Hornets vs. Bucks Odds, Preview, Prediction: Milwaukee Defense in Get-Right Spot

Hornets vs. Bucks Odds, Preview, Prediction: Milwaukee Defense in Get-Right Spot article feature image

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo

  • The Milwaukee Bucks will host the Charlotte Hornets in a Monday night showdown.
  • The Hornets have had the Bucks' number this year, but this is a spot for Milwaukee’s defense to rediscover its form.
  • Find our analyst’s break down of this matchup, plus his pick and prediction, below.

Hornets vs. Bucks Odds

Hornets Odds+10.5
Bucks Odds-10.5
Time8 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Charlotte Hornets suffered a devastating 127-126 loss on Sunday night  as 10-point favorites after a Kelly Olynyk scored on a buzzer beater with just 2.1 seconds remaining in overtime.

Unfortunately for the Hornets, things don't get any easier as they travel to take on the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks who come off a 126-123 home loss to the BrooklynNets on Saturday night. With both teams looking to bounce back from losses as heavy favorites, oddsmakers have installed the Bucks as 10-point home favorites with a total of 241.5.

So where's the betting value for tonight's Eastern Conference showdown?

Hornets in a Tailspin

The Charlotte Hornets are ninth in the Eastern Conference playoff race and appear to headed for a spot in the play-in game, but this team is in a total tailspin. They're just 2-10 in the last 12 games with a Net Rating of -2.8 behind a poor Offensive Rating of 106 and a Defensive Rating of 108.

For much of this season, this has been a team that could score efficiently while struggling to defend, but that hasn't been the case recently. While they rank 12th in Offensive Rating for the season (112.5), their offense has completely fallen off a cliff recently as they're just 21st in Offensive Rating, scoring 109.9 points per 100 possessions over the past two weeks.

LaMelo Ball is still the team's biggest star, and the Hornets will need him to return to form after subpar performances the last three games with him averaging just 14.7 points on 29.1% shooting. Miles Bridges is the team's leading scorer and he comes off a game against the Pistons where he scored 29 points on 9-of-14 shooting against the Pistons.

Despite the solid performance, they couldn't close out the Pistons. who were playing on a back-to-back, despite holding a five point lead in overtime.

Although the market doesn’t fully price this in, the Hornets' offensive woes can be attributed to the loss of Gordon Hayward who is one of the team’s best playmakers in addition to what he brings as a scoring threat. Hayward's 16.1 points, 3.6 assists per game and on/off +/- of +1.7 doesn’t do justice to the true impact he has on this team as they're just 4-10 without him this season with an Offensive Rating of just 111.9.

With the offense sputtering and this team unable to get stops, they're in a tough spot playing on a back-to-back against a rested Bucks team. The Hornets are 25th in opponent frequency of field goals at the rim while allowing the the fourth highest percentage of three point field goals. Against a team with Giannis Antetokounmpo, who can dominate the paint, the Hornets could be in for a long night.

Bucks Defense Needs a Get-Right Spot

The Milwaukee Bucks are fifth in the Eastern Conference, appearing to coast through the regular season after winning the NBA title last season. This team has dealt with injuries the entire season with Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, Antetokounmpo, Bobby Portis, George Hill and Brook Lopez all missing time. Most recently, the Bucks lost Pat Connaughton (hand) for the next four weeks. The loss of Connaughton is huge for a team which recently traded Donte DiVincenzo for Serge Ibaka to cover for the loss of Lopez.

Still, these are the defending champs and one of the best teams in the league. Antetokounmpo is in the midst of another MVP-caliber season as he's averaging 29.4 points on 54% shooting along with 11.3 rebounds and 6 assists and should have his way with a Hornets team which struggles to protect the rim but also is one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the league. I'm expecting Antetokounmpo and Portis to dominate the paint and clean up on the offensive glass for put backs and tip-ins.

The Bucks should also find an edge on the perimeter with Holiday and Middleton as they're seventh in three point shooting percentage facing a Hornets team which allows the fourth-highest percentage of three point attempts (39.5%) while ranking 19th in opponent three point shooting percentage (36.0%).

While the Bucks have been scoring efficiently recently, they've been struggling to defend. Over the past two weeks they're just 27th in Defensive Rating, allowing 119.4 points per 100 possessions. However with the way the Hornets have struggled offensively, this feels like a spot for this defense to return to form.

The Hornets generate much of their offense in transition and the Bucks are first in transition defense. With the Bucks rested and facing a Hornets team who played an overtime game last night, this should be the prime bounce back spot.

Hornets-Bucks Pick

The Hornets have had the Bucks number this year, winning two of their three matchups this year while going 3-0 ATS. However, both of these teams appear to be different places than they were in those games. Holiday played in just one of those games while the Hornets had Hayward for all three.

Despite the struggles of the Hornets recently, I can't get to -10 as my model prices this as a closer game. But not enough to create value on Charlotte.

I think the edge lies in the total, where you have a struggling Hornets offense against a Bucks team which has been underperforming on defense recently. Although both the Hornets and Bucks are in the top 10 in pace, I think the Bucks can slow down this Hornets offense enough to keep this game from turning into a track meet.

The Bucks are 27th in Defensive Length of Possession and first in transition defense, allowing just 1.5 points added per 100 possessions. With totals it takes takes two to tango and I don't see the Hornets doing their part here. My model makes this total 240 so there's a slight edge on the under.

Pick: Under 241.5

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Nick Sterling
Jul 14, 2024 UTC