Bucks vs. 76ers NBA Preview and Best Bet

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFP

The Milwaukee Bucks aren’t a hot NBA pick right now, but they have the advantage for Tuesday’s matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Tuesday, November 09, 2021 – 07:30 PM EST at Wells Fargo Center

These are interesting times for the Milwaukee Bucks. Four days ago in this space, we recommended fading the defending champions and putting the New York Knicks in your NBA picks, based on all the players the Bucks were missing at the time. Final score: New York 113, Milwaukee 98, with the Knicks paying out as 3.5-point home favorites on the closing line.

Now we’ve got Milwaukee (4-6 SU and ATS) getting ready to face the Philadelphia 76ers this Tuesday night, but the situation is different. The Sixers have their own personnel issues; Joel Embiid will miss several games after entering the league’s health and safety protocols, joining Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle and Isaiah Joe on the list. And of course, Ben Simmons is trying to finagle a trade out of Philly, so he won’t be in uniform to face the Bucks. It’s enough of a fiasco to keep the NBA odds for this game on hold as we go to press – but not enough to stop us from getting you as prepared as possible to make a sharp bet or two at the top sportsbooks.

Mr. Zero

The health situation with the Bucks deserves an update as well. Khris Middleton is still in quarantine and can’t return until Friday at the earliest, and Brook Lopez remains week-to-week with a sore back. However, Jrue Holiday made his return from the injured list and came off the bench during that Knicks game, then was re-inserted into the starting lineup for Sunday’s 101-94 loss to the Washington Wizards (+1 at home).

One other change of note from that Wizards game: Bobby Portis was put in the starting rotation in place of Thanasis Antetokounmpo, who went back to his familiar limited role off the bench, playing a shade under six minutes and scoring zero points on zero shots with zero rebounds, blocks or steals. Portis was the only positive player in plus-minus terms for the Bucks at plus-10, although he only shot 6-for-17 for 13 points. Milwaukee don’t have much else in the big-man cupboard until Lopez returns, so it’s up to Portis to keep it 100 in the meantime.

To make things a little bit tougher on the Sixers (8-3 SU, 7-4 ATS), they’ll be playing Tuesday on zero days of rest after losing 103-96 to New York as 2-point home dogs. This was a very close matchup; each team had 91 shot attempts, and each team shot 13-of-40 from downtown. Doc Rivers used an eight-man rotation – more like seven, because Paul Reed only played five minutes – and almost pulled this one out, but in doing so, left Philly low on fumes for the next game. We’ll take that angle and put out an early recommendation for Milwaukee, but as usual, wait until the morning shoot-around to see who’s playing, and bet accordingly.

NBA Pick: Bucks -6 (-110) at DraftKings