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Home » Who will step up for Bucks in Giannis Antetokounmpo’s absence? Plus, other best bets for Thursday

Who will step up for Bucks in Giannis Antetokounmpo’s absence? Plus, other best bets for Thursday

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Hello and Happy Thursday. If you happen to be a student-athlete reading this, congratulations on your newfound ability to earn a living. I hope you’re taking your riches and putting them to good use by following all the gambling advice I’m about to give you.

I tell you, there’s nothing better than investing in your future, and there’s no better investment than sports gambling!

Of course, while it’s a great day for college athletes, it’s a terrible day for everybody who has said that college kids getting money will destroy college sports or be the best thing that’s ever happened to them. The truth is that not a whole lot is likely to change. Some players will cash in considerably, while most will barely get anything. Somehow, through all of it, the world will continue traveling around the sun, and the games will continue to be played.

Elsewhere in the wide world of sports: 

OK, let’s spend all that NIL money!

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Hawks at Bucks, 8:30 p.m. | TV: TNT
The Pick: Jrue Holiday Under 22.5 points (-115)
: There are a lot of variables at play in tonight’s game, and that makes it difficult to get a solid read. Giannis Antetokounmpo has officially been ruled out. On the other side, Trae Young is listed as questionable after missing Tuesday night’s game, and while I’m not sure what his status will be, he looked pretty spry on the sidelines during Atlanta’s win, so I’m leaning toward him playing.

And while these thoughts cause me to lean towards Atlanta, I’m not as confident in that play as I am this Jrue Holiday prop.

In the series, Holiday has averaged 20 points per game and  scored more than 23 points in only one of them (a 33-point performance in Game 1). Furthermore, on the season, Holiday has been a more productive scorer on the road. He averaged 19.1 points per game on the road compared to 16.2 at home and took 14.8 shots per game on the road compared to 13.0 at home. Basically, Holiday takes on more of a distributor role at home.

Of course, without Giannis tonight, that will impact Holiday’s usage, but maybe not as much as you think. Holiday played seven games this season without Giannis and averaged 20.7 points per game in those contests. 

Key Trend: Holiday averaged 20.7 points per game without Giannis this season.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine’s Kyle Akins is red hot right now, going 25-9 in his last 34 NBA ATS picks. He has a spread play available on tonight’s game.

💰 The Picks

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Astros at Indians, 7:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Indians (+165) — 
I’m looking for some possible Framber Valdez regression tonight. Valdez enters the contest with a 2.11 ERA across six starts and 38.1 innings, but I’m not sure how sustainable it all is considering his low strikeout rate. He’s struck out only 22.6% of opposing hitters, which is below the league average of 23.2% for all starting pitchers in 2021. He’s also had a left-on-base rate of 84.7%, which is also well above the league average of 72.7% for MLB starters this season. Also, while Cleveland’s offense has not been great against lefties this season, its HR% of 3.22% does rank 14th in the league, so it provides some threat.

Key Trend: Cleveland is 9-3 in its last 12 home games.

Mets at Braves, 7:20 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Braves (+147) — 
#OperationFadeGrom has not worked nearly as well in 2021 as it has in years past. To the disappointment of millions everywhere, the Mets are 10-3 in deGrom starts this season because he’s not only pitching better than ever before, but the Mets offense has the audacity to score 3.97 runs per game for him. But I’m not quitting on the operation yet, especially not today with the Mets on the road and Atlanta having a strong pitcher of its own on the mound in Ian Anderson. Anderson isn’t deGrom, but he does an excellent job of missing bats and keeping the ball in the park. If he can rein in a Mets offense that ranks 29th in the league in run rate, the Braves are live.

Key Trend: The Mets are 1-4 in their last five road games.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine’s Advanced Computer Model has been in the simulation kitchen baking up some results, and it’s pulled an A-graded money line play for tonight’s game between the Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres out of the oven.

💸 The DFS Rundown

Top Three Starters

  • Jacob deGrom, Mets
  • Corbin Burnes, Brewers
  • Ian Anderson, Braves

Value Starter

Today’s Top Stack

  • Christian Yelich, Brewers
  • Willy Adames, Brewers
  • Omar Narvaez, Brewers

Value Hitter

⚽ Stack Attack

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The Euros resume on Friday and I have a parlay for the two matches. Before we get to it, it’s important for me to remind you in big, bold letters that we are betting on these teams to qualify, not the 90-minute lines. These bets include the possibility of extra time and penalties. Got it? Good. Our parlay pays out at +177.

  • Spain to advance (-333)
  • Italy to advance (-150)



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