Free NBA Picks Milwaukee Bucks: Season-Long Handicapping and Specialization 1/6/2023
This season, I will be breaking down every Milwaukee Bucks game and giving out my best bets for each contest. While we won’t always favor the Bucks, the goal remains to churn a consistent profit by the end of the season.
Doc’s Sports offers NBA picks for every game on our NBA predictions page.
On Wednesday night, the Bucks took down the Raptors 104-101 in overtime. It was a defensive battle, with Milwaukee winning the first quarter 13-12, one of the lowest scoring quarters in the shot clock era. Giannis Antetokounmpo dropped 30 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists, as the Bucks used their size inside to dominate on the glass. Brook Lopez hauled in 19 boards, while Bobby Portis also had a double-double with 12 rebounds. Despite being outrebounded 73-47, the Raptors almost pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in NBA history. The Raptors were down 95-79 with 1:14 left on the clock, before going on a miraculous 18-2 run in the final minute, forcing overtime. Their efforts eventually fell short, and Milwaukee held on.
From a betting perspective, we went 1-2 on the night. OG Anunoby easily got 2+ steals, finishing the game with 4, but our other two bets missed. I expected Antetokounmpo to be resting considering the -4.5 line in favor of the Raptors, which the Bucks covered in their outright win. The painful one was first quarter moneyline in favor of the Raptors, who didn’t score their first point until 7 minutes had elapsed in the first quarter, before losing, 13-12.
Tonight, the Bucks (25-13) welcome the Hornets (10-29) to Fiserv Forum in downtown Milwaukee, and are looking to stretch their win streak to 3 games. The Hornets have had a disappointing season and have likely already thrown in the towel in hopes of securing a better draft position. They’ve lost 5 of their last 6 games and sit dead last in the league. LaMelo Ball is the clear leader, and future of this franchise, as he is averaging 23.7 PPG to go along with 8.1 Assists. LaMelo is the youngest of the 3 Ball brothers and has gotten off to a solid start in the NBA. The Hornets may not be winning games, but they have a promising future ahead of them.
Tonight, the future doesn’t matter as the only task at hand for both teams is the upcoming matchup. The Bucks used their size and length to dominate the Raptors on the glass but will have a much tougher task tonight. The Bucks lead the league with 49.4 rebounds per game, while the Hornets aren’t far behind at 45.7, good for 5th in the league. Being able to keep up with the Bucks on the glass is critical for teams to have a chance against the 2020 champions. The Hornets don’t leave the job of grabbing their rebounds to one player, but rather all of their top 7 players are getting 4.7 rebounds or more per game, and the team effort on the glass results in extra possessions.
Despite being shorthanded, the Bucks will always have a chance to win with Antetokounmpo on the court. This team is a different unit with his presence and will be grateful he’s been able to stay relatively healthy. Jrue Holiday is expected to return to the lineup tonight, leaving Khris Middleton as the only starter still out. Middleton has struggled this year, both on and off the court, and the Bucks have moved on and been forced to adapt. In the modern NBA, it’s rare to see big men leading the way, but the Bucks have moved away from talented guard play and would rather ram it down their opposition's throat. The top 4 scorers are Antetokounmpo, Holiday, Lopez and Portis, 3 of whom are 6’11” or taller.
The Hornets appear to be one of the best matchups the Bucks can have, as Holiday and Jevon Carter will be able to shut down Ball and Terry Rozier, leaving the big men to feast inside. Since Kelly Oubre Jr. is out of the lineup, the Hornets won’t have the guard depth to expose the Bucks on the outside, which will force the Hornets to drive and kick. The Hornets are used to having an advantage on the glass, something they will be missing tonight.
The first bet for tonight is Bucks (-9.5) against the spread. The Bucks were ahead by a large margin for long stretches of their previous game but let the Raptors claw back in the final moments. Tonight, I don’t expect head coach Mike Budenholzer to let his team make the same mistake, keeping the backdoor cover off the table. The Bucks are good enough to out hustle the Hornets on the glass, which will frustrate one of the better rebounding teams.
The second bet is Giannis Antetokounmpo Under 13.5 rebounds. This line feels a little high for me, as Antetokounmpo has grabbed 20+ rebounds in 3 of his last 4 games, inflating this line above where it should be. He averages just 12.1 Rebounds per game this season, and the Hornets are very good on the glass. Under 13.5 at -110 odds feels like a blessing.
Finally, I’ll be sticking to the glass with LaMelo Ball Over 5.5 Rebounds at -120 odds. Ball has been active on the glass and will know the Hornets’ guards will have to chip in against a tall Bucks team. He has gotten 6+ rebounds in 7 of his last 8 games, which makes a line of 5.5 a comfortable mark to take the Over.
Pick: Milwaukee Bucks (-9.5) 3 Units
Pick: Giannis Antetokounmpo Under 13.5 Rebound 3 Units
Pick: LaMelo Ball Over 5.5 Rebounds 1 Unit
2022 Season record:
ML Record: 6-6
Spread Record: 5-8
Total Record: 4-7
Player Props Record: 13-10
Down 4.5 Units ($450)
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