Free NBA Picks Milwaukee Bucks: Season-Long Handicapping and Specialization 1/9/2023
This season, I will be breaking down every Milwaukee Bucks game, and giving out my best bets during the contest. There will be plenty of negative nights along the way, but the goal is 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 Friday night, the Bucks fell to the Hornets on their home court, 138-109. The Hornets scored a franchise record 51 first quarter points and never looked back, led by 39 points from Terry Rozier and 24 points and 12 assists from LaMelo Ball. Giannis Antetokounmpo played only 21 minutes, which was a key factor in the blowout loss.
From a betting perspective, we went 1-2 on the night. Milwaukee Bucks (-10) was never even close, while LaMelo Ball finished Under the 5.5 rebound line, with 3 rebounds. Fortunately, the lone win was our biggest bet of the night, as Antetokounmpo finished well Under his 13.5 Rebounds line with 4 boards.
Tonight, the Bucks head back on the road as they visit Madison Square Garden to take on the Knicks. The once formidable Bucks unit has struggled over the last few weeks, going 3-6 in their last 9 contests. A visit to New York is never an easy task, and a red hot Knicks team will not go down without a fight.
The Knicks have had a very streaky season to date. Dating back to December 4, the Knicks won 8 straight games, directly followed by a 5-game losing skid, before coming into tonight’s game on a 4-game win streak. Two of the league’s excellent defensive units collide, with both teams desperate for a win. The Knicks are led by Julius Randle’s 24.4 PPG, as he has become the face of the Knicks franchise. Randle won the 2021 Most Improved Player award after his breakout campaign. He posted career highs in PPG (24.1), 3 Pt. % (41.1), Rebounds (10.2), and Assists (6.0) before eventually bowing out in the first round against the Hawks. Unfortunately for the Knicks, he was unable to build on that season, and had a very disappointing 2021-22 year. This year, Randle has remained the leader of the team, but the Knicks went out and brought in Jalen Brunson from the Mavericks, which has given him help on the offensive end. Brunson utilizes fantastic agility and ball handling and has a plethora of finishing moves up his sleeve. If Brunson can catch a big man in the open court, he usually has no problem getting to the hoop.
The Bucks are in trouble. I am a big believer in Mike Budenhlozer and the Bucks, but they just haven’t been themselves lately. Antetokounmpo continues to dominate on both ends of the court. However, in an increasingly competitive NBA, depth is needed to succeed. At the start of the season, the Bucks were without Khris Middleton, which allowed Brook Lopez and Jrue Holiday a chance at more shooting opportunities, and they were able to deliver. However, as the second half of the season approaches, both players have returned to their ‘normal’ selves. Holiday remains one of the best defenders in the league. However, after scoring 25+ in 4 of the first 9 games, he has only hit that mark 3 times in the 20 games since. For Lopez, he was shooting as high as 41.5% from 3 over the opening months but has seen that percentage drop all the way down to 38.4%, highlighted by a 4/18 streak over his last 6 games. When Middleton’s re-arrival into the squad was imminent, the pressure was not on them to perform, allowing them to play confident, smooth basketball. But given the poor Middleton showings, the various ailments, and the fact that the Bucks co-star is now 31 years old, there is no longer a light at the end of the tunnel. Antetokounmpo has the ability to beat any team on any given night, but there will not be sustained success in Milwaukee until there is more consistent play elsewhere on the court.
The matchup against the Knicks has me leaning towards the Knicks. The spread is a pick ‘em, while the total is set at 221.5. The Bucks like to run a big lineup with Middleton out, and sometimes have Antetokounmpo, Lopez, and Bobby Portis on the court at the same time. If this is the case, Brunson will be able to utilize a lethal screen and roll game coupled with his elite finishing to evade Milwaukee’s shot blocking presence in the paint. This leads me into the first bet of the game: Jalen Brunson Over 23.5 Points for 4 Units. Brunson has been leaned on more heavily in crunch time for the Knicks, and I expect him to deliver once again. While Randle is often leading the charge, against a lineup like the Bucks, I expect him to take a passenger seat and allow Brunson to cook on the offensive end.
The second bet for the night is Under 221.5 for 2 Units. Both teams pride themselves on their defense, and I expect both coaches to be emphasizing which end of the court will win them the game. The Knicks have held their opponents to just 98.3 PPG during their 4-game win streak, while, despite their recent struggles, the Bucks have still maintained a solid defensive workrate.
Finally, I have to side with the Knicks Moneyline at +100 here. The Knicks have been a streaky team, and right now they are on an upswing. The New York faithful will be as loud as ever for a visit from the 2020 champs and Antetokounmpo, while the Knicks can miraculously pull within 2.5 games of the Bucks with a win. The advantage in guard play for the Knicks will outperform the advantage the Bucks have in the paint, leading to a narrow, low scoring win.
Pick: Jalen Brunson Over 23.5 Points 4 Units
Pick: Bucks vs Knicks Under 221.5 2 Units
Pick: New York Knicks Moneyline +100 1 Unit
2022 Season record:
ML Record: 6-6
Spread Record: 5-9
Total Record: 4-7
Player Props Record: 14-11
Down 5.7 Units ($570)
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