Milwaukee Bucks vs. Los Angeles Lakers Prediction: The Bucks Are Healthy and Dangerous
When: Wednesday, November 17, 7:30 p.m. ET
Where to Watch: ESPN
Spread: Bucks -8
Bucks vs. Lakers Prediction
Here’s a fun parlor game to play when you’re killing time in the early goings of this NBA season: who is the 13th best team in the East?
Once you get above bottom feeders Orlando and Detroit, there’s no obvious candidate for the designation. The Toronto Raptors, losers of five of six and thought to be a potential tanking candidate before this season, are probably the closest thing to a “correct” answer. However, they have the 14th best net rating in the entire league and already have several quality wins. Is it the 9-6 Cavs who just lose Rookie of the Year frontrunner Evan Mobley for two to four weeks? Or maybe the Pacers, who are 6-9 but have been beset by injuries to one key player or another in almost every game this season.
Whatever the answer is if the Hawks beat the Celtics at home tonight, and Pacers can take care of business against the Pistons, and Milwaukee loses to the Lakers in what was supposed to be a Finals preview, your defending world champion Bucks will be the sole owners of the 13th best record in their own conference.
That’s a startling beginning to the season for what was seen as perhaps the safest bet in the league before the year began. Even so, no one seems to be worrying too much. The Bucks have been hit as hard by injuries as any team in the league, with only three rotation players having appeared in every game. This has forced the likes of Justin Robinson and Thenasis Antetokounmpo into larger-than-expected roles. In contrast, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday have missed 14 games between them and have appeared in just two games together.
In this game, the Bucks’ big three will be together for just the third time this season. They’re 2-0 in the games they’ve appeared in together so far, and while Brook Lopez and Dante DiVincenzo remain out, this will be the healthiest Milwaukee has been since opening night.
Opening night, when the Bucks beat the Nets at home, is also the last time they really looked and felt like defending champs. The Lakers, meanwhile, haven’t looked like true contenders all year, and that’s even before LeBron James went down. James will once again be out, and while Anthony Davis is probable with a thumb injury, he’s not 100 percent.
The result is a team that has dropped six of nine against the spread despite playing eight of those nine at home. Now they go off on a road trip that will test their mettle more than any stretch this season, going into Milwaukee to face a Bucks team that just played five straight on the road and has lost their last four at home.
Tonight, that streak comes to an end. The champs will look like the champs once again, and the Bucks will cruise to victory.
Bucks vs. Lakers Pick
- Bucks -8 (-110)
New York Knicks vs. Orlando Magic Prediction
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where to Watch: MSG Network/NBA League Pass
Knicks vs. Magic Odds
The last time the Knicks and Magic faced off in the Garden, New York was coming off the most prolific 3-point shooting performance in franchise history. They did so against the same Magic team in Orlando’s building, but the second half of the home and home didn’t go nearly as well.
New York shot just 13 of 48 from deep in that second matchup, and while they held a halftime lead in the game, they ended up losing by six when Terrence Ross went nuclear in the fourth. It was the first sign of trouble for a Knicks team that has been just .500 since that 2-0 start.
Starting with the second Magic game, the Knicks are the 19th ranked team by net rating. That doesn’t fit the profile of a team getting a double-digit spread, but that’s the case here. At the same time, the Magic are at a negative 7.5 figure in their last 12, which ranks 27th. Orlando has some other quality wins (a blowout in Minnesota and a win in Utah), but on the whole, they’ve been overmatched.
New York has been one of the hardest teams to figure out all season long, but coming off a win against the Pacers in which they really seemed to find some answers, the bet here is that they show up and show out. Then, give the points at home.
Knicks vs. Magic Pick
- Knicks -11.5 (-110)