This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, some of the RotoWire team gets together and offers their favorite bets of the day. Let's see what's on tap for this slate:
Khris Middleton got hurt four days ago, but with the Bucks on the receiving end of three straight off days, this will be our first look at Giannis without Middleton by his side this season. Through 10 games, Giannis is averaging just a shade under 30 points per game, but removing Middleton means 14 shots, 31 minutes, and a 23.7 percent usage rate are now up for grabs. There's a good chance the likes of Pat Connaughton, Donte DiVincenzo, Wes Matthews and Sterling Brown can combine to produce a reasonable facsimile of Middleton's production over the next few weeks, but Giannis should also see a bump in production. He only played two games last season without Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon in the lineup, and in those games – wins over the Nets and Cavs – he averaged 36 points on 21 shots and 16 free throw attempts per game, with a usage rate of 38.9% – nearly five points higher than his current figure (34.2%). Given the opponent, the concern is that, even without MIddleton, this one could get out of hand early. But I'm willing to take the risk and believe that Chicago can keep the score reasonably close for at least three quarters.
In every game that Young has played 30-plus minutes, he's scored at least 25 points. He's averaged 34.0 points in those contests. Now, Kevin Huerter is out, which will only force the Hawks to lean on Young's presence even more. With Huerter and John Collins off the court this season, Young is averaging 38.4 points on 23.3 shots per 36 minutes. For Antetokounmpo, the absence of Middleton opens up nearly six rebounds per game, and the Bulls, considering they aren't good, will probably be missing plenty of shots. With Middleton off the court, Antetokounmpo has averaged 20.0 rebounds per 36 minutes. There's always the potential of a blowout and the Greek Freak taking an early seat. But that would probably be as a result of the Bulls failing to convert, which should play into his rebounding numbers.
James Anderson: Bucks -12.5 (+104 - alternate line) – FanDuel at 10:32 AM
The Bulls have only played three teams that I think are legitimately good (Raptors, Lakers, Rockets) and they've lost all three of those games by an average of 17.6 points. If you want to include the Pacers as a good team, they're 0-4 with an average margin of 16.5. The Bucks haven't played since Sunday and they are at home, so it could not be a better setup for them — I don't think the Khris Middleton loss will matter much during the regular season, given their depth on the wing. The Bucks have not lost to a bad team and their average margin of victory against the two bad teams they've played (Cavs, Magic) is 24.5. I wouldn't even hate bringing it up to -16.5 (+172) or -17.5 (+194), but -12.5 seems like a very safe way to double up your bet.
Jeff Edgerton: Clippers at Pelicans UNDER 235 – DraftKings, 7:23 AM PDT
The Pelicans are saddled with injuries, and the Clippers are on a back-back. It's going to be hard for these typically prolific offenses to generate 235 tonight. As I aim to go 3-0 in the roundtable, I'm putting my faith in an off-night for both teams.