The Daily Sweat: Bucks and Suns are both road favorites Friday despite key injuries

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The Milwaukee Bucks are still favored on the road against the Chicago Bulls despite Khris Middleton’s absence.

The defending NBA champion Bucks found out Thursday that Middleton would be out for the remainder of their first-round series with the Chicago Bulls after he sprained his MCL in a 114-110 loss in Game 2. And while his absence has clearly impacted the spread for Friday night’s Game 3, oddsmakers are still giving you the option of taking the Bulls and some points.

Milwaukee is favored by 2.5 points (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC) at BetMGM as it looks to avoid a 2-1 deficit in a series that many thought would be a formality ahead of the playoffs. That, of course, was before Middleton’s injury. But he played in most of the Bulls’ Game 2 win earlier in the week and Chicago was also feisty in Game 1.

Khris Middleton will miss the rest of Milwaukee's NBA playoff series against the Chicago Bulls. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
Khris Middleton will miss the rest of Milwaukee's NBA playoff series against the Chicago Bulls. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

The Bulls are +110 to win the game outright ahead of the team’s first home playoff game since 2017. The Bulls have been the third-best team against the spread at home this season and posted a record of 25-16. Only the Bulls, Grizzlies, and Warriors covered more than 60% of the time at home this season.

With Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday together, the Bucks have still been very good without Middleton available. But while the Bucks may have the top-line star power to compensate for his absence, his loss could be felt throughout the rotation. Pat Connaughton or Grayson Allen will step into the starting lineup in Middleton’s place and someone else like Jevon Carter will need to play bigger minutes off the bench. Connaughton and Allen were the only two bench players to play more than nine minutes in Game 2.

Suns slight favorites with Booker out

Miami and Phoenix are both just 1.5-point favorites ahead of Game 3 in their respective series on Friday night.

The Suns are favored despite Devin Booker’s hamstring injury in Game 2. The Pelicans won that game to even the series at 1-1 and Booker is set to miss 2-3 weeks.

New Orleans took control of Game 2 after Booker was forced to leave the game and will look to deploy defensive wizard Herb Jones elsewhere with Booker absent. Booker had 31 points on 12-of-19 shooting before he left Game 2.

The Pelicans were powered by Brandon Ingram’s 37 points on Tuesday night and another big game could give the Pelicans a surprising 2-1 series lead. New Orleans is just +100 to win Game 3 outright.

The Heat are favored by fewer than two points even though it won the first two games of its series against the Hawks. Atlanta is 27-14 overall at home and 24-18 against the spread. If Miami wins by two or more to take a commanding series lead, the Hawks will continue an unbelievable trend of not covering the spread in any of their losses so far this season. That also means that Miami is a staggering 24-1 against the spread at home when it wins. Since the Hawks are dogs on Friday night, that record will go to 25-1 with a victory.

More low-scoring MLB games?

Six of the ten games on Thursday featured seven or fewer runs including the Twins’ 1-0 win over the Royals and the Tigers’ 3-0 win over the Yankees. Scoring has been hard to come by so far and that’s reflected in the run totals for Friday night’s games. Six games feature a run total of 7.5 or eight and none of those six games have odds shorter than -115 on the over.

Cantlay and Schauffele big Zurich favorites

Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele shot a course-record 13-under 59 on Thursday in best ball in the first round of the Zurich Classic. The duo is now at +240 to win the tournament entering Friday ahead of Sam Burns and Billy Horschel at +700 and the three pairs of Viktor Hovland and Collin Morikawa, Ryan Palmer and Scottie Scheffler, and Harold Varner III and Bubba Watson at +1400.

Who cashed tickets on Thursday?

Favorites were 2-1 against the spread in the NBA playoffs on Thursday night and the Utah Jazz were again the only favorite not to cover. The Jazz lost to the Mavericks despite being 6.5-point favorites and are down 2-1 in the series despite Luka Doncic missing each of the first three games. Both the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies covered as favorites as Memphis stormed back in the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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