Top NBA Picks and Predictions for March 31 (Bucks, Clippers Picked to Upset as Small Underdogs)

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. / Justin Ford/GettyImages

Plenty of playoff teams are in action on Thursday night in the NBA, and BetSided's Peter Dewey and Donnavan Smoot have you covered with a few of their favorite plays tonight.

Let's get into today's picks, with all odds via WynnBET Sportsbook:

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets Prediction and Pick

Milwaukee just faced one of the top teams in the East and came out on top. They were able to go into another gear and I think the same happens tonight.

Brooklyn's defense hasn't been great in the last two games, allowing an average of 121 points per game. That number, combined with the fact the Nets don't have an interior force to slow down Giannis Antetokounmpo, concerns me for tonight.

The Greek Freak is a big reason why I'm backing them tonight. He's averaging 35.4 points per game in his last five meetings with the Nets -- which includes a 49 point game. Milwaukee was able to come back against the Sixers because of Giannis' dominance and he won't even have to work hard for it tonight.

Lean: Bucks ML (+105) -- Donnavan Smoot

You can find Donnavan Smoot’s full betting record here.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Utah Jazz Prediction and Pick

As much as I don't believe in the Utah Jazz long-term, they are playing a Lakers team tonight that gave up 82 points in the first half to Luka Doncic on Tuesday. Los Angeles won't have any answers for Donovan Mitchell, creating a serious issue for their defense. Before the collapse against the Clippers, the Jazz were up by 25 points. Tonight, they won't have to face a Paul George or a player of his caliber.

As bad as the Jazz have been over the last 10 games, the Lakers have been worse. Los Angeles is 26th in net rating and 3-7 in that span. Meanwhile, the Jazz are 14th in net rating and are 4-6. Unless the Lakers get a big contribution from a surprise third player, this will be a blowout.

Utah is 3-2 ATS in its last five games as a double-digit favorite. The Jazz have done a decent job being a bully, and I think they will be able to dominate the drama-filled Lakers. If they can't cover, a dialogue then needs to be started about how good the Jazz are.

Lean: Jazz -12.5 (-110) -- Donnavan Smoot

Interested in betting on some college basketball this weekend? The BetSided team has you covered with breakdowns and picks for each Final Four matchup!

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Chicago Bulls Prediction and Pick

Paul George’s return changes a lot of things for this Clippers team, as his impact on the roster is undeniable. Los Angeles has struggled on the offensive end for most of the 2021-22 season, but having a go-to guy like George back in the lineup, the Clippers are instantly a much more dangerous team. 

Not only that, but Los Angeles has been able to establish some key rotation players in the time that George has been out. Still, here’s how much better the Clippers are when he plays, versus when he doesn’t: 

Paul George’s Impact on the Clippers


  • With George: 15-2
  • Without George: 22-27

Net Rating

  • With George: Plus-1.5
  • Without George: Minus-3.4

Entering this game, it is important to look at the current form of these two teams. 

As much as the Bulls impressed everyone to start the season, they have fallen off over their last 10 games, ranking 29th in the league in offensive rating and 13th in defensive rating. 

The Clippers haven’t been any better, ranking 25th and 26th in those categories, but they are also eight in defensive rating for the season. The defensive regression as of late is concerning, but they’ve also played just one game with George back in the lineup. 

I won’t disregard the fact that the Bulls are the best team in the NBA against the spread as a home favorite (20-7), but I think this Clippers team is a lot better than it is getting credit for now that George is back. 

I’ll take a shot on Los Angeles to pull off the upset on Thursday night. 

Lean: Clippers Moneyline (+130) -- Peter Dewey

Find Peter Dewey’s full betting record in the NBA this season here.