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Bucks vs Nets Odds and Picks

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in NBA Basketball

Updated Jan 17, 2021 · 6:48 PM PST

Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks lead the East in points per 100 possessions and 3-point field goal percentage. Photo by JB Autissier/Panoramic/Icon Sportswire.
  • Milwaukee is a 2.5-point road favorite over Brooklyn on Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 18th, 7:40 pm EST)
  • The Bucks sit first in the East, and have won four straight
  • See below for analysis, odds and a betting prediction

Eastern Conference heavyweights square off on Martin Luther King Day, as the Milwaukee Bucks visit the Brooklyn Nets (Jan. 18th, 7:40 pm EST). Milwaukee enters play first in the East at 9-4, and has reeled off four straight victories. Brooklyn meanwhile, has won three in a row and could have all three of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving in the lineup for the first time.

Bucks vs Nets Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Milwaukee Bucks -2.5 (-110) -142 Over 239.5 (-110)
Brooklyn Nets +2.5 (-110) +120 Under 239.5 (-110)

Odds taken Jan. 17th at FanDuel.

Despite the potential debut of the “new” big three, it’s the Bucks who are 2.5-point favorites. Milwaukee is 6-7 ATS this season, and have yet to be an underdog in any of its 13 contests. The Nets have covered in two of their last three, while the over has hit in each of Brooklyn’s last eight games.

Harden Shines in Debut

If Saturday’s performance against Orlando is any indication, the Nets are going to be nearly impossible to stop. Harden made his Brooklyn debut, without participating in a single team practice beforehand, and delivered an epic performance.

He became the first player in NBA history to record a triple-double in his debut, pouring in 32 points, to go along with 14 assists and 12 blocks in 122-115 victory. Not to be outdone, Kevin Durant scored a season-high 42, raising his season average to 37 points per game. Should his lofty total hold, it would be his highest output since he won the MVP with OKC in 2014.

Now it appears the rich are about to get richer. Kyrie Irving is questionable to return to the lineup against Milwaukee, potentially ending his six-game hiatus. Irving hasn’t played since January 5th after violating COVID-19 protocols, but his presence would give Brooklyn the best 1-2-3 punch in the league. The Nets already rank third in the conference in points per game (118.9) behind only Washington and the Bucks.

The Bucks are Beasts

Since a 2-3 start, Milwaukee has won seven of its last eight, with six of those victories coming by at least 9 points. They rank first in the East in points per 100 possessions and three point field goal percentage, second in overall shooting percentage, and third in total rebounding.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing at an absurd level, averaging 26.6 points, 10 rebounds and 5.2 assists per outing, and is also getting a lot of help from his teammates. Khris Middleton is averaging over 21 points per outing, while newcomer Jrue Holliday is chipping in 15 points and 5.2 assists per contest. Bobby Portis and D.J. Augustin have solidified their bench depth, making this Bucks team arguably the most dangerous of Giannis’ career.

Defensively, they’re fourth in the conference in points against per 100 possessions, and are holding enemy shooters to 44.4% from the field. The question now is can they slow down this outrageous Nets offense at full strength?

Expect Offensive Fireworks

Each of the Bucks’ last four games have stayed under the total, but consider the opposition. Three of those contests were against Cleveland, Detroit and Orlando, three of the lowest scoring teams in the East. It would be foolish to think they can shut down the Nets, who are basically an all-star team at this point, while conversely Brooklyn’s big three aren’t exactly known for their defense.

There’s going to be no shortage of points in this contest, with each team capable or reaching 130 without breaking a sweat. Play the over.

Pick: Over 139.5 (-110)

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