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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Detroit Pistons prediction and pick from NBA handicapper Jonathan Macri. Milwaukee is a huge favorite at home against the Pistons while the league's worst team against the spread hosts suddenly healthy Atlanta.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Detroit Pistons Prediction: Bucks Get a Big Line

When: Monday, January 3, 8:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: NBA League Pass

Spread: Bucks -16

Total: 225.5

Click Here for Bucks vs. Pistons Odds

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Detroit Pistons Prediction

It takes a lot to get Vegas to set a line higher than 15 points, but that’s exactly what we’re getting here.

It’s only happened a few times this season, with the most recent example being when Golden State hosted a depleted Orlando Magic team in the beginning of December. Like it is here, that line was 16 (which is the highest of the season for any team), and the Warriors won by twice as much.

Even more recently, these Bucks have had lines of 14 and 14.5, both against the Magic and both in Orlando, and they won those games by 17 and 18 points, respectively, before beating the Pelicans at home by 23 as a 12-point favorite.

So no, these Bucks are not strangers to large spreads. Nor should they be. Over a winning streak that has now extended to six games, they have the best net rating in the league by over four points per 100 possessions, at plus-14.3. Over the streak, they’re shooting it at a top-three rate, turning it over at a bottom-five rate, and outrebounding all but two teams.

The Pistons, meanwhile, are actually coming off a win for just the sixth time all season. Despite a league-worst record, they’re actually respectable against the spread with a mark of 16-18. They’ve also lost nine games by 16 or more, including two against Milwaukee by a total of 49 points.

The line is large but this isn’t a fair fight. Take advantage of a line that would probably be even higher were it not for Detroit winning their last game against a San Antonio team missing its best player. Lay the points at home.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Detroit Pistons Pick

  • PICK: Bucks -16 (-108)

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Atlanta Hawks vs. Portland Trail Blazers Prediction

Hawks vs. Trail Blazers odds

The NBA’s worst team against the spread going into the new year? That would be the Portland Trail Blazers, and it isn’t particularly close. The Blazers are just 12-23 ATS, bad enough for a 34.3 percent clip. The next worst team (the Lakers) is at nearly 40 percent. Portland’s average margin against the spread is negative 5.2, which is twice as bad as every team in the league except LA and New York.

In comes Atlanta, who has been no great shakes themselves with a betting record of 14-21 and a margin against the spread of negative 1.8. This is also right around the time they got things going last season, and are coming off one of their best wins of the season in Cleveland. Weeks before that, they were showing signs of putting things together, but then Trae Young and Clint Capela went into health and safety protocols and the momentum subsided.

Now they have both of those players back as well as their entire rotation, with a slew of players exiting protocols before this game. The Hawks are just outside of the play-in game and know the time is now to start making a push. Portland, meanwhile, seems relegated to a lost season and often shows little to no fight on the defensive end. Against the league’s second-best offense, that’s a problem.

Lay the points on the road.

Atlanta Hawks vs. Portland Trail Blazers Pick

  • PICK: Hawks -5.5 (-110)

Article Author


Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.


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