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April 11, 2016

Two picks have been released.

1: Take N.O. Pelicans +4 spread (buy half a point) against Chicago Bulls for 3% of the bankroll.

The Bulls beat the Cavaliers in their last game but it was too little too late for them as the Pacers' win over the Nets last night put the final nail in the coffin! Chicago will not be making the playoffs and deserved no better after struggling with consistency all season long and suffering from an identity crisis since the departure of coach Tom Thibodeau. Their defensive prowess evaporated as did their level of competitiveness since Fred Hoiberg took over and while he may do better if given time over the next few years, this is a season that the Bulls can not wait for to END. As it is, they have two remaining games on their schedule and one in particular, this one is completely meaningless. That's because while they may want to give their faithful fanbase something to cheer on the final home game of the season against the 76ers perhaps in form of a blowout, this game on the road against a non-conference opponent is one that they could do without.

Rose, Gasol, Gibson and Moore will be watching this one from the bench next to Joakim Noah who's missed a good portion of the season with various injuries! And while the New Orleans' squad is also depleted, they have been playing short-handed since the All-Star break. Alvin Gentry's team has found a way to remain competitive despite missing its stars and playing with little depth is not new to them. The Bulls on the other hand had Gasol and Rose dictate the tempo of offense as recently as two days ago and also got good contribution from E'Twaun Moore this season! To not have them on the court will hurt their chances tonight and means they need to suddenly come up with new strategies and sets for a game that they care little about.

This is the Pelicans' final home game of the season and they would love nothing more than to get a 'W' over the Chicago Bulls, who remain a big 'name' in the basketball world to give their crowd something to cheer about! The fact that they are coming off a blowout defeat at the hands of the Phoenix Suns puts a healthy amount of pressure on them to perform tonight as they are in 'bounce-back mode'. Chicago on the other hand has nothing to gain or lose anymore and will be simply going through the motions. Their hearts won't be in it and results are hard to come by when that is the case. And yet the betting public sees a Bulls team that just beat the Cavs and is unwisely laying points with the dejected squad that has been eliminated from post-season contention on the road! The motivation level between the two sides could not be more different and this also happens to be a big public fade!

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Bulls have covered just 1 of 4 spread as a road favorite of 3.5 to 6 points!
  • Pelicans are 4-1 ATS as a home underdog of 3.5 to 6 points!
  • Bulls are 3-10 ATS (against-the-spread) following an upset win as an underdog!

2: Take Orlando Magic -4 spread against Milwaukee Bucks for 3% of the bankroll.

Often times at this point in the season, the matchups between teams who are no longer in postseason contention and have little to play for, often exhibit the most value. That is the case in this particular matchup as the Orlando Magic host the Milwaukee Bucks at Amway Center, a place where Orlando has won 5 of their last 7 and are 23-16 ATS on the season.

The Milwaukee Bucks, meanwhile, have failed to cover the spread in six of their last eight games versus the Magic and are winless at the betting window in their last four games overall. They have also been a team that hasn't played their best on the road this season coming in just 10-30 on the highway this season and come into this one having lost 6 of their last 8 road contests. In many people's eyes, Milwaukee has had a somewhat disappointing season. After making the playoffs last year, many expected this team to potentially be a 45 or 50 game winner this season and they no doubt failed to reach those lofty expectations.

Not much was expected of the Orlando Magic this season; however they have been making great strides and are one or two pieces away from really making an impact in the Eastern Conference. Orlando has a terrific core with Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton, and Mario Hezonja although Oladipo and Gordon are doubtful to play in this contest due to being under the concussion protocol. This will be the Magic's final home game of the season which should motivate them in this contest. They have dropped their season finale in each of the last 3 seasons and have been vocal in the media about snapping that recent streak. There is no question that this game means much more to the Magic than it does their opponents tonight. The Bucks are also one of Scott Skiles' former teams and you could bet that he would like nothing more than to pick up a win against them tonight. Look for former Milwaukee player, Ersan Ilyasova to get some solid minutes tonight.

This is also a revenge matchup for the Magic as Milwaukee has managed to take 2 of the three meetings this season; however both matchups were incredibly close. The fact that Orlando made critical mistakes late in the 4th quarter in both of those losses will ensure that they keep their composure and play the full 40 minutes in this one. Both of these teams did play yesterday, however we believe it will be the Bucks who have the more tired players on the court. Milwaukee had the unfortunate task of playing an overtime game yesterday which required an extra 5 minutes of intense action before narrowly coming away with the victory. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton each logged 40+ minutes in that contest and could feel the effects of fatigue late in this contest. Meanwhile, Orlando's coaching staff did a great job at conserving and watching their starters minutes as no player logged more than 31 minutes in their contest. It wouldn't surprise us if Jason Kidd decided to give some of his stars a lengthy rest tonight on the second half of a back to back. The Bucks have their own home finale on Wednesday against the Pacers and we expect that game means much more to the coaches and players than this one tonight.

Given the difference in not only fatigue but also motivation and desire to win this game, Orlando has been the team that has been playing much better basketball as of late and should win this game rather comfortably. They've managed to bounce back after a loss and pick up a victory in each of their last 3 times in this situation. Orlando also didn't have to do much traveling in this contest coming up from South Beach which should give them yet another advantage to come away with the win and cover tonight.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • The Bucks are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 meetings in Orlando!
  • The Magic are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 home games!
  • The Magic have won 18 of their last 19 home games against Milwaukee! 

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