The 2021 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals tip off Saturday, June 4, so here’s the best Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets betting pick for Game 1, as the third-seeded Bucks visit the No. 2 Nets at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
According to William Hill Sportsbook, the Nets are firm -210 favorites to win this series, while the Bucks sit at +175 even though they won two of their three encounters with Brooklyn this past regular season. The Nets opened as 3.5-point favorites with a total of 239.5 points for Saturday’s Game 1.
The Bucks hammered the reigning vice-champs in the first round
The Milwaukee Bucks had no problems eliminating the Miami Heat from the 2021 NBA Playoffs. They swept the reigning vice-champions, winning the last three games by an average margin of 26.7 points.
The Bucks shot 46.8% from the field and just 32.7% from downtown through the first-round series, but they also averaged a whopping 59.0 rebounds a night (15.3 on the offensive glass). Giannis Antetokounmpo was tallying 23.5 points, 15.0 rebounds, and 7.8 assists per contest, and the Bucks looked unstoppable as a team.
Milwaukee held the Heat to a poor 39.5% shooting from the field, and the Bucks hope their defense will be able to cope with the Nets’ ridiculous offense. They’ll miss Donte DiVincenzo (10.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG) who’s done for the season with a foot injury, while all other guys are ready to go.
The Nets needed five games to eliminate the Celtics
I was expecting the Brooklyn Nets to sweep Boston in the first round, but Jayson Tatum’s 50 burger helped the Celtics to win Game 3 at home and prolong the series a bit. Anyway, the Nets finished the job in five games, going 4-1 ATS in the process.
Frankly, Brooklyn had an easy job against the shorthanded Celtics who never looked like a team capable of reaching the semis this season. The Nets have been terrific as of late, winning nine of their last ten games overall and covering on nine occasions.
Brooklyn made 42.6% of its 3-point attempts against the Celtics, scoring 14.4 treys a night. Kevin Durant averaged 32.6 points per game while shooting 54.6% from the field and 50.0% from beyond the arc. James Harden was adding 27.8 points and 10.6 assists per game, and Kyrie Irving tallied 24.8 points per contest.
- 0-5 ATS in the last five road games as underdogs
- 9-1 ATS in the last ten games overall
- 6-0 ATS in the last six games at home
These two teams met each other twice in the first week of May, and the Bucks went 2-0 SU and ATS as 1.5 and 2.5-point home favorites. However, the Nets couldn’t count on James Harden in May, while they beat Milwaukee 125-123 as 4-point home favorites back in January.
With James Harden in their lineup, the Nets are arguably the best offensive team in the NBA by far. Brooklyn will have to control the glass and play solid defense, especially at the low post, but I’m expecting the Nets’ offense to make the difference. Give me the hosts to cover.
Pick: Brooklyn Nets -3.5 at -110
Two of three regular-season meetings between the Nets and Bucks went in the under, but just one produced fewer than 240 points in total. Therefore, I’m backing the over on the totals, though Brooklyn to cover remains my best betting pick here.
Over their last two matchups with Milwaukee, the Nets scored 37 triples in total. Brooklyn records 99.5 possessions per 48 minutes (12th in the NBA), while the Bucks play at the second-fastest pace in the league, averaging 102.2 possessions per 48 minutes.
Pick: Go over 239.5 points at -110