The top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks take on the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic Saturday afternoon in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference first-round series. After a shocking 122-110 defeat in the opener, the Bucks thrashed of the Magic 111-96 last Thursday to tie the series.
Milwaukee will look for more of the same Saturday, while Orlando needs to regroup and continue to work hard. The excitement is guaranteed, so we bring you all need-to-know betting tips and trends for Game 3 along with our best betting pick.
The Bucks are coming in full strength, while the Magic miss Mo Bamba, Jonathan Isaac, and Michael Carter-Williams. Aaron Gordon is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury, and his eventual absence would be a big blow for the Magic.
It’s no surprise to see the Bucks as double-digit favorites. They’ve won five of their last six encounters with the Magic, and four of those five wins came by 11 or more points.
What’s at Stake?
The Bucks want to take control of this series as soon as possible. On the other side, the Magic have nothing to lose, as they are expected to be swept by the best team in the league.
Orlando’s victory in the opener was a huge surprise. However, the Bucks gelled the things, especially on the defensive end, so the momentum is on their side.
Milwaukee played some brutal D in Game 2, limiting the Magic on 34.8% shooting from the field and 21.2% from downtown. Furthermore, the Bucks posted 15 rebounds more than the Magic and surrendered only 24 points in the paint.
Nikola Vucevic tortured the Bucks for 35 points and 14 rebounds in Game 1. Vooch posted a double-double of 32 points and 10 boards in Game 2, but his teammates played way below the expectations.
The Magic struggled to defend against Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the reigning MVP tallied 28 points, 20 rebounds, and five assists in Game 2. Brook Lopez put on a bounce-back performance after a terrible display in the opener, scoring 20 points and making four of his eight 3-point attempts.
The Bucks’ defense is a key factor in this series along with Giannis’ unstoppable inside game. That’s why the Magic desperately need Aaron Gordon on the floor, but I still think they won’t win another game until the end of the series.
I was backing the Bucks to cover in their first two encounters with the Magic, and I’m sticking with it in Game 3. Of course, I will buy a few points and take the Bucks as 10-point favorites at -160 odds.
Milwaukee is 8-2 straight up and 6-3-1 ATS in its last 10 meetings with Orlando, while the under is 7-2-1 in that span.
I was afraid to bet on the under in Game 2 because of the Bucks’ furious tempo. I knew they will shut down the Magic, but the Bucks average 105.1 possessions per 48 minutes which are the most in the NBA.
The Magic, on the other side, record 98.6 possessions per 48 minutes (25th in the league). They are a solid defensive team and will try their best to slow down the tempo, but I would stick with the Bucks to cover and avoid the totals.