Free NBA Picks Milwaukee Bucks: Season-Long Handicapping and Specialization 1/4/2023
This season, I will be breaking down every Milwaukee Bucks weekday game and giving out my best bets for each contest. The goal of this column is to use my Bucks knowledge, in addition to the entire NBA, to churn a consistent profit by the season’s end.
Doc’s Sports offers NBA picks for every game on our NBA predictions page.
On Tuesday night, the Bucks played the first end of a back-to-back, defeating the Wizards 123-113. Giannis Antetokounmpo dropped a season high 55 points, shooting 20/33 from the floor, and adding 10 rebounds and 7 assists along the way. Brook Lopez also shot well, going 10/13 tacking on 21 points, as Milwaukee avoided the 2-game sweep from the Wizards.
From a betting perspective, we went 1-1 on the night. Milwaukee easily won the game, cashing our moneyline bet for 3 Units. Our lone loss was from Jrue Holiday, who surprisingly started on the bench. Holiday played limited minutes and shot just 2/8 from the floor, falling well short of the 19.5-point mark.
Tonight, the Bucks (24-13) head to Toronto to take on the Raptors (16-21). The line is set at -4.5 in favor of the Raptors. And while the injury report is not yet out at the time of this writing, I’m fairly confident Antetokounmpo, Holiday, Khris Middleton, or a combination of them will not be in action. If all the starters were playing, Milwaukee would certainly be favored on the road.
The Raptors got off to a solid start but have been ice cold as of late. They have won just 3 of their last 12 games and find themselves outside the play-in tournament in 12th place. However, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel, as they are finally getting healthy. Last game was the first game all season where their top 7 players were all healthy, and the Raptors will feel confident in their squad. Pascal Siakam is playing some of the best basketball of his career, averaging 26.5 PPG as we near the halfway point of the season. Siakam has dominated in the post. And once he gets going downhill, he is a tough player to stop. The Raptors success doesn't come from just one player, but rather the entire team working together on both ends of the court. OG Anunoby is the perfect Raptor, as the forward has developed into one of the best defensive players in the league and can contribute on the offensive end. His length down low has allowed him to average 2.2 steals per game, which is the highest mark in the league.
The Raptors success will ultimately come down to their guard play. They lack a bonafide center and rely on swarming the basket to compensate for the lack of size. Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. are two very streaky shooters and will need to be at the top of their game if the Raptors are to beat the Bucks and climb up the standings.
For the Bucks, this was always going to be a difficult game on the schedule. They are on the second night of a back-to-back and will be playing their 3rd game in 4 nights. A trip up to Canada to face the always dangerous Raptors is no easy test. And considering the slew of resting players I’m anticipating, the Bucks will come in as underdogs.
Antetokounmpo’s expected absence will be a huge blow to the Bucks on both ends of the court and should allow a healthy Raptors team to feast. The depth and defense-first mentality has allowed the Raptors to take advantage of rotating squads earlier in the season, and they will be able to have their way on the Bucks’ rotation players.
The first bet for the night is Raptors (-4.5) against the spread. If the Bucks were healthy, the Raptors would be in the ones +5 range. So, despite the lack of an injury report, not expected until this afternoon, I’ll take a shot on the Raptors. The advantage on the outside their talented guards can use, and the sheer girt of Siakam forcing the ball down his opponents’ throats, is a recipe for success. Laying down a bet before the lineups are known is always risky, but this line will swell into the -8 range once they are confirmed.
The second bet for the night is OG Anunoby Over 1.5 Steals at -120 odds. Anunoby has been a steal machine all season long. And against weaker opposition, there is no reason to believe he won’t be able to pick a few pockets. He has gotten 2+ steals in 8 of his last 12 games, and I’m shocked to see the Over not juiced more heavily.
Finally, I’ll take the Raptors First Quarter Moneyline at -150 odds. Despite their cold streak, the Raptors have won 6 of their last 7 first quarters and will be eager to create a gap early in the contest. They like to get off to a hot start, and their first home game in 2023 is the perfect time to continue this trend.
Pick: Toronto Raptors (-4.5) 2 Units
Pick: OG Anunoby Over 1.5 Steals -120 2 Units
Pick: Toronto Raptors 1Q Moneyline -150 3 Units
2022 Season record:
ML Record: 6-5
Spread Record: 5-7
Total Record: 4-7
Player Props Record: 12-10
Down 1.2 Units ($120)
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