NBA Playoff Picks - Bucks vs. Nets
Only one game on Saturday, but it’s about as big as a second-round series can be.
It’s rare that the winner of a second-round series, regardless of who it ends up being, is likely to be deemed favorites to win it all, but that’s exactly what we have here. With the Lakers eliminated, Denver injured, Utah and Phoenix untested, and Joel Embid banged up, one of the Nets or Bucks will emerge as the betting fave for the chip.
That also means that this will be a highly competitive series. We saw as much when these teams played in back to back games late in the regular season, both of which were won by Milwaukee.
In those games, the Bucks showed their mettle, going toe to toe with Durant & Co and living to tell the tale. Those games came early on in a stretch that saw Milwaukee close the season with eight wins in 10 games, with one of those losses coming in the season finale against the Bulls, during which Milwaukee rested all of its stars.
Combine that with the sweep that the Bucks just put on the defending Eastern Conference champs, and it’s easy to see why they’re a popular upset pick.
And then there’s this: Milwaukee is 33-8 when they score at least 120 points. That looms large against a Brooklyn team that not only gave up an average of 121.3 to the Bucks this season, but that allowed 120 or more 22 times in the regular season and twice already in the playoffs. The Nets were just 9-13 in those games and dropped an additional one to Boston last week.
The real key to the series, however, will be Milwaukee’s defense. When the Bucks held teams under 110 point this season, they were 25-1. With Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton, they have the personnel to slow down Brooklyn’s All-Star back court, and in Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee has the closest thing to a KD stopper as exists in the league.
This game will be close, and while this isn’t a large spread, the fact that it’s more than a single possession doesn’t show enough respect to the Bucks, even on the road. Here’s saying they steal Game 1.
Bucks vs. Nets Pick
The Pick: Bucks +4 @ -109
Expert Bucks vs. Nets Predictions
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