Nuggets-Bucks Betting Guide: Historical Trends Favor the Over
Photo credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Eric Bledsoe and Jamal Murray
Betting odds: Denver Nuggets at Milwaukee Bucks
- Spread: Bucks -5.5
- Over/Under: 228.5
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
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Monday night, the 10-6 Denver Nuggets will visit the 11-4 Milwaukee Bucks, who are 6-2 against-the-spread at home this year. Can the Bucks keep covering at home or will the Nuggets pull off the upset? Is there value on the over/under? Our analysts discuss these questions and more.
Moore: What I’m Watching For Tonight
The Nuggets are having an identity crisis right now. When their defense is strong, their offense is a slog. When they open up their offense, their defense goes to pieces.
Michael Malone loosens his grip on playcalls and all of a sudden the offense blooms … and the defense gets worse. Malone tightens his grip on playcalls to keep the offense regimented and reduce turnovers and they can’t score. For a 10-6 team, there are real issues under the hood.
Still, they played Milwaukee close in Denver and pretty much lost because Brook Lopez became “Splash Mountain” (as Bucks fans have christened him), hitting an absurd number of 3s. Lopez can definitely hit those shots — it wasn’t an outlier by much — but it was enough to tilt things a little and Denver’s turnover issues late exacerbated it.
That said, this is a tough matchup for Denver, as it is for most teams in the league. The Bucks shoot an absurd number of 3-pointers (second-most in the league per 100 possessions), and while Denver gives up a moderate amount (16th per 10 possessions), they allow the 11th-highest percentage. The Bucks generate those looks no matter what you do.
Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo tend to go wild in these matchups vs. one another, putting up absurd stat lines. But the addition of Brook Lopez and a more wide-open style makes this matchup even harder on Denver. — Matt Moore
Mears: Are the Bucks Real?
On the year, the Bucks rank first in both halfcourt and transition offensive efficiency. How have they done it?
The roster isn’t that different from previous years, so it’s easy to give a lot of credit to the new coaching staff and its revamped offensive scheme. And I think the data really bears that out.
This season, the Bucks rank sixth in percentage of shots at the rim and second in 3-point rate. They’ve taken the second-fewest total mid-rangers, and most importantly the second-fewest long 2s. For reference, 21.7% of the Warriors’ shots have been long mid-rangers; the Bucks are at just 6.3%. They’re eschewing bad shots for optimal ones, and it’s working in a big way.
The biggest remaining question for the Bucks is how sustainable their defense is. They intentionally sell out to protect the rim and thus allow a ton of 3s. They allow the fewest shots at the rim but the second-most shots behind the arc. That may not bite them tonight against the Nuggets, who rank bottom 10 in 3-point rate, but there will be nights the Bucks allow a ton of 3s.
Still, there’s room for optimism. The Bucks’ length, especially with guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, allows them to close hard and fast to the corner. Although they give up a ton of 3s, not many of those are corner-3s. In fact, Milwaukee ranks eighth in corner 3s given up. Opponents are shooting a league-high 47.1% on those, but that number will regress over the course of the season.
All in all, the Bucks don’t have any glaring points on their résumé that suggest that this hot start is unsustainable. They are in the upper echelon of the league right now, and it’s likely that will continue.
Betting-wise, I think the trends listed below on the over/under are compelling, combined with the analysis I just gave on these offenses and defenses. In my opinion, the sharp play is on the over here. — Bryan Mears
Betting Trends to Know
Milwaukee has won seven of eight home games this season, going 6-1-1 ATS and covering on average by 8.9 points per game. This is a surprising turnaround for bettors, as the Bucks were 12-26-3 ATS at home last season. — John Ewing
The Milwaukee Bucks are second in offensive efficiency and first in points per game; they currently sit second in the Eastern Conference. In Milwaukee’s 15 games this season, the over is 12-3, including going over in the last five games entering this home game against the Nuggets.
Since Mike Malone became coach of the Nuggets in 2015, he has been a part of 21 games in which the home team entered the contest going over the total in at least five consecutive games. In those 21 games, the over is 15-4-2 (78.9%), going over the total by 9.8 PPG. Over bettors have profited 10.4 units with Malone in this spot, the most profitable coach in the NBA in that span. — Evan Abrams
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.