The Milwaukee Bucks travel to Philly Wednesday to take on the Philadelphia 76ers in a battle of two of the best Eastern Conference teams. It’s time to continue our NBA odds series and make a Bucks-Sixers prediction and pick.
The Bucks are 25-14 straight up and 19-20 against the spread. Milwaukee is on a four-game win streak and is coming off a win over the Washington Wizards.
The Sixers have the best record in the Eastern Conference at 28-12 and are 22-16-2 against the spread. Philadelphia is coming off a win over the New York Knicks last night and has won six straight games.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Bucks-Sixers odds.
NBA Odds: Bucks-Sixers Odds
Milwaukee Bucks -5.5 (-108)
Philadelphia 76ers +5.5 (-112)
Over 235 Points (-110)
Under 235 Points (-110)
Why The Sixers Could Cover The Spread
The Sixers have been elite on their home floor all season, losing only three games at Wells Fargo Center. They hold the best home ATS record in the league at 14-7.
On the other hand, Milwaukee has only covered on the road in one of their last six matchups.
Even in the absence of Joel Embiid, the Sixers have continued their stay in the winning column. The biggest reason for this has been their excellent defense.
In four straight games, Philly has held opponents to 9+ points below their scoring average. Perhaps their most impressive feat was holding the Wizards to under 102 points, a feat that’s only been done four other times this season.
The Sixers perimeter defense has clamped their opponents from the three-point line recently. In their last three matchups, opponents have combined to shoot 28.9% from deep.
Throughout the season, Philly has been hit and miss with their perimeter defense, ranging from excellent to subpar. They currently hold opponents to the 12th lowest three-point percentage in the league. The Sixers need a concentrated effort tonight against Milwaukee’s shooters to get the upset.
On the offensive end, Embiid’s absence leaves a sizable hole. So far, Tobias Harris has stepped up to be the team’s main scorer.
Harris dropped 30 on the Knicks yesterday and had a near triple-double with 23 points the game before. The Sixers will rely on him and their three-point shooters tonight to get points on the board.
The Bucks struggle to defend the three-point line. They are only 2-3 against teams that average 40 or more three-point attempts a game, and can be overwhelmed with volume.
Without Embiid on the floor and with three quality shooters in Seth Curry (44%) , Tobias Harris (41%), and Danny Green (38%), the Sixers should turn up the heat from downtown tonight.
Why The Bucks Could Cover The Spread
The Bucks have been on a tear lately, winning nine out of their last ten matchups.
Milwaukee has taken advantage of an easy section of their schedule and used it to propel themselves to the third seed in the conference.
Along the way, the Bucks have shown great adaptability. Their last two wins came against an offensive-minded Wizards squad, and Milwaukee still shot them off the floor.
Against defensive-centric teams like the Clippers and Thunder, the Bucks prevailed in a slugfest. On both ends of the floor, Milwaukee can do what your team does, only better.
As of late, the Bucks have shown a preference to win by getting plenty of buckets immediately. They have sacrificed defense (they now rank 20th in the league in opponent points allowed) to run up the numbers.
Giannis and company average just under 120 points per game, second only to the Brooklyn Nets. The Bucks have scored 30+ in the first quarter in six of their last eight matchups.
As usual, Giannis has led the charge. In their last five games, the reigning MVP is averaging 28.2 points, 11.0 assists, and 8.4 rebounds while shooting 62% from the field. He has also significantly cut down his three-point attempts, shooting only 2.0 per game over the stretch compared to his season average of 3.8.
With Giannis’ focus on pounding the painted area, the Bucks are ninth in the league in paint points per game. Against a Sixers team without Embiid, Milwaukee could continue to thrive down low.
The best way to beat the Bucks is to outshoot them from three. In all but two of the Bucks’ losses, their opponent has tied or made more three-point field goals than them.
Against a Sixers team that is coming off a grind-it-out game last night and doesn’t shoot many threes, it’s unlikely the Bucks lose the three-point battle tonight.
Final Bucks-Sixers Prediction & Pick
While the Bucks four-game winning streak looks good on paper, they haven’t beat a team over .500 during it and were blown out last time they faced a quality squad. In their last six matchups against over .500 teams, the Bucks are a miserable 1-5. Milwaukee tears apart bad teams, but this Sixers squad could give them trouble. Even without Embiid, Philly’s depth should be enough to keep them in this one. This game should have a playoff atmosphere and the Sixers love playing on their home floor. I’ll back them to at a minimum to keep this close, and perhaps even pull the upset.
FINAL PICK: PHILADELPHIA 76ERS +5.5