Lakers vs. Bucks Betting Odds: How the Pros Are Betting the Spread, Over/Under

Lakers vs. Bucks Betting Odds: How the Pros Are Betting the Spread, Over/Under article feature image

Photo credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: LeBron James

Lakers at Bucks

  • Spread: Bucks -4.5
  • Over/under: 226
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: TNT

Giannis. LeBron. AD.

It’s the matchup basketball fans have had circled all season and a potential NBA Finals preview. These teams come into the game both off losses and with identical 24-4 records. There’s a lot at stake.

Below, I’ll walk through injury news to note about this matchup, along with how sharps are betting the spread and total. I’ll update this post throughout the day as lines move as well.

Odds as of Thursday at 6:45 p.m. ET and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.


5:20 p.m. ET: We just tracked a steam move on the Bucks at -4. Although this spread hasn’t budged very much, that doesn’t mean sharps aren’t getting down action on this game. We’ve now tracked five total steam moves on this game — two on the Bucks and three on the Lakers, all within a half-point.

4:30 p.m. ET: Sharp bettors finally got in on the over/under action, steaming the over at 225. It’s been pushed up to 225.5 as a result. Also, we tracked a steam move about 15 minutes ago on the Lakers at +4. There have now been three steam moves on the Lakers (two at +4.5, one at +4) after an initial one overnight on the Bucks at -4.

Injury News & Analysis

  • LA Lakers: Kyle Kuzma (ankle) is out. Anthony Davis (ankle) is questionable. Rajon Rondo (hamstring) is probable.
  • Milwaukee Bucks: Eric Bledsoe (fibula) remains out.

In the first game without Bledsoe on Tuesday, the Bucks not only failed to cover the double-digit spread at home vs. the Mavs but lost outright. Part of that, however, was fluky: The Bucks hit just five of their 23 “wide-open” 3-pointers (21.7%), whereas the Mavs posted a ridiculous 70.8% eFG% mark on all of their open shots.

With Bledsoe on the floor, the Bucks have been 4.4 points per 100 possessions better than with him off, although part of that has been due to the Bucks bench struggling this year. With Bledsoe off and Giannis on the floor, the Bucks have still posted a Net Rating of +7.4 in 698 possessions.

The same has largely been true with Davis for the Lakers, which is a little odd. Without him on the floor, the Lakers have posted a +7.3 Net Rating in 811 possessions. With him playing, they’ve been at +8.6. With LeBron James on and AD off, the Lakers have posted a +10.5 point differential.

Obviously, the Lakers are not better without Davis; those numbers are still a small sample, and they’re inflated by opponent, bench units, etc. Further, player value is not in a vacuum. It depends on a variety of factors, one of which is opponent, and you can make the argument pretty easily that Davis (or any good player) is worth more against the Bucks than he is against the Hawks.

For alerts and more information on the Davis injury, check out our new Labs NBA Insiders tool, which provides injury information on all players updated in real-time, probability for each to play, betting analysis and more.

Sharp Report & Line Movement

Below I’ll show how to use the Sports Insights tools to analyze line movement and why the movement has occurred. For reference, here are a few phrases I’ll use, if you aren’t familiar with them:

  • Steam move: Sudden, drastic and uniform line movement across the entire sports betting marketplace. Steam is the result of a sudden overload of money placed at multiple sportsbooks and, in most cases, occurs due to betting groups, betting syndicates and a few key players with the resources to “get down heavily” at multiple locations, all at once.
  • Reverse line movement: Betting line movement that contradicts the public betting percentages

The spread for tonight’s matchup opened at Bucks -4.5, and sharp bettors immediately jumped on the visiting Lakers. There was a steam move on Lakers +4.5 around 9 a.m. ET this morning (after a small early one on the Bucks overnight at -4), and then another shortly after on the same number:

Still, books have betting hesitant to move this line too much. Normally multiple steam moves on one side without any action on the other side would warrant a move more than a half-point, but the line moved down to just Bucks -4.

That’s also somewhat odd given the majority of bets and money are on the Lakers, who are getting 63% of the spread bets and 62% of the money wagered. At least for now, the Joes and Pros are on the same side.

Of course, the Anthony Davis injury looms large here, which is perhaps why books have been hesitant to adjust things too much.

My opinion: Books are slightly hedging here on the news with more weight toward Davis playing. If he’s ruled in, the line likely moves to Bucks -3, whereas if he’s ruled out it could get up to Bucks -6 or higher.

There’s been very little movement on the the Over/Under. The public is on the Over, as it’s getting 63% of the bets and 68% of the money. However, there have been no steam moves, and the line hasn’t budged at all since opening.

It’s unclear how the Over/Under would move in the event that Davis sits. On Tuesday against the Pacers, the line hovered around 210-211 for most of the day but then shot up to 213 (where it closed) after Davis was ruled out. AD is obviously impactful offensively but especially defensively this season. Against the Bucks, however, tonight bring a different story.

We’ll have to wait to see how the line moves depending on the Davis moves. I’ll update this post throughout the day.

Steam moves tracked: Bucks -4, Lakers +4.5, Lakers +4.5

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