76ers vs. Bucks Odds & Picks: Our Experts’ Betting Predictions
Photo credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo and Tobias Harris
- Updated betting odds for 76ers vs. Bucks are Milwaukee -9 with an over/under of 227.5 (8:30 p.m. ET).
- Our experts break down how they're handicapping this game and how to find the best value on this spread.
- Find their full analysis and preview of Saturday night's 76ers-Bucks matchup outlined below.
76ers at Bucks Odds & Picks
- Spread: Bucks -8.5
- Over/Under: 227
- Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ABC
The Philadelphia 76ers have struggled on the road all year, but they’ve also risen to the occasion against the league’s best. Will they hold their own tonight in Milwaukee against the juggernaut Bucks?
Our experts break down everything you need to know below.
Every week this NBA season, Wob is choosing a specific NBA battle to bet on. This week’s bet is whether Giannis Antetokounmpo will have more points than Ben Simmons will have points plus assists.
You all chose to take the Simmons side of the prop, and PointsBet has boosted the odds up even more on the Simmons side to +360!
this week’s @PointsBetUSA battle for Bucks vs. 76ers: Giannis PTS (-400) vs. Simmons PTS + AST (+300)
here is what u guys decided i should take in the moment. Simmons it is.
payout odds will be boosted asap.
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) February 22, 2020
Betting Trend to Know
Philly is an NBA-best 26-2 at home this season but 9-19 on the road. The Sixers have been the least profitable road team in 2019-20, going 8-19-1 ATS. A $100 bettor would be down $1,137.
As underdogs of three or more points this season, the Sixers are 2-5 ATS. This is only the third time Joel Embiid and Co. have been dogs of six or more points this season. The team went 0-2 ATS in the previous two games. — John Ewing
Mears: How I’m Handicapping Tonight’s Game
This game comes down to the Sixers and whether they can show up on the road. We know what the Bucks are at this point — really darn good. But Philly still has a ton of questions.
Let’s start with the home/road splits, which remain incredibly extreme…
- Sixers at home: +11.6 Net Rating (2nd), 113.4 ORtg (12th), 101.8 DRtg (1st)
- Sixers on road: -5.1 Net Rating (23rd), 105.7 ORtg (25th), 110.8 DRtg (9th)
Good thing you get to play half your games at home, or else the Sixers wouldn’t even be a playoff team, let alone a title contender. They have been absolutely atrocious on the road, so it’s not entirely surprising to see them as big 8.5-point underdogs in this spot.
That said, they also have weird splits based on opponent…
- Sixers vs. teams over .700: 8-3-1 ATS
- Sixers vs. teams at .700 or lower: 15-26-2 ATS
For whatever reason, the team just gets up for games against the league’s best teams, covering at a very high rate. Although, if we look deeper at that sample, they’re 6-0 at home vs. the best teams compared to just 2-3-1 on the road. It seems that the road splits is the stronger angle for this team.
These teams just played in Milwaukee, so we actually have a pretty good idea of where the market should be. That game closed at Bucks -9, and Milwaukee won by 11, covering at home. The total closed at 228, and the game finished with just 213 points. The total tonight predictably is lower at 226.5/227.
The only difference between today’s game and the other week is the addition of Josh Richardson, who was out with an injury for the Sixers. The metrics suggest he’s probably not worth much to the spread — and it didn’t really move much from last game — but he does give the Sixers more upside with his shooting, which this roster badly needs.
And that’s really the issue for the Sixers, especially in this matchup. The Bucks play an extreme defensive scheme, completely dropping their bigs within pick-and-rolls. It works to completely wall off the paint, and as a result they’ve consistently allowed the fewest shots at the rim in the league but the most 3-pointers.
The 76ers actually don’t take that many shots at the rim, which is a little surprising considering they have Joel Embiid down low and a guard in Ben Simmons who can’t shoot from outside. They don’t really take any 3-pointers though, and they obviously aren’t that great hitting from that range.
The Bucks’ scheme did force them into 3s at a high rate in the game the other week — and Philly actually hit them. That’s not a good sign for tonight’s game, to be honest, as that will likely regress — and they still lost and failed to cover.
I think this line is probably about right and thus don’t have a bet on it so far, but I would probably lean towards the Bucks and the under here. Their defense is just so perfectly geared toward stopping what the Sixers do well.
Moore: Value on the Sixers?
Alright, I’m going to do this. And I hate myself for it. But I’m going to.
The value is on the Sixers here.
Look, in the first two meetings, the home-road splits definitely showed up. But here’s the bigger thing. Giannis Antetokounmpo shot below 50% with Joel Embiid on the floor in both matchups. When I went digging into the difference in the two previous matchups — one won convincingly by each team — it was startling how little difference there was in so many key areas.
The Bucks won points in the paint in both matchups. The free throw rates, 3-point rates, shooting, fastbreak points, points off turnover differentials … everything was stable. Except in the first game, the Bucks shot horribly and the Sixers shot well; in the second game, it flipped.
Giannis had a monster line in the second game, but with Embiid on the floor, he scored 17 points on 13 shots, shooting 46% from the field. Good. Not great. Khris Middleton? Nine points on 10 shots with Embiid on the floor. The Sixers still lost those minutes in the second game by 10, because Philly couldn’t hit water if it fell out of a boat.
And look, the Sixers are 25th in effective field goal percentage on the road. They genuinely suck on the road.
But consider this:
Following up on this, why might the Sixers have played so much better at home this season?
At home, they’re making 38% of 3s (7th in the NBA), on the road 34% (26th).
At home, opponents are making 33% of their 3s (5th), on the road 37% (24th).
— Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) February 10, 2020
There is a home (36%)/road (35%) split on 3s, but it’s small. Philadelphia has outshot opponents by 5% on 3s at home and been outshot by 3% on 3s on the road. The 76ers very likely aren’t as good as their home performance or as bad as their road performance.
— Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) February 10, 2020
Taking the Sixers means betting against the trends. But those trends are likely unsustainable. This is an nine-point line for a team projected to be a top-two team in the East. I don’t know how to go anywhere but Philly, given all the factors.
ANALYSIS B: If you bet at a book that offers alternate point spreads, there’s value on taking largest lead or an alternate spread at the end. The Bucks have the most double-digits wins this season at an incomprehensible 31, and the Sixers are fifth in that category with 15.
Taking the +9 with the Sixers is the best accounting for a side I can find, but the reason is that this is likely closer to a coin flip in winner than the nine-point spread suggests. But whoever wins is likely to win by double digits because it means that the things that determine the coin flip all tipped one way.
Do I think there’s value on the Sixers +9? Yes. Do I feel great about it? No. And I think there might be better value taking largest lead or an alternate spread, given how these two teams tend to bend teams one way or the other.
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.