Stars missing in Clippers-Bucks but certainly not on PGA Tour: Best Bets for Friday, Feb. 10

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Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates after he won the the Dubai Desert Classic, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Friday, Feb. 10:

TOP PLAY

The play: NBA, Clippers -2½ over Bucks

The odds: -106

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 10:30 p.m. (NBA League Pass)

Our take: We’ve said in this space before that the schedule can be a hugely important factor in betting on NBA games. Teams playing back-to-backs, in particular, often focus their efforts on getting a split in those games. The Milwaukee Bucks are better than an average team, of course, but this spot — two straight nights in Los Angeles — cries out for that strategy.

The Bucks held off the Lakers, who were resting LeBron James — on Thursday night (cruelly costing us a best bet by one point in the process). Now they play the tougher of the two L.A. teams, and it seems likely Milwaukee will rest its own superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo, in tonight’s game. Giannis, who played 36 minutes on Thursday, has only played in two of six back-to-back opportunities this season. If he’s ruled out, expect this number to jump a point or two.

Granted, the Clippers are resting their own star in Kawhi Leonard, who is nursing his lingering knee injury, but L.A. is a deep team, and if Giannis rests, they’ll have the best player on the court in Paul George. Just eight days ago, Milwaukee won a one-point game at home between these teams with both superstars playing. But the Bucks rely on Giannis more than the Clippers do on Kawhi, the venue has changed, and — most important — the schedule cries out for an L.A. victory here.

WM PHOENIX OPEN ROUND 2

The play: PGA WM Phoenix Open, Rory McIlroy better second round than Collin Morikawa

The odds: -140

The book: Caesars Sportsbook

Time/TV: 4:18 p.m. (coverage on ESPN+ and Golf Channel)

Our take: The OTHER big sporting event taking place in the Phoenix area this weekend is the PGA’s first elevated event of the year, featuring a huge purse and thus one of the strongest non-major fields of the entire season.

One group to watch on Friday afternoon will be that of McIlroy and Morikawa (and Hideki Matsuyama). All three golfers struggled Thursday in the first round and will be fighting to make the cut. What’s more, it’s already been a windy weekend in the desert, and that’s only expected to get worse Saturday morning (because this group almost certainly isn’t finishing before dark Friday).

That all said, we like the idea of McIlroy in tough conditions more than we do Morikawa, who is a ball-striking artist but sometimes struggles when the weather doesn’t cooperate. And McIlroy is certainly a better bet to rebound with the putter than Morikawa. Rory is a world-class golfer, one of the world’s two best with Jon Rahm at the moment, so expect him to rise to the occasion here.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Thursday’s best bets

NBA: Lakers +8 over Bucks (LOST)

College basketball: Iowa +8 over Purdue (LOST)

Thursday’s record: 0-2

Total for the week: 2-6

Total for February: 8-9

Total for 2023: 33-43

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, a $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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