The Daily Sweat: It’s hard to figure out Clippers, as they face off vs. Bucks
The Los Angeles Clippers were a popular pick to win the NBA Finals this season. And at times, they look like championship contenders.
Other times, they look like a team that could make a first-round exit in the playoffs.
The Clippers play at the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday. The Bucks are a 4.5-point favorite at BetMGM.
Part of the Clippers’ inconsistency is that their stars, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, sit a lot. The Clippers are serious about load management. But that doesn’t explain everything.
The Clippers have had some blowout losses, most notably a 31-point loss at the Denver Nuggets in January with Leonard and George in the lineup. Since the start of January the Clippers have lost eight games, and seven were by double digits. There is one trend that shows the Clippers might be figuring it out, however.
Los Angeles has won six in a row when Leonard plays. He has scored at least 25 in each of those games. The Clippers had only been 13-9 with Leonard in the lineup before that surge, so the winning streak is notable.
We’ll probably see Leonard on the floor in Milwaukee. The Bucks have been up and down too, but are on a five-game winning streak and are two and a half games behind the Boston Celtics for the top record in the East. It’s a good matchup on Thursday night, but not easy to bet because the Clippers are unpredictable. Los Angeles is 27-27 against the spread this season. That sums it up.
Here is the first look at the sports betting slate for Thursday:
A good night in the NBA
In addition to Clippers-Bucks, there are a couple other strong matchups in the NBA. The Memphis Grizzlies, a good team in a bit of a slump, face the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs are 6.5-point favorites and it could be due to Memphis being on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Golden State Warriors play at the Denver Nuggets, which is a fun matchup on paper but there could be some players sitting for the Warriors. Golden State played an overtime game on Wednesday. Oddsmakers assume Steph Curry and others will sit against the West-leading Nuggets; Denver is a 12.5-point favorite.
FAU puts 20-game win streak on line
The longest win streak in college basketball will be tested. Florida Atlantic, which has won 20 in a row, is at UAB. UAB is favored by 1.5, and it should be a really good game on CBS Sports Network.
That’s one of six games Thursday that features a ranked team. The only other spread that’s not double digits for those games is Oregon at Arizona. The Wildcats are an 8.5-point favorite.
PGA Tour visits Pebble Beach
The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am begins on Thursday. Matt Fitzpatrick is the favorite to win that event, with a pretty strong field, at +900 odds. Jordan Spieth and Viktor Hovland are next at +1000.
What’s the best bet?
Let’s go with the Clippers and the points. They’re playing better lately, should have a full lineup and it should be a close game to close out Thursday night’s TNT doubleheader. It’s tough to totally trust them, but it’s a lot of points for a good team.