Bucks vs. Pistons Game 3 Betting Preview: Will Blake Griffin Save This Series?

Bucks vs. Pistons Game 3 Betting Preview: Will Blake Griffin Save This Series? article feature image

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23) and guard Langston Galloway (9) and center Zaza Pachulia (27).

Game 3 Betting Odds: Milwaukee Bucks at Detroit Pistons

  • Spread: Bucks -9
  • Over/Under: 216
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: ESPN
  • Series Score: Bucks Lead 2-0

>> All odds as of 9 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

The Pistons have been overmatched in this series, getting blown off the floor by 20-plus points in the first two games by the Bucks. Can Detroit make Game 3 competitive? Our analysts discuss.

Betting Trends to Know

How important is Blake Griffin, not only to the Pistons generally but specifically against the Bucks? Massive.

Pistons with Blake Griffin Off Court vs. Bucks This Season

Regular Season: 85.9 Offensive Rating | -18.2 Net Rating | 42.3% eFG
Playoffs: 88.9 Offensive Rating | -27.2 Net Rating | 42.9% eFG — Evan Abrams

In the first two games of the series, the Bucks have dominated the Pistons in almost every facet of the game. One of the more impressive ways is with their passing, specifically their assists. The Bucks have 63 assists through two games, eclipsing the 30-assist mark in both Game 1 and Game 2.

Since 2005, the Bucks are just the seventh team to record 30 assists or more in Games 1 and 2 of a playoff series; the previous six teams went 5-1 straight-up and against-the-spread (ATS) in Game 3. Here are those six teams…

2018-19 Warriors (Game 3 vs. Clippers)
2017-18 Warriors (Game 3 vs. Spurs and Pelicans)
2016-17 Warriors (Game 3 vs. Jazz and Cavaliers)
2007-08 Lakers (Game 3 vs. Nuggets) — Abrams

Locky: My Thoughts on Saturday’s Game

Frankly, this is a series we’re all just waiting to end, but the betting markets for it are the same as every other series, so we don’t want to miss any value.

The unfortunate thing is this number is pretty dead-on for me. The Bucks have dominated almost every minute of this series so far, and when they didn’t dominate it was because Giannis Antetokounmpo was in foul trouble. I see no reason to adjust from the Bucks being a low double-digit favorite on a neutral court, and I’m a little hesitant to give the Pistons a big bump in home-court advantage when recently they haven’t performed that well at home.

Sure, their Net Rating improves marginally (about a -3 to a +3, per Cleaning the Glass), but it’s not enough to really sway me that a Griffin-less group can mount much of a challenge here.

For the Bucks, this is unfamiliar territory. This group of players hasn’t been a sizeable playoff favorite in previous seasons, and I do think part of learning to be a contender is learning how to manage these series in which the outcome is assured but you have to go on the road. They may get caught flat a little bit because of their inexperience, but that’s about the only chance Detroit has for this game to be competitive. Pass, and let’s hope this thing can wrap up before next week. — Ken Barkley

Mears: Wait on Griffin News Before You Bet

I’m going to wait until we get definitive news on Blake Griffin to bet this line. As mentioned above, he’s missed the first two games of the series, and the Pistons have gotten predictably blown out as a result. Griffin is obviously incredibly important to this team: They’ve been 4.2 points per 100 possessions worse offensively without him this year, per Cleaning the Glass.

That said, even if he plays — and I think there’s a good chance he will in this one — I’m skeptical it will help that much given his injury. He’s been dealing with a knee issue for several weeks now, and he looked hampered at the end of the year. In his last six games, he had one good game (against OKC) and terrible efficiency outings in the rest — even against poor competition.

And being hobbled against the Bucks just isn’t going to cut it. The Bucks dominated the Pistons during the regular season even when Blake was playing, winning all four matchups and posting a ridiculous +17.9 Net Rating. They held the Pistons to a lowly 100.3 Offensive Rating.

Further, the Bucks are playing an extreme defensive scheme that really drops their big in the pick-and-roll and relies on long athletes like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton to deal with help defense. They’ve let opposing bigs shoot away: They’re easily first in the league in 3-point attempts allowed to big men while bottom 10 in attempts to guards.

Their strategy has been clear all year: Let the poor shooters — usually big men — shoot, and protect the rim at all costs. That resulted in a huge role for Griffin in the season series, and he struggled — even when healthy! I’m not expecting some rebound here for the Pistons.

But I think the public might, which is why I’ll wait for the Blake news, hopefully watch the line move toward Detroit and then bet the Bucks. — Bryan Mears

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.

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