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Home » Why the Suns are such a tough matchup for the Bucks, plus other best bets for Tuesday

Why the Suns are such a tough matchup for the Bucks, plus other best bets for Tuesday

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I’m typically not one for omens, but in the interest of letting you know what you’re in for today, I feel as though I should disclose exactly where I was when our newsletter editor, Nick Parco, asked me to fill in for the esteemed Tom Fornelli in this space. As much as I’d love for you to believe I was eagerly pouring over statistics just waiting to be called up to the newsletter big leagues, I was actually standing in the bike line of a reasonably busy San Diego thoroughfare.

I’d just fallen victim to the first flat tire of my life, and with nowhere to park, I had no choice but to pull over into the bike lane and attempt to figure out what one does when only 75 percent of their tires are functioning. The message came in before I could even call a tow truck driver. The universe was sending me a message.

Now, you might be thinking, “Sam, you just blew out a tire, you clearly shattered a black cat’s mirror, no way am I entrusting you with my hard-earned gambling dollars.” I’d go the other way. I am so dedicated to my craft that, even stranded in the middle of the road, I am always ready to provide prudent gambling advice to those in need. Who needs luck when you have dedication?

Believe in the grind, which of course refers as much to the sound my tattered tire made as I desperately sought roadside refuse as it does my unflinching commitment to making you money. Now that we’ve settled that, we can jump into today’s top picks

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

🏀 Bucks at Suns, 9 p.m. | TV: ABC
The Pick: Suns -6 (-110)  — 
This was a tough matchup for the Bucks even when they were at full strength. They allow the second-most mid-range shots in the NBA. The Suns took the fourth-most in the regular season and made a higher percentage of them than any other team. Milwaukee’s drop-coverage scheme is designed to allow the very shots Phoenix wants to take. 

We’ve already seen Milwaukee’s counter. In Game 1 of their Eastern Conference finals series with Atlanta, Trae Young killed them with floaters in the mid-range, so the Bucks played Brook Lopez closer to the level of the screen in Game 2. They could get away with doing so because having Giannis Antetokounmpo as the weak-side helper on the backline provided ample protection if Lopez ever got beaten in space. Well, Antetokounmpo is doubtful for Game 1, and Bobby Portis doesn’t provide the same degree of insurance. 

When the Bucks get uncomfortable defensively, they revert to extreme drop coverage thinking that protecting the rim at all costs at least makes life difficult on opposing offenses. Denver tried that in the second round. Look where it got them. Jrue Holiday and P.J. Tucker can far more effectively chase Phoenix’s shooters over screens, but no defender can do so consistently enough to overcome a team this comfortable shooting pull-up jumpers. The strategic landscape of this series changes when and if Antetokounmpo is healthy, but for now, Phoenix has a considerable advantage. 

Key Trend: The Suns made a higher percentage of mid-range shots than any other team in the regular season.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The strongest lean the simulation model has on this game relates to the over/under.

💰 The Picks


Brewers at Mets, 7:10 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Under 7 (-115) — 
The Mets score 3.6 runs per Jacob deGrom start on average. He allows… significantly fewer runs to opposing offenses. The three he gave up to Atlanta in his last start was the most of his season, and before you suggest that the five runs he’s allowed in his past two starts suggests any shred of mortality, remember, he also struck out 14 Braves in seven innings of work.

He’s still a superhuman.

In fact, if he reverts to his typical shutout form, history suggests that you’re virtually guaranteed a win on this bet barring a Mets bullpen collapse. The Mets haven’t scored more than six runs in a single deGrom start this season. Something closer to a 3-1 or 4-2 victory is likelier, but with baseball’s best pitcher on the hill, this is probably going to be a low-scoring game. 

Key Trend: The Mets score 3.6 runs per Jacob deGrom start on average.

Dodgers at Marlins, 7:10 p.m | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Marlins (+120) — 
Tony Gonsolin hasn’t gone longer than four innings in any start this season. Normally, that might not be particularly meaningful, but the Dodgers aren’t particularly well-situated to bullpen their way through this game. They needed to do that just two days ago in a win against the Nationals, burning through eight total pitchers. They needed four pitchers to get through Monday’s loss to the Marlins.

A good start from Gonsolin is a must in this game, and to his credit, the Dodgers are undefeated in games he’s started this season, but without having seen him go deep into games this season, the Marlins should have an opportunity on their hands in this one. 

Key Trend: Tony Gonsolin hasn’t gone longer than four innings in any start this season.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: One of the strongest simulation percentages across baseball tonight is on a home underdog.



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