- The Milwaukee Bucks are in Dallas to take on the Mavericks
- Giannis Antetokonmpo is day-to-day with a knee injury
- Get the latest Bucks vs Mavericks odds, betting preview and a pick below
There are two unknowns heading into Thursday night’s tilt between the visiting Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks.
The first is the status of two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo’s wonky left knee which has forced him to miss the last two games on this current road trip. The second is trying to figure out which Dallas team will show up.
Is it the world-beating group that buzzed through the Utah Jazz to dash the NBA leaders’ 9-game win streak? Or is it the team that ate a big serving of humble pie Wednesday night in a loss to Rockets?
Those factors are likely why this line opened with the Bucks as light 1.5-point favorites.
Bucks vs Mavericks Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Milwaukee Bucks||-1.5 (-104)||-116||TBD|
|Dallas Mavericks||+1.5 (-118)||-102||TBD|
Odds as of April 7. Tip-off is Thursday at 9pm ET
Deer Less Fearful
The last time we saw Giannis in action, he single-handedly tore apart the Blazers on their home court, dropping 47 and an absurd 18-for-21 shooting performance from the field in a 127-109 drubbing.
Warriors hold on to beat the Bucks in a wild ending 😨 pic.twitter.com/Wu5SoGfEAR
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 7, 2021
Since then, Milwaukee has still been able to score, but they haven’t had that put-away gear. Following Portland, they just snuck by the Sacramento Kings 129-128, before blowing a 12-point lead late in the third quarter, eventually losing the lead late to the Golden State Warriors. Their last possession to win the game looked NCAA-Tournament level scattered. It did not end well.
It’s the fourth time in the last nine games the Bucks have sat Giannis, and he’s currently listed as day-to-day. With 22 games in 40 days to end the season, Mike Budenholzer needs to find the right balance of getting his star playoff ready, but as healthy as possible for an ultra-important playoff run.
Jrue Holiday (33 PTS, 11 AST, 7 REB) had himself a night against the Kings 🔥 pic.twitter.com/kV5IgkWNHn
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 4, 2021
At least they’re better equipped to handle this type of loss. Jrue Holiday was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 27.2 points, 8.6 assists and 5.2 rebounds. He also shot a blistering 15-for-31 from three-point range, a 48.3% clip. He, Khris Middleton and a grittier lineup should be able to keep them competitive. They’re also still waiting for PJ Tucker (calf) to make his Bucks debut.
Milwaukee is still the highest scoring team in the league, but they’re just 19th in points allowed, and minus Giannis the last two games, they’ve given up an average of 125 points a night.
Dallas Highs and Lows
Perhaps it was a classic trap game, as the Mavericks laid a stinker in Houston. Winners of five straight, capped by an impressive win over the Jazz, Dallas fizzled against a team that has lost five straight.
Luka Doncic is a bad man pic.twitter.com/912ZnzPq4b
— Isaac Harris (@IsaacLHarris) April 6, 2021
It was night and day for Luka Doncic, who followed up a superb 31-point, 9-rebound, 8-assist gem over Utah — including 6-for-11 from downtown — with a pedestrian 23 points on 9-for-26 shooting, including a 1-for-9 performance from three-point range. He did add nine rebounds and five assists.
Kristaps Porzingis also had 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting, along with 12 rebounds. It was an encouraging sign, as Porzingis had broken 20 points just three times in his previous eight outings.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) April 8, 2021
Despite the loss, Dalls has been getting it done defensively. They’ve held the opposition to less than 103 points in four straight games, and they have surrendered more than 108 points just twice in 13 games after the all-star break.
What’s the Best Bet?
Dallas’ newfound defense has been legit at home, as they have gone under the total the last eight games, and they’re 6-1 ATS in their last seven against the Bucks.
Milwaukee has put up huge numbers the last few games, but Sacramento and Golden State are porous defensively. Even if 10 of the last 14 Bucks games have gone over the total, I think Dallas finds a way to contain Milwaukee.
Antetokounmpo warmed up at Golden State and was a late scratch because of knee soreness against the Warriors. I have a feeling the Bucks will let their star have another night off, and hope they can scrape by against a team playing the second half of a back-to-back. That’s advantage Luka, and don’t be afraid to bet it.
The pick: Mavericks +1.5 (-118)
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