There could only be two NBA games on Monday night if the Philadelphia 76ers close out their series against the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday afternoon. Philly has a commanding 3-0 lead over Brooklyn, and it would take the biggest collapse in modern history for the Sixers to lose this series. The oddsmakers believe that the 76ers will make Games 5-7 unnecessary as the visitors are 5.5-point favorite per the NBA betting odds on Saturday afternoon, so let’s take a look at the other two games scheduled for Monday night.
NBA Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook
Milwaukee Bucks (TBD) at Miami Heat
The basketball betting line for this game will vary drastically depending on the status of Giannis Antetokounmpo. There is a general consensus that Antetokounmpo is the best player in the NBA, and that’s why the Milwaukee Bucks were the favorites to win the NBA Championship per the NBA futures odds at BetRivers Sportsbook before the playoffs started.
We haven’t seen much of the Greek Freak in this series. Antetokounmpo played for just 11 minutes in Game 1 after falling awkwardly on his back, and he missed Game 2 in order to get some rest. He is currently considered doubtful to play in Game 3, but if the Bucks lose on Saturday, it seems very likely he will suit up on Monday night to try and avoid Milwaukee going down 3-1 in this series. Antetokounmpo averaged 31.1 PPG, 11.8 RPG, and 5.7 APG this season while shooting better than 55% from the floor.
Jrue Holiday continues to prove why he is one of the most underrated players in the league. Holiday does not get the same attention and adoration as other elite guards, but he was voted the best defender in the league by an anonymous group of players this season. He is averaging 20.0 PPG, 13.5 APG, and 6.0 RPG, and he is one of the leaders alongside Khris Middleton when Antetokounmpo is out.
Miami might have the best player on the court if Antetokounmpo isn’t playing in this game. Jimmy Butler has repeatedly shown that he can take his game to another level in the postseason, and he came up huge for the Heat in Game 1. Butler had 35 points and 11 assists in the first game between these teams last weekend, and he was solid in Game 2 too. Unfortunately for the Heat, the defense was bad, allowing 25 threes to the Bucks in that game, and Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis were dominant in the block too.
My pick in this game depends on the status of Giannis. If he plays, I like Milwaukee to win and cover the number. However, if he doesn’t play, I think Miami stands a good chance of at least picking up a cover.
Memphis Grizzlies (TBD) at Los Angeles Lakers
There will be a lot of attention turned to Dillon Brooks as he continues to jaw with LeBron James. Brooks is establishing himself as one of the game’s most vocal players, and he is not afraid to get into it with anyone. Although Brooks only had 12 points and picked up five fouls in Game 2, he was one of the main storylines as he called James “old”.
James is no longer the superstar he was in the past, but he is still one of the top ten players in the league. He led all scorers with 28 points in the Game 2 loss to Memphis, and it wasn’t his fault that the team around him really struggled. James had 28 points and 12 rebounds while shooting better than 50% from the floor.
The big question for the Lakers surrounds their supporting cast. Anthony Davis did not have much of an impact in Game 2, and D’Angelo Russell was a big no show the last time out. That puts too much pressure on James given his age and how much he has left in the tank.
I like Memphis to take one of the two games in Los Angeles because we have seen this young, deep team rise to the occasionally. The Grizzlies will make sure this series returns to Memphis knotted at two.