Bucks vs Magic Prediction, Picks Tonight | Best Bet for Saturday

Bucks vs Magic Prediction, Picks Tonight | Best Bet for Saturday article feature image

Markelle Fultz #20 of the Orlando Magic looks to drive toward the basket on Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half of the game at Fiserv Forum. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

Bucks vs Magic Prediction, Picks for Saturday, Nov. 11

Here's everything you need to know about Bucks vs Magic on Saturday, Nov. 11 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.

It's early still… very early… so these games and props are difficult to read.

But this should be one of the more fun games on the weekend slate, so let's just hope that is the case because it's time to win some damn money.

Let's get to our Bucks vs Magic prediction and picks for Saturday.

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Bucks vs Magic Prediction

Saturday, Nov. 11
6 p.m. ET
NBA League Pass
Pick: Bucks to Win by 1-10 Points (+175), if Lillard is Healthy

We don't have much of a sample size, and I'm going to keep saying that for a little while longer since we're basically 10% through the 2023-24 season. But we do know this — the Milwaukee Bucks suck at perimeter defense.

Damian Lillard, in particular, is having a woeful defensive start to the season, and that means a potential over-friendly game here for the Magic fresh off scoring 119 points against the Hawks in Mexico City's altitude — over 2,000 feet steeper than Denver's. Lillard, of course, is on the injury report with a case of calf soreness. He's questionable to play after sitting the Bucks' 126-124 loss at Indiana on Thursday.

The Bucks are 5-3, so they aren't complete lemon booty, but they're clearly not where we expect them to be under first-year head coach Adrian Griffin. Following Thursday's games, the Bucks were 17th in net rating (-2.2), as they rank bottom sixth in points allowed and defensive rating, with an expected win-loss record of 3-5 per basketball-reference.

I don't put a ton of stock into all this yet, but I put more into it now than I did a week ago, because — well — we kinda have to. But to date, the Bucks don't look like world-beaters. Their five wins? Home against the 76ers, Heat, Knicks and Pistons, plus a road win over the Nets. The losses? Home against the Hawks, on the road against the Raptors, and in Indiana this week. The former two were by 17 and 19 points, respectively.

But hey, Giannis Antetokoumnpo is doing Giannis Antetokoumnpo things… right? Not entirely.

The Greek Freak a.k.a. Nigerian Nightmare a.k.a. Run and Dunk Man is averaging 28.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 blocks per game — all down (except blocks) significantly from last season. The soon-to-be 29-year-old currently owns his worst player efficiency rating (25.9), lowest win shares per 48 minutes (.120), worst box plus-minus (2.2), and offensive rating (112) since the 2015-16 season — the one before he won Most Improved Player. Currently, he has a worse defensive rating (116) and VORP (0.3) in longer.

Does it mean anything? After 2.5 weeks, I won't say it's everything, but worth paying attention to given that the Lillard experiment has yielded mixed results, the team is aging fast, and their depth is lacking.

Jae Crowder (!!), who couldn't see the floor when the Heat stomped them in April, is third on this team in minutes. Khris Middleton is averaging 11.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game and logging just 18.7 minutes per contest — additionally, he's already sat two games.

They're 5-3, so they're fine, but… are they?

The feisty Orlando Magic, a hipster Twitter X favorite, are 4-4 with an expected win-loss record of 5-3, according to basketball-reference, and a +2.6 net rating, with — so far — a very good defense. The Magic are top five in points allowed, defensive rating, second in turnovers forced, and have allowed the fewest rebounds per 100 possessions (39.4) following their narrow loss to the Hawks on Thursday night.

The Magic have a real rotation — and that's with injuries to Wendell Carter Jr. (out Saturday) and Gary Harris (questionable).

This team has won two and loss two through eight games. They opened with wins against the Rockets and in Portland, followed by losses to the Clippers and Lakers in Los Angeles, responded with wins over the Jazz in Utah and the Lakers at home, then their losses to the Mavericks and Hawks.

Young, talented teams will win games they shouldn't and lose ones they should, making them a live dog Saturday. Paolo Banchero is averaging 18.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists and looks like a future All-Star more often than he doesn't. Franz Wagner follows with 17.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.

Jalen Suggs has dug his NBA career out of no man's land and on top of averaging 11.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.3 steals, he looks like an early All-Defense candidate. Cole Anthony, with 14.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists on 45/37/77 shooting, could get Sixth Man of the Year looks if he continues producing at this rate.

Didn't even mention Markelle Fultz, Mo Wagner, sleeper All-Rookie contender Anthony Black, and a somewhat resurgent Goga Bitadze.

This is a real team who could shock anyone on any given night, and while they won't be experienced enough to win a playoff series — even if they make it — they have a shot to be this year's 2022-23 Oklahoma City Thunder, who won 40 games and earned a Play-In berth. The biggest difference is the Magic don't have a Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, though, some think Banchero's ceiling could sniff that level some day.

Bucks vs Magic Picks, Odds

Saturday, Nov. 11
6 p.m. ET
NBA League Pass
Bucks Odds
-110 / -110
Magic Odds
-110 / -110
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Here are a couple of bets I like for this game, plus a slight longshot.

  • Bucks to win by 1-10 points (+175 on FanDuel), if Lillard is healthy: I slightly lean to Milwaukee, even if I really want to pick Orlando to win this, assuming Lillard plays. If he's out, I'll probably wait to live bet coming out of halftime. There's a world where the Bucks just shoot terribly and can't get perimeter stops as the Magic raise havoc on both ends. Maybe they receive a star-like performance from Banchero, and enough from the Wagners, Suggs and Anthony to pull off the slight upset.
  • Jalen Suggs over 1.5 steals + blocks, -140 on DraftKings: He just had six steals against Atlanta, and has tallied at least two steals + blocks in five straight games. He's at 2.2 steals per game alone, and I'd even take a shot at Suggs to get over 1.5 steals at +130.
  • Longshot – Magic 1Q / Bucks to win (+410 on FanDuel): I wouldn't put a ton on this, but the Magic are +30 in first quarters this season, winning five and tying another. They're 3-0 in home first quarters this season (not including the Mexico game, in which they were tied with the Hawks after one) and in one instance — against the Mavericks — they later lost by 15. It's worth a small sprinkle, in my opinion, if you want to bet the Bucks to win.

Favorite side bet: Bucks to Win by 1-10 Points (+175 on FanDuel), if Damian Lillard Plays 

Favorite Prop: Jalen Suggs Over 1.5 Steals + Blocks (-140 on DraftKings) 

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Doug Ziefel
Jun 23, 2024 UTC