Tuesday NBA Betting Odds, Preview, Prediction for Bucks vs. Bulls: Back Milwaukee to Dismiss Division Rival
Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks.
- The Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls meet in a critical late season matchup for the Eastern Conference standings.
- The Bucks are in a tight race with three teams in the No. 2 through No. 5 spot ahead of the postseason.
- Jacob McKenna explains why he expects the Bucks to cover against their rivals.
Bucks vs. Bulls Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Bucks sit third in the East with an overall record of 48-30, but is tied with the Philadelphia 76ers and need to keep winning down the stretch in order to protect their position. Meanwhile, the Bulls are fifth in the East and 3.5 games back of the No. 4 seed.
The East has been tight at the top all season, and that remains the case for this matchup. Will Milwaukee be able to snag a win on the road and separate themselves, or will we see the Bulls defend their home court and start a late season push?
Which Version of Milwaukee Shows Up?
The Bucks enter this matchup with a lot on the line when it comes to playoff seeding, and after some of their recent performances the margin for error has become very slim.
Since winning four of their last five games in the month of March, which included a 126-98 win over the Bulls, the Bucks have lost to the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers. They managed to play Dallas tight, but got decimated by 34 points in their matchup against L.A.
That two game stretch shined a light on their defensive struggles. The Bucks have a 111.1 Defensive Rating this season, 14th in the NBA, but that rating has risen to an astonishing 138.3 in their last two games.
As one might be able to imagine, Milwaukee did not provide much resistance in either one of those games, allowing the Mavericks and Clippers to shoot a combined 56.5% from the floor overall and 48.1% from behind the arc.
The optimistic view of their performance against the Clippers is that it was an outlier with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, and Jrue Holiday all riding the bench with various injuries. Those guys all played in their most recent matchup against Dallas, a 118-112 loss, and all are once again expected to suit up for this one.
Bulls Losing Steam Down the Stretch
After getting off to a hot start to begin the season, it looked like the Bulls had a chance to take over the East.
The new additions of DeMar Derozan, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, plus a full season from last season’s deadline acquisition, Nikola Vucevic, appeared to finally get this team over the hump after a few seasons of mediocrity. However, Chicago has fallen back to Earth since finding early season success, and it has come at a bad time.
The Bulls are 6-9 overall in their last 15 games, a stretch of games that has caused them to fall from second in the East to fifth. In that time, their offense has completely collapsed. They rank 28th in Offensive Rating (110.3), are shooting 46.5% from the field and 33.2% from behind the arc.
The defense has slowly become a problem, too, getting carved up over that same 15 game stretch in which the Bulls have allowed their opponents to shoot 49% from the floor and 36% from deep, both of which are higher than their season averages.
Even with Derozan playing like an MVP candidate, averaging 27.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game in his last 15, the Bulls haven’t gotten much support from elsewhere and need to tighten things up in order to compete with the Bucks.
Neither team has necessarily played their best basketball as of late, but the Bucks have seemed to have Chicago’s number all season.
Milwaukee is 3-0 straight up against the Bulls this season and 2-1 against the spread. They have been quite dominant in those three games, winning by an average of 12.7 points per game. They have also posted an Offensive Rating of 113.4 while shooting 49% from the floor overall and a Defensive Rating of 101.0, showing they have been more than solid on both ends of the floor against this Bulls team.
It appears that Milwaukee is back to full-strength, and with that being the case I like them to win and cover on the road.
Pick: Bucks -4.5 (-110)