- East powers collide in Milwaukee as the Bucks host the conference-leading Bulls
- Chicago will be without starting backcourt of Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball due to injury
- Odds and matchups can be found below with a prediction
Neither the Chicago Bulls nor the Milwaukee Bucks are currently playing their best.
That doesn’t diminish the high-stakes showdown between these Central Division titans Friday night — enough for ESPN to bump the scheduled Wizards-Raptors battle to place this one on the marquis.
Milwaukee currently owns the third-best NBA Championship odds, while Chicago’s banner comeback year has them in the top-10.
It all gets underway at 8pm ET at Fiserv Forum.
Bulls vs Bucks Odds
|Chicago Bulls||+8.5 (-110)||+295||Ov 227.5 (-113)|
|Milwaukee Bucks||-8.5 (-110)||-375||Un 227.5 (-108)|
Odds as of Jan 20 at Barstool Sportsbook
The East-leading Bulls snapped an ugly 4-game skid, but they’re nowhere near full strength, a big reason why the home team is a big 8.5-point favorite. Milwaukee, meanwhile, showed up to bounce the Memphis Grizzlies, ending their two-game slide.
Just two games separate these two in the both the division and conference picture, where the Bucks sit in fourth. The public money is concentrated on Chicago, as you can see in the NBA betting trends.
Chicago Bulls Outlook
Chicago had been getting beaten in all sorts of ways before their win 117-104 win over Cleveland. They had taken blowout L’s at the hands of the Nets and Warriors.
DeMar DeRozan put on a clinic vs. Cleveland.
30 pts | 14-24 FG | 7 ast | 2 blk pic.twitter.com/nlUh3vrg3i
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 20, 2022
That Warriors game would be the last they’d have the services of both Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball due to knee injuries. Lonzo has undergone surgery to repair a meniscus tear, but will be gone for at least six weeks. LaVine should be back in around a week.
Chicago staggered, losing by a bucket to the Celtics, and getting overmatched against the Grizzlies.
Their remaining stars played a big part in their win against the Cavaliers. DeMar DeRozan had 30 points and seven dimes on a crisp 14-for-24 shooting, while Nikola Vucevic added 24 points and 12 boards.
— B/R Hoops (@brhoops) January 20, 2022
Alex Caruso made his return from a foot injury and had nine points in 23 minutes.
The remade starting backcourt of Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu held up. White went for 16 points, four rebounds and four steals, while Dosunmu had 18 points and eight dimes.
Milwaukee Bucks Outlook
They may be still short Brook Lopez with a bad back, but the the Bucks are finally healthy, and their star-studded duo was a major part of their 126-114 win over Memphis last time out.
— NBA (@NBA) January 20, 2022
Giannis Antetokounmpo was unstoppable, pouring in 33 points, with 15 rebounds and seven assists. Khris Middleton was strong in a supporting role, adding 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Despite Milwaukee going 3-6 in their last nine, their all-star tandem looks to be fine form. Giannis is putting up 31.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 6.9 assists on a crisp 51.4% from the field over that stretch. No surprise he’s around the top of the 2022 NBA MVP odds.
4th quarter Khris. 👀 pic.twitter.com/YIbulxgYgl
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 20, 2022
Middleton is putting up 23.2 points, including a blistering 44.1% from three, while chipping in with 6.4 rebounds and six assists.
The third star of that championship core, Jrue Holiday made his return to the lineup against the Grizzlies after missing six games with an ankle injury. He had nine points in 23 minutes.
Bulls vs Bucks Prediction
Milwaukee is one of four teams that rank in the NBA’s top-10 in both offensive and defensive rating.
At 15-8, the Bucks have the second-most home wins in the East, trailing only Chicago’s 16. Betting-wise, however, Milwaukee is just 7-12 against the spread as a home favorite.
Bulls list Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, Javonte Green, Derrick Jones Jr. and Patrick Williams out vs. Bucks with their respective injuries. Marko Simonovic is listed as out for G League assignment.
Only Brook Lopez out for Bucks.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 20, 2022
The Bulls, meanwhile, are 25-18 ATS on the year, the seventh-best cover rate in the Association, but that number wilts to just 4-6 as a road ‘dog.
It’s an interesting total amount that’s caught our eye, however. Chicago games have averaged a 217.9 total this season, nine points less than this game line.
Minus some offensive pop in LaVine and Lonzo, and considering the Bucks’ last 19 home games have gone 14-4-1 vs teams with a winning mark, and you know where we’re going.
The Pick: Under 227.5 points (-108)