The Bucks hold an overall record of 9-4, but they are only 5-7 against the spread. Milwaukee is coming off a tightly contested win over the Dallas Mavericks.
The Nets stand at 8-6 overall, but they they are 6-8 against the spread. In the Nets' most recent game, they held off the Orlando Magic in James Harden's debut with the team.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Bucks-Nets odds.
NBA Odds: Bucks-Nets Odds
Milwaukee Bucks -3 (-115)
Brooklyn Nets +3 (-105)
Over 239.5 Points (-110)
Under 239.5 Points (-110)
Why The Nets Could Cover The Spread
The James Harden era began with a bang in Brooklyn.
Harden delivered in his debut, dropping a 32-point triple-double, but he struggled with turnovers, recording nine.
Still, the Beard looked like a natural fit in Brooklyn's free-flowing offense. Before Harden even arrived from Houston, the Nets were averaging eye-popping offensive numbers.
Brooklyn leads the league in points per game, they're third in three-point percentage, and they rank fifth in both field goal percentage and possessions per game.
Brooklyn has essentially been blitzing teams out of the arena in their wins. Out of 14 games, the Nets have scored less than 110 points only twice.
The Bucks will be their hardest defensive test of the season. Giannis Antetokounmpo and company have slowed opposing offenses down considerably, holding opponents to the sixth lowest field-goal percentage in the league.
However, they haven't guarded the three-point line very well. Milwaukee allows the eighth most three-pointers in the NBA, something that could play into Harden and Durant's hands here.
Why The Bucks Could Cover The Spread
The biggest advantages the Bucks have over the Nets right now are consistency and defensive presence.
Aside from one game against the New York Knicks where Milwaukee was inexplicably blown out and a poor performance against the Utah Jazz, the Bucks have performed like a true contender should.
Their poor spread record is mostly due to insanely high-point spreads early in the season. The Bucks have been double-digit favorites in half of their games. In fact, the three-point spread tonight is their lowest of the year.
The Bucks haven't played like an elite team quite yet, but they are on a four-game win streak and have more consistently shown results than a Nets team that looks unbeatable one day and vulnerable the next.
Milwaukee's offense hasn't put up the numbers that Brooklyn has, but they're not far off. Led by Giannis' 26.6 points a game, the Bucks have the sixth highest offensive efficiency in the league. They also hold the second highest three-point percentage in the NBA, with four players shooting over 40% from deep.
While the offensive gap between the two teams isn't massive, the defensive gap is. Brooklyn has been getting crushed on the boards, allowing the most offensive rebounds in the league while ranking in the bottom third of the NBA in defensive efficiency.
Look for the Bucks to get plenty of good looks from deep and easy put-backs tonight against a porous Brooklyn defense.
Final Bucks-Nets Prediction & Pick
In this matchup, I will bank on consistency over flashiness. With the addition of Harden, the Nets are obviously a popular championship pick, but we'll have to see how the Beard gels in Brooklyn first. Another nine turnover night might get the job done against the Magic, but it won't against the Bucks. I'll take the Bucks to buckle down and contain Brooklyn's stars enough to get the close win. Milwaukee wins a close one and covers.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: MIL 123, BKN 115