- The Milwaukee Bucks host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday (March 4, 7 pm ET)
- Milwaukee is fresh off a loss to Miami, but hasn’t suffered two defeats in a row all season
- See below for a betting preview and predicition
The Milwaukee Bucks are fresh off a 16-point loss in Miami and that spells bad news for their next opponent, the Indiana Pacers.
Those two teams will clash Wednesday night (March 4, 7 pm ET) in Milwaukee, with the Bucks looking to improve to 9-0 following a defeat.
The NBA’s best team opened as an 11-point home favorite in the Pacers vs Bucks odds, against an Indiana team that’s won four straight.
Indiana Pacers vs Milwaukee Bucks Odds
|Indiana Pacers||+11.0 (-105)||+500||Over 221.5 (-110)|
|Milwaukee Bucks||-11.0 (-115)||-650||Under 221.5 (-110)|
Odds taken March 3rd
Milwaukee is 6-2 ATS after a loss and 9-4 against the number in their last 13 overall. They’re the only team in the NBA to clinch a playoff spot so far, and if they keep up this pace, they could go down as one of the greatest teams of all-time.
The Bucks own a +12.3 point differential through 61 games, a full 5 points higher than anyone else in the league. The NBA record for an entire season is +12.28, set by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, and there’s no reason to believe Milwaukee can’t sustain their current pace.
ON. A. MISSION. pic.twitter.com/uYQBCZKcQ5
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) March 2, 2020
Nearly all of the credit for the Bucks success has gone to reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and rightfully so. The four-time All-Star leads the league in PER and double-doubles, and ranks top-four in scoring and rebounding.
He’s hit double figures in points and boards in 17 straight, and is four days removed from a 40 point, 20 rebound performance in Charlotte.
Giannis Antetokounmpo in his BAG ?
41 PTS | 20 REB | 6 AST pic.twitter.com/PNLbmz1DF4
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) March 1, 2020
But where’s the love for Khris Middleton? The Bucks sharpshooter is making a case to be one of the best second options in the league, and has been red-hot for the last three months. He’s averaging 22.6 points per game since December, and is hitting over 50% from the floor and 46% from three.
Khris Middleton’s recent games
40 PTS – 5 REB – 54% FG
25 PTS – 9 REB – 67% FG
28 PTS – 8 REB – 61% FG
28 PTS – 11 REB – 43% FG
21 PTS – 13 REB – 53% FG
25 PTS – 8 REB – 60% FG
24 PTS – 9 AST – 64% FG
51 PTS – 10 REB – 62% FG
Most underrated STAR in the league. pic.twitter.com/n8AIaa2iqY
— Jake M. Weinbach (@WeinbachNBA) February 25, 2020
The prowess of these two offensively, plus contributions from players like Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez make the Bucks virtually unstoppable, but they’re also excelling at the defensive end.
Milwaukee is allowing under 102 points per 100 possessions, which leads the NBA. According to fivethirtyeight, the Bucks’ defensive rating is over 8 points better than anyone else in the league, which is the largest discrepancy since the 2007-08 Celtics.
Words can’t describe how good the Milwaukee Bucks are defensively. They have great on the ball pressure, active hands, they play boxes and elbows so you can see any driving lanes and they might have the best help defense in the league!
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) February 26, 2020
They’re limiting enemy shooters to an NBA-low 41% from the field, and they rank second in blocks. They’ve held three of their last four opponents under 100 points and have surrendered 89 points or less to the Pacers in two of their three matchups this season.
Back the Bucks Even at Big Number
Giving 11 points is a tough pill to swallow, but Milwaukee has a history of winning big. They’ve beaten Indiana by 19 and 28 points already this season, and covering big numbers is nothing new to them.
In the last month alone, they’ve covered lines of -10.5, -9.0, -13.0, -10.0 and -12.5, and have beaten their opponents by 20 or more points on 19 different occasions this season.
Another factor working in their favor is the availability of the Pacers’ Victor Oladipo. The two-time All-Star missed Monday’s game versus San Antonio with knee soreness and his status for Wednesday’s game is in doubt. His loss would sting Indiana and leave them without one of their better defenders against the NBA’s most powerful team.
Pick: Bucks -11 (-115)
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