Knicks vs. Bucks Free NBA Picks and Odds Breakdown

Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

The short-handed Milwaukee Bucks need some help to overcome the NBA odds this Friday when they host the New York Knicks.

New York Knicks vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Friday, November 05, 2021 – 07:30 PM EDT at Fiserv Forum

If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. The Milwaukee Bucks (4-4 SU and ATS) may have survived last year’s playoff grind, but the defending champs are down at least one of their Big Three for their Friday night matchup with the New York Knicks (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS); Khris Middleton will miss this game after testing positive for COVID-19 and going into quarantine.

That’s not why the NBA odds are on hold for this contest. Jrue Holiday has sat out the last five games with a sprained left ankle and an undisclosed illness, but he says he wants to play Friday night. On top of that, Brook Lopez (sore back) is considered day-to-day, although his chances of suiting up for the first time since the season opener appear slim. The Knicks have no injuries to report, so they might be the right choice for your NBA picks, depending on what happens with Milwaukee during the morning shoot-around.

Jrue Holiday #21, Khris Middleton #22 and Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks. Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

My Big Fat Greek Frontcourt

Bench strength was a bit of a question mark for the Bucks last year after they failed to sign Bogdan Bogdanovic in free agency, but they stayed healthy enough to win their first championship in 50 years – and wisely addressed that issue by snapping up George Hill, Grayson Allen and Semi Ojeleye for their title defense. Hill (minus-0.9 BPM) and Allen (minus-0.9 BPM) have filled in reasonably well during this rough patch, and Ojeleye (minus-16.9 BPM) not so much, though he’s only played 45 minutes thus far after missing the first four games with a strained left calf.

Meanwhile, with Lopez out of commission, the Bucks are starting not one, but two Antetokounmpo brothers: Giannis (plus-12.1 BPM) and Thanasis (minus-2.7 BPM). Full credit to Thanasis for playing acceptable defense, yet his struggles at the other end are one reason why Milwaukee are just 2-3 SU and ATS since Holiday last saw the floor.

Bing Bong Baby

This is obviously a great situation for the Knicks, but they’re not worth betting the entire farm on at this point. They were over-hyped after beginning the season at 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS; the Toronto Raptors (+7 away) took them down a peg on Monday, and the Indiana Pacers (–1 at home) took them down another on Wednesday. Both those opponents have also been dealing with injuries at the start of the new campaign.

Even so, New York’s 110.5 points per 100 possessions ranks third overall, well ahead of Milwaukee’s 104.9 points (No. 15). The Bucks (No. 13 on defense) have outperformed the Knicks (No. 20) at the other end, but only by 1.4 points allowed per 100 possessions. Everything depends on who dresses for Milwaukee; wait for the shoot-around, and bet accordingly once the NBA lines come out at the top sportsbooks.

NBA Pick: Knicks +5 (-110) at FanDuel