Bucks-Nuggets Betting Guide: What History Tells Us About Teams on Denver Back-To-Backs
Photo credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Paul Millsap and Giannis Antetokounmpo
Betting odds: Milwaukee Bucks at Denver Nuggets
- Spread: Nuggets -3.5
- Over/Under: 222.5
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
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The 9-3 Milwaukee Bucks, who are coming off a tough road overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night, travel to Denver to face a rested Nuggets squad on Sunday.
Has the market adjusted to the back-to-back? Our analysts dig in.
Betting Trends to Know
Since 2005, teams playing a back-to-back on the road in Denver have gone 79-99-5 (44%) against the spread. Elevation and thin air likely gives the Nuggets an edge in these situations. — John Ewing
As John noted, the Nuggets seem to have a large advantage at the Pepsi Center against teams on a back-to-back over the past decade. Bettors have lost 23.1 units in that spot since 2005, which makes it the second-least profitable arena in NBA on a back-to-back behind Oracle Arena (-31.4 units).
Quality teams (over .500) playing on a back-to-back in Denver struggle even more in the first half. Since 2005, those teams are 33-51-2 (39.3%) against the first-half spread and have lost bettors 19.6 units, making the Pepsi Center the least profitable arena in this spot in the NBA.
Since 2005, teams that play the Clippers or Lakers at the Staples Center and have a back-to-back the next day are 106-147-6 ATS (41.9%), losing bettors 45.3 units for a -17.5% return on investment. The Clippers (-20.5 units) and Lakers (-24.7 units) are the two least-profitable teams to face on the front end of a back-to-back.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has faced the Nuggets in Denver five times. He’s averaging 15.4 points per game in more than 30 minutes per game in those contests, shooting 57.7% from the field.
The Bucks are 0-5 straight-up in those games, but 3-2 ATS. Giannis is shooting 57.6% in the first half of those games, too. — Evan Abrams
Mears: Which Team Will Be Better Long-Term?
These teams both sit an impressive 9-3 and rank in the top 10 in offensive and defensive efficiency. It’s easy to think they’re even, but I think Milwaukee has a decent case as the better team moving forward.
The Bucks rank second in the league with a massive +12.5 point differential (per Cleaning the Glass), and are currently second on offense and fifth on defense. Their point differential is currently four points higher than Denver’s.
In the half court, Milwaukee’s 101.6 Offensive Rating (second in the league) is much higher than Denver’s 92.2 mark (15th). The Nuggets have largely survived by dominating the offensive glass, grabbing 33.7% of their misses. Further, Denver is a little below-average getting out in transition and doesn’t push off live rebounds very often.
The Nuggets’ path to an efficient offense is rebounding, and while that could continue, I believe in the Bucks’ offensive profile more to sustain.
The Nuggets rank 23rd in 3-point rate while the Bucks rank second. Denver has hit 31.4% of its 3-pointers so far, which ranks 29th. The Nuggets are good at getting to the rim (fourth), but so are the Bucks (sixth).
On defense, they have different schemes, but each have worked so far. But I like Milwaukee’s a bit more, to be honest. The Bucks have allowed the fewest shots at the rim and the second-most long mid-rangers. They are largely optimized on both ends of the court in a way that the Nuggets just aren’t.
All of this isn’t to say that Denver hasn’t played incredibly well so far. I just trust the Bucks a little more given their optimization, while I just don’t know whether the Nuggets can continue to defend at their current rate and rely on offensive boards to get buckets.
The question, of course, is whether these data points matter on Sunday on a tough back-to-back or not. I’m higher on the Bucks long-term, but I’m staying way from the line given the trends above. — Bryan Mears
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.