- Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks both own 24-4 records
- The best teams in the NBA face each other at Fiserv Forum on Thursday night
- There are odds on the Lakers or Bucks to break the Warriors’ regular season win total record
The Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks have been far and away the best two teams so far this season. Their 24-4 records reflect that. They are two of the favorites in the latest NBA Championship odds and they have three legitimate MVP candidates between them.
The Bucks and Lakers face each other on Thursday night – the loser will have suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.
A fifth loss at this stage would make a push for the Warriors’ record significantly harder. Right now, though, both the Bucks and Lakers are +1400 to break the Warriors’ regular season win record of 73.
Odds to Break Warriors Record 73 Regular Season Wins
|Prop||Yes Odds||No Odds|
|Will the Los Angeles Lakers break the Warriors’ regular season wins record?||Yes (+1400)||No (-10000)|
|Will the Milwaukee Bucks break the Warriors’ regular season wins record?||Yes (+1400)||No (-10000)|
Odds taken Dec. 19th
Rest Will Play a Major Role
Anthony Davis has missed two games so far. Giannis Antetokounmpo has sat out once. LeBron James has played all 28. For either franchise to have a realistic chance of going 74-8 or better, they need their superstars to be available throughout the season and avoid the sort of load management that we have seen for other All-NBA talents.
James has been blunt whenever the idea of rest has been suggested. Just a few days from his 35th birthday, though, rest seems inevitable, even after the longest break of his career over the summer. Perhaps the only way James doesn’t rest is if the Lakers begin to chase the Warriors’ record.
Antetokounmpo was load managed in the latter weeks of last season. The Bucks look set to have the top seed tied up in the East with time to spare, and will surely take a similar approach with the reigning MVP. The priority for Milwaukee is bettering their 2018-19 playoff performance – that will most likely influence their decision making down the stretch.
Of course, like with James, the prospect of breaking Golden State’s record could see the Bucks re-evaluate, but Antetokounmpo wants to compete for a title more than anything, and it’s hard to see him risking that for a few extra regular season wins.
The Bucks and Lakers are tied for the leagues best record at 24-4, this will be the biggest game of the NBA season so far.
Giannis vs LeBron in a potential Finals preview pic.twitter.com/F6u58gV1qs
— Bucks Fans (53-12) (@BucksFans5) December 19, 2019
Davis missed the Lakers’ loss to the Pacers last time out and is questionable for Thursday night’s game in Milwaukee. Of the trio, he is the most likely to be rested frequently.
Kawhi Leonard might have swapped Toronto for Los Angeles, but the Western Conference currently looks a better place to be than the East. The inter-conference record is pretty even, and beyond the top six teams, the West is weak. Several factors have played a role in this (Portland and Golden State’s injuries, San Antonio’s struggles). The end result is the Bucks’ schedule could end up being more challenging than the Lakers’.
Both teams have benefited from relatively soft schedules thus far. The Lakers are in the middle of a trickier run – the Bucks’ toughest stretch comes in April when they could be in touching distance of the record. A game in Dallas is followed by a visit from the Raptors before a three-game road-trip in Toronto, Boston and Philadelphia.
With four losses each already, they would have to go 50-4 the rest of the way to get to 74 wins. The Lakers still have to face the Nuggets, Clippers and Rockets three times apiece on top of their clashes with Milwaukee. There are plenty of easy wins on the schedule for both teams, but the number of good teams in the NBA at the moment makes winning 70-plus games very unlikely even if Antetokounmpo, James and Davis barely rest.
Matching the Warriors’ feat requires an unwavering commitment to that goal. The Bucks and Lakers are driven – in Antetokounmpo and James – by two freakish athletes, two ferocious competitors. If either push for a 70-win season, then anything is possible. For now, though, the +1400 price is way too short to represent good value.
After all, only two teams in the history of the league have won more than 69 regular season games.