Top 3 NBA Betting Picks for Tuesday, June 15th (2021)

We’ve only got one NBA game on tap tonight, and it’s a crucial Game 5 between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets will probably have to play without James Harden and Kyrie Irving, and as a result, the sportsbooks have them listed as four-point home underdogs.

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1. Mike James Under 11.5 Points | +102 at FD Sportsbook

Yes, I know that Kyrie Irving is out. And even though the Nets upgraded James Harden from out to doubtful, they’ll probably have to start Mike James tonight. So why am I so low on the 30-year-old spot starter? That’s easy — this total is at least one point too high.

James has played in 20 games for the Brooklyn Nets since the team acquired him in April. He averaged 7.7 points per game in the regular season and is averaging 4.7 points per game in the playoffs. He surpassed this total in only four (20%) of those games.

Sure, most of his appearances came with either Irving or Harden on the floor. That said, we did get to see him play without those two once. In that April 29th appearance against the Indiana Pacers, James got 25 minutes and scored a single point. He went 0-for-7 from the field and 1-for-2 from the free-throw line. Yikes.

While it’s certainly true that James should see an uptick in usage tonight, the Nets have plenty of other role players who can contribute on the scoreboard. Other guards like Landry Shamet (who started and scored 14 points in the aforementioned game against the Pacers) and Tyler Johnson (who started and scored 11 points in that game) cap James’ upside, and you should get in on this under while it sits in the plus money.

2. Kevin Durant Under 35.5 Points | -116 at FD Sportsbook

We are yet to see Durant surpass this total against the Bucks this series. He has recorded totals of 29 (Game 1), 32 (Game 2), 30 (Game 3), and 28 (Game 4), all of which are impressive, but none of which point to value on the over. P.J. Tucker has done a great job defending the 11-time All-Star, and it’ll be tough for him to hit the over even without Kyrie Irving on the court.

To be fair, Durant beat this total against the Bucks once during the regular season. He recorded 42 points on 16-for-33 shooting (7-of-13 from deep). However, Tucker played only 23 minutes in that one, and he did so off the bench. The Bucks have since shifted him into the starting lineup for this series, and he is averaging 28 minutes per game. Nets head coach Steve Nash has even voiced his disapproval of Tucker’s defensive approach.

What are your thoughts on PJ Tucker's defense this series against Kevin Durant? 🤔

— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) June 13, 2021

With the Nets down to one-third of their Big Three, Tucker and the Bucks are unlikely to slow down. That means you can expect Durant to stay below his betting total once again tonight.

3. Joe Harris Over 3.5 Made Threes | -110 at FD Sportsbook

I may not have confidence in Kevin Durant and Mike James, but I do have faith in Joe Harris. Harris hit at least four made threes in two of his three regular-season outings against the Bucks, and he also hit this over in Game 1.

Although his subsequent totals of three (Game 2), one (Game 3), and two (Game 4) aren’t great, the shot volume has been there for him — he averaged 7.3 attempted threes per game through that stretch. For a guy who shot 47.5% from deep this year, a small uptick in volume should be enough for him to clear this total.

I also like this pick because the Bucks haven’t played strong perimeter defense this year. While they have certainly looked good in the playoffs, Milwaukee allowed a league-worst 14.8 made threes per game in the regular season. They also surrendered the fifth-most made threes to small forwards (3.1), where Harris spends most of his minutes.

Today’s Plus-Money Prop: Kevin Durant Under 32.5 Points | +162 at FD Sportsbook

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Isaiah Sirois is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Isaiah, check out his archive and follow him @is_sirois.

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