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Tipico One-Play Payday (Feb. 19)

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Fridays represent a handful of advantages over other days of the week: The beginning of the weekend, bi-weekly paydays for most, and most importantly, large NBA slates. That’s why every Friday, FTN Bets and I will bring you the “One-Play Payday” on Tipico Sportsbook — one play, whether a spread, total or moneyline, that stands out as a rock-solid play for the Friday NBA slate, to help sweeten what’s already one of the best days of the week.

This Friday’s one-play payday is the Oklahoma City Thunder +10.5 against the Milwaukee Bucks. If you would have told me that I’d be confidently betting against the Bucks’ spread at the beginning of the season, I would’ve called you crazy, but this season has been a far cry from what the Bucks expected, and they come into this game in arguably their worst form all season.

While 12 of the Bucks’ 16 wins have come by more than 10 points, their average point differential on the season is only +6.7 points with a 13-16 record against the spread (fifth-worst in the entire NBA) and come into Friday’s game in the midst of a five-game losing streak, with one of those losses coming against this Thunder team. 

Over that five-game span, the Bucks rank 23rd in defensive rating (118.3), 23rd in team field-goal percentage (46.1%), 21st in points per game (111.4), and dead-last in free throw percentage (71.9%). Put simply, this team is all out of sorts. Sure, they’ll rebound at some point and have the potential to blow to brakes off of any given team, but it’s incredibly difficult to buy into this team with a 10.5-point spread, especially with the chances they’ll be without Jrue Holiday for another game.

On the Thunder side of the game, they beat this Bucks team a mere five days ago without any of their three points guards in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, George Hill or Theo Maledon. While Hill remains sidelined for the foreseeable future, they’ll have both Gilgeous-Alexander (team leader in points per game and assists per game) and Maledon back in the lineup. This should bolster this team on both sides of the ball and given their healthy rotation for most of the season, they’ve posted an average point differential of -5.9 points and have only lost one game by more than 10 points over their nine games.

All of these factors make this 10.5-point spread seem a touch generous in favor of Milwaukee, especially given the fact that they’re on the second leg of a back-to-back and while I wouldn’t feel confident betting the Thunder to win this game, this feels safe enough to count on them covering the spread at the very least.

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