As of tonight there is exactly one week until the playoffs begin. Not all of the contenders have been decided yet, which has been great for sports betting online. This has given teams still vying for a playoff spot extra incentive to win games they aren’t favored in. Tonight one of those very games will take place as the Brooklyn Nets face off against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Brooklyn Nets (39-40) @ Milwaukee Bucks (59-20)
The Nets and Bucks have met 3 times already this year and it certainly hasn’t been pretty for Brooklyn. Milwaukee has dominated the season series, 3-0, and are averaging 124.3 points per game against them, compared to 110 for the Nets. This could potentially be a first round playoff preview, but if Brooklyn loses tonight they’ll be hard pressed to even make the 8th seed.
Tonight’s game is a must-win for the Nets, and has rapidly become their most important game of the season. The bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff seeding has been nuts this year, and it’s neck and neck heading towards the finish line. After Friday night’s action, the Magic have vaulted to the 6th seed with a record of 40-40, the Nets are still 7th at 39-40, Detroit has fallen 8th due to tiebreaker scenarios despite also having a 39-40 record, and Miami has fallen out of the race at the moment and look desperate with a 38-41 record.
- 17-22 in away games this season, including a recent 2-5 stretch during a road trip.
- D’Angelo Russell has been a man on a mission after the first half of March, averaging 29.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 8.75 assists, and 1.9 steals in his last 8 games. This includes a game last Monday against these very Bucks, in which he collected 28 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists, but he shot just 33% from the field in a 131-121 loss.
- Just 3-7 in their last 10 games, with all but 2 games against playoff contenders.
- After tonight, they play Indiana and then Miami. The game against Miami will very likely decide who the 8th seed is, considering Detroit and Orlando have much easier games to finish the season.
- Did not cover the point spread the previous 2 games, but have covered 5 of their last 10 games overall.
The Bucks have officially clinched the best record in the entire league, a feat nobody would’ve predicted at the beginning of the year. That isn’t stopping their best player (and very likely the league MVP), Giannis Antetokounmpo from continuing to suit up each game. He’s mentioned he doesn’t want to sit any games before the playoffs, but you have to expect he’ll rest at least once. It’s likely he plays tonight, but the superstar will almost certainly rest against Atlanta or OKC.
- Best home record in the league at 32-6! Since November, the Bucks have just lost at home only once each month.
- It’s really hard not to talk about Giannis. He obliterated the 76ers last game, delivering an astounding 45 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 block performance on 59% shooting and zero This man is undoubtedly primed to be the face of the entire league, not in a few years from now, but today. He’s been no slouch against Brooklyn this year either, averaging 29.7 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2.3 blocks on 58% shooting across 3 games.
- 6-1 in their last 7 games, but their loss was by just a single point. They’ve defeated the Rockets, Clippers, 76ers, and this Nets squad during that stretch.
- Ersan Ilyasova has a fractured nose, but he is probable to play. Brogdon, Mirotic, and Gasol are all still out. No word on whether Giannis will rest, but unless you hear otherwise before tip-off, expect him to play.
- Probably the best cover team all year. They’ve covered the point spread in 6 of their last 7 games, and 7 of their last 10 overall.
Pick: Milwaukee Bucks -8.5
I’d love to see DLO and the Nets steal a game from the best team in the league, but they’ve been struggling lately while Milwaukee has continued to steamroll. With a win tonight, the Bucks can establish themselves as the sole 60 win team on the year. Russell has been good, but not great against the Bucks this year, and Giannis is the best player on the court each and every game. So long as Giannis isn’t resting, you can’t reliably bet against the Bucks this year. Expect Milwaukee to win.