You could put either the Milwaukee Bucks or the Brooklyn Nets in your NBA picks this Thursday – but why not both?
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets
Thursday, March 31, 2022 – 07:30 PM EDT at Barclays Center
The world’s top online sportsbooks seem to be in disagreement over Thursday’s matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets. As we go to press, the Bucks (47-28 SU, 36-39 ATS) are 1.5-point road dogs at BetMGM, while PointsBet have the Nets (40-36 SU, 31-43-2 ATS) at +2 on their NBA odds board. All the other books are scattered somewhere in between.
There’s a good chance these lines will have converged somewhat by the time you read this. If not, the obvious play here is to take the arbitrage and bet both sides. But let’s assume for now that Brooklyn end up at –1.5, which seems to be their likeliest landing spot. This would be another golden opportunity to put the red-hot Bucks in your NBA picks.
Better Call Paul
That was the winning choice the last time we dealt with Milwaukee in this space. It was Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers; we recommended the Bucks as 2-point road dogs, and they delivered, shaking off a poor second quarter to beat Philly 118-116.
The Sixers wisely sat DeAndre Jordan in this game, but instead of turning to Paul Reed for those crucial back-up minutes behind Joel Embiid, they went with Paul Millsap. Embiid was plus-3 on the night. Millsap was minus-5.
As fate would have it, the Bucks will be dealing with Andre Drummond in this contest – one of three players Philly shipped to Brooklyn in exchange for James Harden and Millsap, the latter a throw-in at this point in his otherwise excellent career.
But they won’t have to deal with a marquee center like Embiid. While LaMarcus Aldridge and Nic Claxton have both played well for Brooklyn, as has Drummond, none of them is about to be named league MVP.
If winning those non-Embiid minutes was the key to Milwaukee’s success Tuesday night, they should have even more success against the Nets frontcourt, at least at the 5-spot. Brook Lopez continues to work his way into game shape, but playing in Brooklyn against his former team should give him some extra juice.
As Lopez’s minutes go up, Serge Ibaka’s go down. Ibaka played just three minutes against Philadelphia, which is just as well, given the Millsap-sized hole he’s fallen into. The Bucks can still use Ibaka’s beefy presence Thursday night in what should be a playoff-like atmosphere, but with Lopez and Bobby Portis manning the middle, and Giannis Antetokounmpo dominating the entire court, Milwaukee have all the beef they need.
But will they get those 1.5 points? This is a close matchup on paper between two legitimate title contenders – now that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are both available. So was that Milwaukee-Philly game, which also had some arbitrage available at the open. As always, take a moment to browse the NBA lines, and if you can take advantage of a confused market like this, bet accordingly.
NBA Pick: Bucks +1.5 (–110) at BetMGM