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The NBA playoffs are set. Expert Gray Gutfreund has narrowed down his top NBA playoff bet for the Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls round 1 series.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Chicago Bulls Prediction: Can the Bulls Hang With the Bucks in the 1st Round?

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Series Correct Score: MIL Bucks 4-0 (+285) (Bet $100 to win $280)

Series Correct Score: MIL Bucks 4-1 (+225) (Bet $100 to win $280)

*Odds Available at DraftKings at Time of Publishing*

First things first, allow me to explain why I'm recommending you to take both of these picks when it's impossible to win both. DraftKings is offering a series spread of Bucks -2.5 games at -120, and these plays in tandem with each other are a more valuable version of Milwaukee's spread.

For example, a $100 bet on Milwaukee -2.5 would net you only $83.33 of profit if the Bucks covered. But, with the correct score picks, you're profiting $185 if the Bucks win in 4 games and $125 if they win in 5 games. These are the only two possible outcomes that would enable Bucks -2.5 games to ring true. So, according to some basic math, we're pretty much getting big-time plus-odds on the series spread for the defending champs. Now, let's jump into why I love Milwaukee to take care of business.

Get $200 if The Team You Pick Scores a 3-Pointer. Click here or the CLAIM NOW button below to claim this BetMGM Sportsbook promotion.

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This is a dream matchup for the Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo proved last season that he is absolutely unstoppable come playoff time, as he averaged 30.2 points per game and 12.8 rebounds per game while shooting 56.9% from the field last postseason. The Greek Freak's run included three 40+ point performances in the finals against a Suns team that ranked among the NBA's top ten defenses in back-to-back seasons. News flash: This Bulls team isn't even close to being an average defensive unit.

Chicago allowed 113.6 points per 100 possessions this season, good for the 9th-worst defensive rating in the league and nearly two full points worse than the 2021-22 league-average mark. They're a poor defensive unit that's trending the wrong way and are about to bump heads with a man that scores in the paint more easily than anyone else on the planet. On top of this, the Bulls are, quite literally, a bad NBA team. They ranked 20th in Net Rating, finishing the season with a negative point differential. Furthermore, they limped to the finish line in a pathetic fashion.

From the All-Star break until the final day of the regular season, Chicago had a 7-15 record. That was the 6th worst in the entire league during this stretch. Their -7.9 net rating was 3rd worst during this stretch, too. Only the tanking Trail Blazers and Thunder were worse over the season's final seven weeks of action. The fact that this team didn't fall any lower than the 6th-seed almost feels like a miracle.

Over the last four years, there have been 6 playoff teams that had a negative point differential and qualified for the postseason. See how they fared in the playoffs:

  • 2020-21 Wizards: Lost 4-1 First Round
  • 2019-20 Trail Blazers: Lost 4-1 First Round
  • 2019-20 Magic: Lost 4-1 First Round
  • 2019-20 Nets: Lost 4-0 First Round
  • 2018-19 Nets: Lost 4-1 First Round
  • 2018-19 Pistons: Lost 4-0 First Round

Two of these squads were swept, and the other four lost in a five-game "gentleman's sweep."

And, we already have a four-game sample from this matchup this season. Milwaukee won the regular-season series 4-0, by an average margin of 14.8 points. Some Bulls fans may tell you this is all irrelevant because they have their "Giannis stopper" in second-year forward Patrick Williams. But, this is far from accurate. From Williams' return until the last day of the season, Chicago went just 4-7, including two losses by over 20 points to Milwaukee.

Chicago lacks the offensive firepower or the interior defense to hang with the Bucks in Round 1, and I love Milwaukee's chances to take advantage of these massive weaknesses.

Article Author


Gray is a massive New York sports fan, and is an NBA & NFL oracle. He’s a passionate writer with a strong background in statistics, and loves putting out player props! You can follow him on Twitter @PropBetGuru.


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