The Milwaukee Bucks play the third game of their Western Conference road trip tonight as they face off against the Portland Trail Blazers. It’s time to continue our NBA odds series and make a Bucks-Blazers prediction and pick.
The Bucks hold a record of 30-17 overall and 21-26 against the spread. Milwaukee is coming off a win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Blazers stand at 29-18 overall and 24-23 against the spread. Portland is coming off a blowout win over the Detroit Pistons.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Bucks-Blazers odds.
NBA Odds: Bucks-Blazers Odds
Milwaukee Bucks -3 (-110)
Portland Trail Blazers +3 (-110)
Over 239.5 Points (-110)
Under 239.5 Points (-110)
Why The Bucks Could Cover The Spread
Milwaukee bounced back after three straight losses with a win against Los Angeles on Wednesday.
One of Milwaukee’s biggest weaknesses this year is their streakiness. The Bucks have two runs of five straight wins and one run of eight straight wins, but also runs of five straight and three straight losses.
When Milwaukee is on, they’re nearly unbeatable. They’re the second highest scoring offense in the league, with the third-highest three-point percentage and fifth-highest field goal percentage.
The Bucks have six players averaging double-digit scoring, and eight guys shooting above 38% from three-point range. This should be especially effective against a Blazers team that plays little to no defense.
Portland allows 115.2 points per game, the fourth most in the NBA. Opponents have found success from deep against the Blazers, shooting 37.7% from three against them.
Against the top five three-point shooting teams in the league, Portland is 0-5 overall. In their fast paced offense, the Blazers struggle to hang with offenses that are elite.
Milwaukee’s depth has shown through during their stronger runs. Besides Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks supporting cast has been excellent. Jrue Holiday will play a particularly important part in this matchup.
Holiday is averaging 23.0 points on 47.4% shooting from downtown in his last three. The Bucks will need him more on the defensive end tonight.
Against Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, perimeter defense becomes the most important part of the game plan. As long as Holliday and DiVincenzo can keep the Blazers duo from going nuclear, the Bucks have a great chance of winning this matchup.
Why The Blazers Could Cover The Spread
Portland is red hot right now, reeling off four straight wins in impressive fashion. They won tight games against Miami and Toronto, and comfortably took care of business against Orlando and Detroit.
The Blazers win games by shooting their opponent out of the building. In five of their eight wins since the All-Star break, Portland has topped 120 points.
Now that C.J. McCollum is healthy and have acquired Norman Powell, the Blazers have three guys that can drop 30 points on you on any given night.
Their supporting cast has been racking up the numbers as well. In all four of their last wins, the Blazers have had five or more players hit double-digit scoring.
While the ‘Zers might not be a strong defensive squad, the Bucks haven’t exactly been clamping opponents either. Milwaukee allows the 10th most points in the league, not far above the Blazers. The Bucks hold opponents to only a slightly lower percentage from deep than the Blazers do at 37.5%.
Whoever wins the three-point battle tonight is likely to take home the win. Considering the Blazers have hit 68 three-pointers over their last four matchups, it’d be unwise to count them out tonight.
With their new roster depth, Portland will be looking to show they can hang with the elite scoring teams in the league.
Final Bucks-Blazers Prediction & Pick
The Trail Blazers have been subpar at covering the spread at home (9-14) and against the top five three-point shooting teams in the league (0-5). Too many of Milwaukee’s strengths line-up with Portland’s weaknesses, and this is a perfect spot for the Bucks to take advantage of a defensively challenged team. Not many opponents survive high-scoring games against the Bucks, and I doubt the Blazers will be different. Milwaukee by double digits in the Moda Center.
FINAL PICK: MILWAUKEE BUCKS -3