Bucks at Mavericks Pick: Milwaukee Bucks +1.5 (-110)
The Dallas Mavericks once again face one of the league’s best as they host the Milwaukee Bucks tonight at the American Airlines arena in Dallas. Dallas is coming off a disappointing loss against Houston, but they had previously been playing some of the best basketball they’ve played all year. As for the Bucks, a loss to the inspired Golden State Warriors the other night snapped a three-game winning streak and stirred up the odds at online sportsbooks.
Spread Betting Odds: Milwaukee Bucks at Dallas Mavericks
Milwaukee Bucks +1.5 (-110)
Dallas Mavericks -1.5(-110)
Over/Under Betting Odds: Bucks vs Mavericks
Over 226.5 (-110)
Under 226.5 (-110)
For Milwaukee, time is running out for them to catch either the Nets or the 76ers at the top of the Eastern Conference. They come into tonight’s game 32-18, which is three back of Brooklyn and two-and-a-half away from the 76ers. Of course, considering how things have gone for them as the East’s top seed in the last two postseasons, they might not mind the change of scenery.
Dallas had been riding high on a five-game winning streak until putting in a clunker last night against Houston. The loss to the Rockets drops them to 28-22, which is good for seventh place in the West, two games back of Portland for sixth. They are poised to make a run, however, with eight of their next nine games coming at home.
Dallas was able to get back Kristaps Porzingis for their game last night against the Rockets. In the second game of a back-to-back, it is possible that the Mavs are cautious with Porzingis, who they absolutely need for the postseason. It would help if Dallas was able to get some of their supporting acts back for this game if indeed Porzingis sits.
Last night, Dallas was without Maxi Kleber, Trey Burke and Willie Cauley-Stein for a variety of reasons. In addition, Dallas has yet to been able to deploy their newest addition J.J. Redick, who seems like a god fit for their three-point bombing ways, due to a heel problem. Check the injury report to see which, if any, of these guys will suit up.
Milwaukee has only one real issue on the injury list, but it just so happens to be one of the league’s elite players who is dealing with it. Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the loss to Golden State. He was probable to start the game, which would seem to indicate that he’s not to far back, but Milwaukee, which seems pretty locked into a #3 seed at this point, won’t take any kinds of chances if he’s even in the least bit iffy.
The Mavs Bench Brigade
Dallas had been riding high until their disappointing loss to Houston last night. The high point in their five-game winning streak was a dusting of Utah without Porzingis:
Obviously, Luka Doncic’s brilliant play has been the main catalyst for their success. But at some point, the Mavs supporting cast deserves a little bit of respect. In particular, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jalen Brunson, two guys off the bench having career years, have been huge for Rick Carlisle’s bunch.
The two are third and fourth in scoring for Dallas, despite the fact that Hardaway has started just 20 games this year and Brunson only 10. And both have done it in extremely efficient fashion. Hardaway is tied with Doncic with 3.0 three-pointers per game while shooting from the arc at 39 percent, while Brunson is delivering impressive 54 percent shooting overall.
Take a look at what the pair has done in the team’s four games in Apriil:
Hardaway has really found a niche as the designated sniper for Dallas, a guy who’s asked to score and not much else. What you notice when watching him play recently is how he has learned to score on the drive as well as from outside the arc. He has also become a leader of sorts for this squad as one of the veterans.
Brunson took a few years to find himself after his storied college career at Villanova. He has used improved outside shooting to compliment his unique ability to do damage in the paint as a smaller guy. It’s hard to imagine even the staunchest believer in him thinking he was going to do what he’s doing this season for Dallas.
These two will have to be on their games tonight against Milwaukee. The Bucks can throw a lot of able defensive bodies at Doncic to disrupt him. Hardaway and Brunson can foil their plans if they have efficient, productive evenings.
Coming Up Big Without Giannis
Milwaukee is much better equipped to deal with the Greek Freak’s absences than they have been in past years. On the offensive end, the addition of Jrue Holiday has given them a guy who can carry the team even if Khris Middleton, the other main threat, is having an off game. We saw that in the Bucks win over Sacramento earlier this week, as Holiday continued his hot streak with 33 points and Milwaukee picked up a win over the Kings even with Middleton scuffling.
Yet they lost on Tuesday to Golden State even with both Holiday and Middleton having big offensive games. And what the last two games revealed is that the Bucks might just be hurt more on defense by Giannis’ absence than on the offensive end. Take a look at the numbers of the opposition in those last two contests:
Sacramento: 128 points, 49.5 FG%, 43.6 3PT% on 17 threes
Golden State: 122 points, 47.9 FG%, 37.5 3PT% on 15 threes
Giving up a lot of points to the Kings and Warriors isn’t that surprising, in part because both play at a very high pace. But it is a bit concerning how efficiently both teams were able to cut up the Bucks defense. Milwaukee is a bottom-third in the league as a team in both allowing the three and opponents three-point shooting, and being without Antetokounmpo seems to amplify this flaw.
Dallas is a team that will really hurt you if you don’t defend the three. Doncic will either knock them down or find guys who can. They are seventh in the league in terms of the percentage of their points that come from outside the arc.
Of course, Giannis might suit up in this one. But the numbers suggest that the Bucks could still be vulnerable to a three-point onslaught in this one even if he does play. Milwaukee might have to survive an offensive shootout if they’re to win this one.
What’s the Best Bet?
To beat a team like Milwaukee, you need to have all your pistons firing. The Mavericks come into tonight, however, with all kinds of questions about who might suit up and who might not. If they’re short-handed, it’s hard to imagine them being able to go toe-to-toe with the Bucks, even if Giannis doesn’t play.
Doncic is always capable of one of those games where he puts the team on his back. But the Bucks might be better equipped to defend him than they were to stop smaller, quicker players like De’Aaron Fox and Steph Curry in their last two. Look for Milwaukee to win a high-scoring affair and cover the tiny spread bet in this one.
Jim Beviglia joined Gamblingsites.org as a staff writer in 2018, parlaying his years of freelance writing into contributions on a number of different topics. He handles the sport of horse racing for GamblingSites.org and the intersection between the worlds of cryptocurrency and online gambling in a weekly blog.
For his full-time job, Jim handles the television and track announcing duties at a h ...
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