The NBA heads out West for the final game of Monday’s slate of action. The surging Milwaukee Bucks (36-17) will make the cross-country trip to face the Portland Trail Blazers (26-27). Check out our NBA odds series for our Bucks-Trail Blazers prediction and pick.

The Milwaukee Bucks are firmly at the top of the Eastern Conference and trail the leading Celtics by just one game. They’re currently on a seven game winning streak and have been the hottest team in the NBA leading into the All-Star break. They’ve gotten some of their players back from injury and have seen the benefits of a healthy lineup. Giannis Antetokounmpo will be probable for this game as they try to topple the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Portland Trail Blazers have played well lately, going 3-2 in their last five games. They lost an exciting game against the Chicago Bulls their last time out and will be looking to get back into the win column tonight. Portland is currently on the outside looking in as they sit in the 11-spot of the Western Conference. With each passing game, it’ll be important for the Trail Blazers to notch tough wins and try to improve their playoff chances.

Here are the Bucks-Trail Blazers NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel

NBA Odds: Bucks-Trail Blazers Odds

Milwaukee Bucks: -4.5 (-110)

Portland Trail Blazers: +4.5 (-110)

Over: 242 (-110)

Under: 242 (-110)

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Why The Bucks Could Cover The Spread

The Milwaukee Bucks are once again playing a championship brand of basketball. They seem to be the most complete team in the East and often look like the best team in the NBA when Giannis is on the floor. They’ll most likely see him back in action tonight after healing his right knee. Jrue Holiday continues to improve as a veteran of this league and has done a great job at commanding the Bucks’ offense. Bobby Portis has also been coming into his own this season and provides a huge morale boost whenever he’s in the game.

Milwaukee has a great winning record at 32-9 when listed as the favorites. They’re covering to the tune of 10-12 ATS when playing as the visitors. They’ll have a clear advantage in this one as they’re coming in close to full strength. Giannis will have mismatches on the Portland defense and will look to turn in a dominant performance in his return.

Why The Trail Blazers Could Cover The Spread

The Trail Blazers will have to find answers in this one with their center Jusuf Nurkic out. They’ve been able to have hot shooting nights behind players like Dame Lillard and Anfernee Simons, but have failed to play substantial defense in many of their games. It’s become apparent that the Trail Blazers will welcome a shootout of a game instead of buckling down on the defensive end. If that’s the case tonight, they’ll have to shoot lights-out to outweigh this tough Milwaukee defense.

The Trail Blazers have been a good home team going 14-11 ATS. They’ve also won five of their last seven games and have been able to shoot the ball well on their home rims. However, they’re 1-9 ATS against their last 10 Eastern Conference opponents, a trend that will be in full effect with the Bucks. Portland will look to attack the basket and get to the free throw line. Their best chance at winning will come by causing foul trouble for the Bucks and converting on their attempts from the line.

Final Bucks-Trail Blazers Prediction & Pick

With Giannis back in the lineup, I can only expect the former-MVP to have a great performance tonight. 4.5 points seems to be too small a margin, even considering how well the Trail Blazers have played. Let’s take the Bucks to cover here.

Final Bucks-Trail Blazers Prediction & Pick: Milwaukee Bucks -4.5 (-110)