Today’s Top Picks: Best NBA bets before college basketball takes the spotlight

This Monday is a great day because it is the last day you won’t have basketball to watch during the afternoon for a while. It’s conference championship week in college basketball — the week that I sometimes think might be better than the tournament itself.

It’s not, but there are times when it feels that way.

As for the NBA, there’s a limited slate of games tonight. Probably because everybody wants to watch conference championship week.

All odds are via William Hill Sportsbook

1. Bucks at Nuggets: Nuggets -5.5

Could the Bucks lose two games in a row? That seems to be highly unlikely considering that Milwaukee has lost only 11 games all season and that it is 9-1 after a loss in the first 10 games. There are some factors one must consider here, though. The first is that Milwaukee lost on Sunday in Phoenix. Now, a day later, the Bucks have had to travel to Denver to play their fourth game in six days and at altitude. Also, we shouldn’t forget that one of Milwaukee’s 11 losses this season came to Denver, in Milwaukee, by 12 points. That 70-win season is looking a lot less likely with every word, isn’t it?

2. Raptors at Jazz: Jazz -4.5

Speaking of cities at higher elevations, Salt Lake City isn’t exactly low to the ground, and tonight the Jazz are also facing a team that played on Sunday night. The Raptors beat Sacramento 118-113 on Sunday, but this will be their fifth straight on the road. They’ve won the previous three, but the Raptors have only covered the spread in one of their last six games. Of course, Utah hasn’t exactly been a spread covering beast itself, as it’s gone 2-7 ATS in its last night, but it returns home tonight after a road trip of its own having won five straight.

3. No. 15 BYU vs. St. Marys: BYU -4

These teams played two close games during the regular season, with St. Mary’s winning its home game by three points in overtime, and BYU returning the favor with a two-point win on its turf. As the spread suggests, we’re likely due for another close game on Monday night, but I like the Cougars in this one. BYU has been off for nearly 10 days, so there are worries of rust, but the Cougars have done well when getting a lot of rest this season. When they’ve had four or more days off between games, they’ve gone 11-3 ATS. Furthermore, against conference opponents, they’ve gone 11-5 ATS. St. Mary’s, meanwhile, needed double-overtime to slip past Pepperdine on Saturday night. Take the rested Cougars.

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