Free NBA Picks Milwaukee Bucks: Season-Long Handicapping and Specialization 11/30/2022
Throughout the season, I will be breaking down each weekday Milwaukee Bucks game and offering my best bets for each contest. The goal of this column is to churn a consistent profit and remain in the green by the end of the year. We may not always favor the Bucks, and will certainly have losing nights along the way, but consistently positive results remain the goal. We have been on a cold streak over the last couple weeks. However, after finishing well over 20 Units in both 2020 and 2021, I am confident the results will shift back into our favor.
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Last Friday night, the Bucks took on the Cavaliers, and overcame a 16-point deficit to win 117-102. Unfortunately, we went 0-3 on our bets as the score finished just Over 217, Darius Garland finished 2 points short at 20, and the Cavs blew a 16-point first half lead. As I’ve said before, long term consistency is the objective. The Bucks were led by 38 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo as he continues to carry this Bucks team. After beating the Mavericks on Sunday, the Bucks look to extend their win streak to 3 games and close the gap on the Celtics for the number 1 seed.
Tonight, the Bucks head over to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Knicks. The Knicks are a mediocre 10-11 this season and are facing the Bucks on the second night of a back-to-back after taking down the Pistons 140-110. The Knicks offense was churning, as Julius Randle put up 36 points, and Quentin Grimes, RJ Barrett, Jalen Brunson, and Immanuel Quickley all put up 15 points or more. The lights out shooting from deep is unlikely to continue, but the Knicks will be happy they got a good team performance while routing the league’s basement. Tonight will be a very different task, as going from the second worst defense to the league's best will be quite a shock for the Knicks.
The Bucks defense has been elite this season and is the sole reason they have been able to perform at the highest level missing their star guard, Khris Middleton. Arguments can be made that Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez, and Antetokounmpo are all the top defenders for their respective positions, and a 106.5 defensive rating that has left the 2nd rated Clippers closer to 6th than to first, highlights the defensive dominance of this franchise. Against a mediocre team such as the Knicks, I expect the Bucks defense to once again win them the game.
The deciding factor determining the outcome of the game will be how the Knicks fare on the offensive end. In the last 4 games, the Knicks have scored 123 points or more, averaging an astonishing 130.3 PPG in that span. The Knicks are a very front heavy team, with only 3 players averaging double digits in PPG. And, fortunately for the Bucks, they just so happen to have 3 All-star caliber defenders. The Bucks ability to defend the paint with Antetokounmpo and Lopez, while using Holiday on the opposition's best guard, has allowed this defense to shine. For the Bucks offense, they are facing the team giving up the 6th most PPG and the 8th most second-chance points. The Bucks size advantage will only add on misery to the Knicks, as even when the poor defensive unit gets a stop, Lopez and Antetokounmpo will be there to clean up the garbage.
In my opinion, this game will not be much of a contest. The red hot Knicks offense will be canceled out by the elite Bucks defense, while the weak Knicks defense will have no answer for the formidable Bucks offense. Even worse, the Bucks have a clear rest advantage since the Knicks are playing on the second night of a back-to-back, and the Bucks haven’t played since Sunday.
The first bet for tonight has to be Bucks -5.5 for 4 Units. I understand the Bucks are on the road, in the always daunting Madison Square Garden, but the gap in quality between these two teams is simply too large. Antetokounmpo, Lopez and Bobby Portis all tower above the small Knicks team and will be too much to handle on the glass. The valuable extra possessions the Bucks will get will end up being the difference maker, as the Bucks cruise to a comfortable victory.
The second bet for tonight is Giannis Antetokounmpo Over 11.5 Rebounds for 4 Units. For all the reasons mentioned above, I expect Antetokounmpo to be able to rack up the rebounds. Antetokounmpo is used to playing mammoth minutes. And considering he has had some much needed rest over the last few days, he should be hungrier than ever to get on the glass. The Knicks struggle on the defensive glass themselves, which will allow Antetokounmpo to get the offensive rebounds needed to add to this total. The Knicks are playing on a back-to-back, which may result in tired legs and a little less effort when chasing down the boards. And, finally, the superior Bucks defense should result in several bad Knicks shots, and available rebounds off the misses. All in all, Antetokounmpo should have no issue feasting on the glass.
2022 Season record:
ML Record: 2-2
Spread Record: 2-5
Total Record: 2-3
Player Props Record: 4-7
Down 10.5 Units ($1050)
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