Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (right) drives past Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton on Jan. 11
Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (right) drives past Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton on Jan. 11|David Zalubowski / Associated Press

Saturday NBA Picks - Bucks are working on something special and Nuggets have some pieces back in place

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

2-0 Friday, 89-86-1 overall.

Bucks (-9) at Magic (220)

Pick: Bucks -9

The Bucks are who they are because they win games like this, and they often make statements in them. Milwaukee is on pace for 71 wins this season and the closer they get towards Golden State’s 73-9 all-time mark from four years ago, the more motivation they’ll have.

At 13-9 ATS as an away favorite, the Bucks cover almost 60% of the time as road chalk. It’s not like this for a lot of teams at the top in the NBA, namely the Clippers who are prioritizing load management with Kawhi Leonard, but Mike Budenholzer gets his team ready to play on a nightly basis which should come as no surprise. He’s the same coach that won 60 games with a bunch of role players in Atlanta five years ago.

This is a potential first-round playoff match-up and we’d expect the Bucks to send a message today in Orlando. We might be look at an all-time great regular season team here.

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Nuggets (-3) at Suns (218.5)

Pick: Nuggets -3

Phoenix is off a blowout win on Friday night against Houston. The Suns won’t have a better moment the rest of the season that last night’s 127-91 white-washing of the Rockets. But remember, this is the same Suns team that is 12th in the West and is going to miss the playoffs for the 10th season in a row.

Like Milwaukee, we trust a healthy Nuggets team in the regular season. The Nuggets have recently gotten Jamal Murray and Gary Harris back in the backcourt and Paul Millsap could return to action tonight in the desert. They might not have a superstar like the Bucks do, but the Nuggets have a ton of players that know their roles and mesh well together. That, too, is something that lends itself towards a lot of wins in the regular season which explains the Nuggets 36-16 straight-up record coming into tonight’s game.

One of our rules of thumb is to bet on teams the next game after laying an egg and fade teams after a blowout win. With a short number like this, we’ll swallow the three points and bank on regression from Phoenix.

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