120
Betting Total: 238 points
Time (Eastern), TV: 8 p.m., NBATV
The New Orleans Pelicans (27-34) and a rested Anthony Davis appear poised to take advantage of a Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers (38-22) squad at the Smoothie King Center on Monday night.
Embiid (27.3 points per game) is currently dealing with left knee soreness and probably won’t play again for at least a week. His presence down low is vital to Philadelphia, as he averages 13.5 rebounds per contest. Embiid has helped get the Sixers to fourth in season rebound differential at plus-214. New Orleans is not lacking for size with Davis and center Julius Randle collecting 12.8 and 8.9 rebounds per night, respectively. That’s why they’re ninth in rebound differential at plus-140.
The Sixers’ defense has suffered in the two games Embiid has missed so far, allowing opponents to shoot 48.5 percent from the floor. Their season average is 45.4. That spells trouble against the hot-shooting Jrue Holiday, who is averaging 24.3 points per game over his last three contests.
There are some trends working against Philly too. The Sixers are 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games against teams with losing records and just 5-13 against the spread in their last 18 road games playing teams with a home win percentage of .600 or better, per Covers.com.
The play: Pelicans spread
Milwaukee Bucks (-11) at Chicago Bulls
Moneyline: Bucks -650, Bulls +500
Betting Total: 228 points
Time (Eastern): 8 p.m.
The Chicago Bulls (16-44) have managed to win three straight games, but the Milwaukee Bucks (45-14) should bring that streak to a crashing halt at the United Center on Monday night.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and company have won five straight over their Central Division rival, covering on four occasions, including a 13-point win on Feb. 11. The Bucks’ offense appeared to be sleepwalking into the All-Star break, then were held to just 98 points in a narrow win over the Celtics. Fortunately their defense was up to the task. But then Milwaukee broke out for 140 points in an exciting victory over the Timberwolves on Saturday. Antetokounmpo was his usual brilliant self (27 points), but small forward Khris Middleton notched 28 points, his highest output in nearly two months, and point guard Eric Bledsoe broke out of a mini-slump by scoring 16 points. Recently-acquired power forward Nikola Mirotic added 17 points off the bench, which is exactly what the Bucks were hoping for when they brought him in.
The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to Chicago’s lousy unit, which is actually worse at home. They’re outscored by 8.8 points per game at the United Center compared to 8.0 overall. Perhaps that’s why the Bulls are 2-8 against the spread in their last 10 home games.
The play: Bucks spread