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Bucks Re-Take Lead in Eastern Conference Odds Over 76ers After 3-1 Road Trip

Quinn Allen

by Quinn Allen in NBA Basketball

Updated Apr 7, 2020 · 1:50 PM PDT

Joel Embiid reaching for a rebound
Joel Embiid and the 76ers are now slightly behind the Bucks in the odds to reach the NBA finals out of the East. Photo by KA Sports Photos (Wiki Commons).
  • Milwaukee went 3-1 on its Western road trip
  • Philly struggled on its road slate, going 1-3
  • The Bucks are now slight favorites to win the East at +200

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks enjoyed a very impressive road trip out west, beating the Timberwolves, Clippers, and Thunder. Their only loss came against Utah, a 103-100 thriller in favor of the Jazz.

The 76ers, meanwhile, struggled on their four-game Western-Conference swing, losing three of four. Philly suffered losses to Phoenix, Denver, and Utah. Their only win came against Portland.

After Milwaukee’s hot streak on the road, the latest NBA Eastern Conference odds have the Bucks slight favorites over Philly at +200.

NBA Eastern Conference Odds

Team Odds to Win Eastern Conference
Milwaukee Bucks +200
Philadelphia 76ers +225
Toronto Raptors +650
Boston Celtics +700
Miami Heat +1000
Brooklyn Nets +1600
Indiana Pacers +2000

Odds taken on Nov 12.

The Raptors and Celtics are next on the list at +650 and +700, respectively.

Milwaukee Looks Unstoppable

The Greek Freak’s Bucks are looking extremely good early on this season with a 7-3 record. They’re second in the NBA to only the Houston Rockets in scoring, averaging 119.9 points per game. Milwaukee has also made 147 three-pointers this year, just ten behind the Rockets, who have made an NBA-high 157. Their 17.7 fast-break points per game prove how big and fast this team is.

Antetokounmpo has looked like his MVP-self once again, averaging 29.7 points per game, which is fourth in the league. He’s also dished out 6.8 assists per night and grabbed 14.3 boards per contest, second in the association behind Detroit’s Andre Drummond.

Although he hasn’t shot the ball from downtown very often, he’s shown glimpses of his improved ability to drain the three, which is really the only thing missing from his game.

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As a team, the Bucks are fundamentally sound on both sides of the ball. They’re first in the NBA with 51.7 rebounds per game, second in field goal percentage (47.3), fourth in offensive, and eighth in defensive rating.

Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe are providing consistent secondary scoring behind Antetokounmpo, both averaging close to 20 points per game. Middleton will be out for a few weeks with a thigh contusion, but their deep bench should be able to make up for his absence.

The Bucks are averaging 38.7 points per contest from their bench, which is 12th in the NBA. Players like Pat Connaughton, Donte Divincenzo, and veteran Kyle Korver have added a spark off the bench when their starters need rest.

Philly Loses Perfect Record on Road

The Sixers still owned a perfect record after the first game of their road trip when they took down Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. After that victory, they suffered three straight losses, but none by more than five points.

Despite their disappointing road trip, the Sixers have looked quite impressive this year. Their starting five of Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, Joel Embiid, Al Horford, and Tobias Harris is one of the most talented in the league.

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Their second unit only plays 16.3 minutes per game and scores just 33 points a night, though. Furkan Korkmaz has been their most productive bucket-getter off the bench, averaging 9.8 points per game.

In the last few games, their bench has been more involved, with ten different players contributing towards Philly’s win over Charlotte on Sunday night, taking their record to 6-3. Trey Burke dropped 17 off the bench, while guard Raul Neto filled in for Ben Simmons who was out with a minor injury and scored nine points. Korkmaz also had 17 points, solidifying himself as one of Brett Brown’s most-important bench players.

Joel Embiid has been outstanding for the Sixers this year, leading the team in scoring with 22.3 points and 11.8 rebounds. Harris and Horford trail him with 18.3 and 15.9 points respectively, while Simmons has struggled somewhat, averaging just 13.1 points and 6.9 assists per game. His defense has been solid, at least, and his three steals per game have helped the Sixers lead the NBA in that category (10.4 steals per game).

This team is big and physical and plays gritty, in-your-face defense, which will be very important as the season goes on.

It’s going to be vital that their second unit can continue to score points when the starters are having off days.

Bucks Are Best Bet Currently

Both Philly and Milwaukee have a relatively easier schedule for the next ten games, with the exception of the Bucks playing Denver and Portland, while the Sixers have contests with the Raptors and Miami Heat.

There is no question it’s going to be an absolute dogfight for the Eastern Conference title. But as of right now, given how impressive Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have been playing, they are deserving favorites. That’s especially true when you factor in Milwaukee’s superior depth and the potential for injury to a player like Joel Embiid.

Pick: Bucks (+200)

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