Free NBA Picks Milwaukee Bucks: Season-Long Handicapping and Specialization 1/23/2023
This season, I will be breaking down every Milwaukee Bucks weekday game and giving out my best bets for each contest. This will include moneylines, spreads, totals, and player props. And while we may not always favor the Bucks, the goal remains to churn a consistent profit by the season’s end.
Doc’s Sports offers NBA picks for every game on our NBA predictions page.
Last Tuesday, the Bucks took down the Raptors 130-122. Jrue Holiday scored a season-high 37 points, including 5/10 from behind the arc. The Bucks were without Giannis Antetokounmpo, and they improved their record to 6-5 without the Greek superstar.
From a betting perspective, we had a solid night. Gary Trent Jr. sailed over his 17.5-point prop, scoring 21 first half points en route to a 28-point outburst. Trent Jr. turned out to be our only bet, as while I took the Bucks on the spread, and they covered, I specified to pass if Antetokounmpo didn’t participate. It hurt to watch the Bucks get the cover without him, but a push is still better than a loss, after we finished the night 1-0.
On Saturday night, the Bucks fell to the Cavaliers 114-102 in their third straight game without Antetokounmpo. It is not time to start sounding the alarm bells in Milwaukee, but they have dropped into a tie with the Nets for 3rd place, with the 5th place Cavs hot on their tails. The early season dominance from this team is starting to fade, and a healthy Antetokounmpo is critical for their success.
Tonight, the Bucks (29-17) head to Detroit to take on the Pistons (12-36). The Pistons are dead last in the Eastern conference and have clearly thrown in the towel this season. Cade Cunningham had surgery in December that ruled him out for the entire season, and any hope of a play-in push evaporated with his departure. The Pistons have a very promising future, and the addition of another lottery pick would likely catapult them into the playoffs in 2024. However right now, they are a train wreck.
Bojan Bogdanovic has been one bright spot in an otherwise gloomy Detroit, as the Croatian native has kept this team grounded, and he provides leadership in the dressing room. Bogdanovic is a lethal 3-point shooter but lacks the ball handling skills to consistently lead a team. Cunningham’s absence has forced him into an uncomfortable primary option role. And if the Bucks can limit his production, they should have no issue pulling out a valuable road win.
In Milwaukee, as long as Antetokounmpo is on the team, anything short of an NBA championship will be considered a failure. Antetokounmpo brought the trophy to Milwaukee in 2021 and continues to be the centerpiece of a dominant Bucks squad. The defensive tenacity in this squad is excellent, with Brook Lopez, Holiday, and Antetokounmpo all in the running for DPOY. Antetokounmpo rim rushing the opposition, while they remain locked in on the defensive end, is a surefire recipe for success, but things haven’t been staying on script for the Bucks. A third-place finish would not be anything to be ashamed of. However, after starting the year 9-0, the Bucks have gone just 20-17 since.
The disappearance of Khris Middleton has devastated the team. Early in the season, there was a light at the end of the tunnel, as Middleton was expected back in November at full strength. The role players stepped up in his absence, and the Bucks were in second place at 15-6 when Middleton made his season debut. The number 2 option in Milwaukee played just 7 games and was extremely ineffective on both ends of the court. His shooting was clearly off, forcing Holiday and Lopez to continue to perform. After Middleton went down for another month, there was no longer the aforementioned light, and the quality of play quickly dropped off.
Tonight, the Bucks will need a statement win in Middleton’s return, as the season moves into the second half. A matchup with the free-falling Pistons is exactly what the doctor ordered for Middleton and the Bucks, and there is no doubt in my mind that the Bucks will leave with a victory.
The Pistons are bottom 5 in both offensive and defensive ratings, and as more and more of their team gets shut down for the season, meaningful basketball in Detroit is not something that will be on display for several months. The Bucks have the advantage inside, outside, in transition, and on the glass, and I will be laying the -10.5-point spread for 1 unit on the visitors tonight. The Bucks have played just 1 game in the last 6 nights, and the valuable time to regroup couldn’t have come at a better time. The coaching staff will be taking it slow with Middleton and Antetokounmpo, as both men are coming off injuries. However, the gulf in class, depth, and talent is too wide to overcome for the Pistons.
The second bet for the night is Brook Lopez Over 12.5 Points for 2 Units. I’m honestly a little surprised by this line. Antetokounmpo and Middleton will not be at full strength, and the other starters will still get lots of shots against a weak Pistons defense. Lopez is averaging 14.5 PPG this season and has surpassed this line in 5 of his last 7 games. A matchup against the Pistons is not the time I’ll be deciding to randomly fade him, and his production should come in bunches.
Finally, I’ll be taking the Double result, or Halftime-Fulltime result; Bucks-Bucks for -250 for 2 Units. I expect the Bucks to take the lead into halftime, and to close out the game without much of a sweat. They will be eager to get ahead early against Detroit, and the Pistons will have little to no response.
Pick: Milwaukee Bucks (-10.5) 1 Unit
Pick: Brook Lopez Over 12.5 Points 2 Units
Pick: Double Result: Bucks-Bucks -250 2 Units
2022 Season record:
ML Record: 6-8
Spread Record: 7-9
Total Record: 5-7
Player Props Record: 17-12
Up 4.9 Units ($490)
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