NBA Win Total Odds & Pick: Will the Milwaukee Bucks Sustain Motivation?
Joy Unaegbu/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Milwaukee Bucks Win Total Odds
The Case for the Over
- The Bucks are Monsters
- Mike Budenholzer’s Formula
The Bucks aren’t the defending champs, but they feel like it.
The Bucks won the title and had a short offseason, both Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton played in the Olympics, started the season, looked awesome, and then everyone got hurt. Brook Lopez was out until March with a back injury, and Middleton and Holiday both missed time.
After a rough January, they got serious and finished the season 20-10 intentionally (or not, I’m not convinced they cared), sliding the last game of the season. They are just a machine when they’re engaged.
If the Bucks wanted it, they could get the No. 1 seed. If that was their priority and they pushed for it, they would get it by a margin. We have enough evidence of that.
They can still go over this without pushing for it. My keys to a great regular season record:
- Beat the bad teams (sub-.500)
- Beat your division opponents
- Win at home
Budenholzer’s Bucks teams have won 75% of their home games, 86% of their division games (!), and 81% of their games vs. teams under .500.
They just absolutely smash in those key categories. For what it’s worth, this is exactly what Budenholzer’s former employer, the San Antonio Spurs, did in basically being an automatic over every season.
The season is back to a normal schedule after a normal offseason.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the most valuable players to any win total, and he’s been, so far, largely indestructible (knock on wood). You don’t need your best players every night if you’re deep enough, but it helps, and the Bucks have theirs almost every night.
The supporting cast is great and has continuity. There’s very little new to this roster. Joe Ingles should help off the bench when he returns at midseasons, and MarJon Beauchamp might be a surprisingly helpful rookie.
But their top-nine of Antetokounmpo, Holiday, Middleton, Lopez, Bobby Portis, Grayson Allen, George Hill, Pat Connaughton, and Wes Matthews will get them through most games.
When things are not abnormal due to a pandemic, this team cruises over. Don’t overthink it.
The Case for the Under
- High Bar to Clear
- The Market Caught Up
- Injuries Already Concerning
OK, here’s the problem with everything I wrote above: the books already know it!
The market has gone up and up for this team over the past four years. The Bucks have actually gone under the past two years.
We’ve learned through our win totals research that 50 wins is a key number. Teams with a win total above 50 are 31-16-1 to the under overall at 64.5% over the last 10 seasons.
Milwaukee can have a great regular season with an average number of injuries and cruise for just a little in preparation of the playoffs, finish with 51 wins and clear the 53.5 by two wins. This isn’t all that different from the Celtics’ situation, which most people are going to fade.
Sure, if the Bucks elected to push for the No. 1 seed, they could get it. But will they? They know what that cost would be on them, and they know what it takes to play basketball all the way through June.
Plus, the team is already starting off banged up. Antetokounmpo had back issues in EuroBasket play; that was in early September, just over a month before the season.
Middleton had wrist surgery after his MCL sprain in the playoffs and won’t be back for the start of the regular season. It was on his non-shooting hand, but for a pure shooter, disruption of the physical mechanics matters.
Lopez turns 35 this season, coming off back surgery. No one would be surprised if he had to miss significant time. Their backup center is Serge Ibaka, who was mostly unplayable last season and in the playoffs.
This roster is not without reservations for a team with a win total above 50.
Bucks Win Total Bet
Why bother with it? This is a team that has nothing to prove and everything to gain by resting but could still do that and go over.
The Bucks are a solid title bet, and if you want to bet the under on their conference seeding at 3.5 (-120) that feels like a better bet.
The essential ingredients to a win total with the Bucks:
- Coaching ✅
- Defense ✅
- Star Player ✅
- Motivation ❌
There just isn’t enough value on the board here.