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NBA Betting Guide: Thursday 4/4/19

Tonight, the 76ers and Bucks clash in an Eastern Conference showdown. Could injuries turn this into yet another high-scoring game between the two?

numberFire has built comprehensive algorithms to pinpoint the bets with the highest probability of returning money, whether you are betting on the total, a line, or moneyline. For those new to numberFire, we use a five-star system to show which bets you should be targeting on any given night. Stars represent how much you should risk on a wager relative to what you would normally bet.

For example, if you would normally bet $110 to win $100 on a -110 spread wager, if we give a 3-star ranking, we suggest risking three times that amount: $330 to win $300.

Using our models as a guide, let's take a look at the best bets for tonight.

Please note that lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.

Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers

Over 228.0: 5-Star Rating out of 5

The Los Angeles Lakers' roster is in shambles. While LeBron James joins Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart in sitting out the rest of the year, the statuses of both Kyle Kuzma (foot) and Tyson Chandler (illness) are up in the air. If they are out again, we could see a third straight game with a starting lineup of Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lance Stephenson, Moritz Wagner and JaVale McGee.

Yikes. Taking on the Golden State Warriors and their lineup full of All-Stars, picking the Lakers with or without the points (+13.0) is only for the faint of heart. Instead, we'll attack the total in this potential blowout.

If it's worth anything, the teams' three previous meetings have had the over hit just once, though they have averaged a combined 228.3 points per game with fewer than 228 in only one. In the two in which Golden State was favored by double-digits, the total was set at 234 and 235 points with actual totals of 216 and 241, per Killer Sports.

Regardless of opponent, in the eight games the Lakers have been double-digit 'dogs, the over has hit only twice. Their last such game was two days ago -- a 119-103 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder that resulted in the under hitting by three points. But the visiting Warriors have a much larger sample to that end. When giving 10 or more, the over has hit 51.6% of the time as they and their opponents have averaged 231.5 points. Two of the last three have hit the over, and on an average combined total of 227.7.

With the Warriors and Lakers playing at top-10 paces this year, 225 is looking like the baseline for this game. If it were to stay somewhat close through three quarters, there's no telling how many points could be put on the Staples Center scoreboard. Our models have them scoring at least 229 at a 74.03% rate. A 41.30% return produces a five-star rating in our system.

Milwaukee Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers

Over 230.5: 2-Star Rating out of 5

Tonight's game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers pits the Eastern Conference's first- and third-seeded teams against one another. In a potential playoff preview, the two will meet for the third time this season, having split the previous two -- both in Milwaukee.

In those two matchups, the outcome has been different, but the pace of the game has been high in both. The first one, back in October, was played at a pace of 109.5 possessions with the Bucks taking that one 123-108. The other, back on March 17, was played at 106.5 possessions, resulting in a 130-125 Sixers win. Not so surprisingly, both hit the over, with the two teams averaging 243 points between them -- 15 above the average over/under.

Between mid-season transactions and recent injuries, the most recent matchup is probably more telling. Malcolm Brogdon was already sidelined while Nikola Mirotic suited up for the Bucks, whereas Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris were both on board with Joel Embiid in there as well. Following three games of rest, the big man -- labeled questionable -- is likely to be back in action this evening.

Per's On/Off stats, Philly's pace (105.71) is higher without Embiid but only by 0.51 possessions. That is nothing compared to the 5.7-point increase in offensive rating with Embiid on as opposed to off the floor. For that reason, Sixers games have had the over hit 51.3% of the time and 52.6% in home games alone.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the firepower around him have helped the over to win out 53.8% of the time despite a rather high over/under (226.2) on average. The over has hit in three straight and four of the last five overall, not to mention two straight and 7 of the previous 10 road matchups.

Totaling 231 points is no small feat, but these two teams' offensive attacks have held up throughout the year. That has our models expecting the over at a 61.73% probability, and with a 17.80% return that's enough for a two-star bet.

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