The NBA Bubble continues to bring nothing but pure excitement and adrenaline.  Last week saw some interesting twists as teams stepped away to protest racial and civil inequalities, but things are now back to normal – as normal as they can be in the COVID-19 world. As teams advance, and some are sent home, basketball fans can expect things to get even more interesting but, hopefully, without some of the drama.  Everything is back on track now, and the two NBA games on tap for Aug 31, are going to keep fans on the edge of their seats, so let’s look at our picks.

NBA Daily Picks Aug 31, 2020

The Heat Look To Strip The Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks were always seen as a team that had a real shot at the title this year, but the same can’t be said for the Miami Heat.  The team has surprised a lot of people, though, and is continuing to advance.  Today’s game begins Round 2 for these two teams, and each is coming in with a clean slate to try to rule the court.  The Bucks were the top seed in the East heading into the postseason, and the Heat want to push them off their pedestal.

Miami has its work cut out for it today.  The Bucks have maintained the best league record for the past two season and, thanks to MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, have experience where they are now in the season.  Despite being veritable rookies in playoff appearances, the Heat have taken down the Bucks twice during the regular season, which is going to give them an extra bit of energy and confidence in today’s matchup.

Stopping the Greek Freak is difficult, but not impossible.  Bam Adebayo has already shown that he has the ability, and the size, needed to be a stubborn presence against the formidable 6’11” power forward, and he won’t back down easily.  Because Milwaukee could face difficulty getting the big man to make shots, Miami is starting to be considered as a major underdog winner.

At +195, it would be a substantial payout and is worth a look.  There’s little doubt that this is going to be a tough game, and the Over/Under of 223.5 could be a little high.  Neither team has allowed over 115 points in each of their last four games in the NBA playoffs, so running with the Under is a good pick for Aug 31.  The Heat look good against the spread against the Bucks, as well, going 8-4 the last 12 times these two teams have met, so getting some action on Miami at +5.5 will add a little bonus.

Decision Time As The Thunder And Rockets Meet

The Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder are heading into Game 6 of their Round 1 matchup tonight, with the Rockets up by one game.  If they can take the win tonight, the Thunder are going home; if not, it’s on to Game 7 for the decision.  Thunder guard Dennis Schröder and Rockets forward P.J. Tucker have apparently put their differences in the rear-view mirror after the melee this past Saturday, and it’s time to get down to business.

The Rockets now have Russell Westbrook back in action, fully rested and almost fully recovered from a quad injury.  He was in for Game 5, but was certainly not his former self.  However, the Rockets are going to expect more out of their star point guard tonight, and he’ll most likely deliver.  With the solid defense Houston is showing against OC and Westbrook’s shooting, there’s a good chance that the Rockets will lock things up with another win tonight.

The Rockets are the clear favorite at -240 and, with James Harden, Robert Covington and Eric Gordon able to run deep – Westbrook will lend a hand.  The moneyline isn’t a big win today, but there’s room for some action on the Over/Under of 226.5, which is our second of our NBA picks for Aug 31.  Of the five games these two teams have played in Round 1, three went for less than 227 points, and the Rockets are going to apply more pressure tonight so they can get this series over with.  While the Thunder will try to keep things lively, they’re going to run into offensive issues that will keep them frustrated.  After tonight, another team should be going home from the bubble.