Bucks vs. Lakers NBA Odds & Picks: Milwaukee Should Cover Against Los Angeles Without LeBorn and Davis (March 31)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo.
- The Lakers host the Bucks on Wednesday night in a nationally televised game on ESPN.
- The Bucks are back to full strength with the recent return of Giannis Antetokounmpo, while the Lakers are still missing LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
- Austin Wang previews the matchup and makes his pick below.
Bucks vs. Lakers Odds
|Moneyline||-375 / +300|
|Time||Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Tuesday night and via BetMGM|
The Milwaukee Bucks visit Los Angeles to play the ailing Lakers in what should have been a marquee matchup between two title contenders. However, without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, this matchup loses it’s luster as the Lakers’ offense has struggled and will have a hard time keeping up with the run-and-gun Bucks.
These two teams will meet for the second time this season, with the Lakers winning the first game 113-106 in Milwaukee. The Bucks haven’t been great at covering as of late, going 1-6 against the spread in their last seven games and getting trounced by the Los Angeles Clippers in the previous game, 129-105.
However, this should be a great bounce-back spot with Giannis Antetokounmpo healthy in his second game back from a four-game hiatus with a knee injury. Also, I imagine the Bucks would like to exact revenge for the loss earlier this season. I am looking for the Bucks to dispose of the Lakers’ skeleton crew easily and cover the spread.
The Bucks are looking to stop the bleeding from a three-game losing streak. Jrue Holiday has been playing well as of late after missing 10 games in February due to league health and safety protocol. He has been strong on both sides of the floor, but his defense is what will really come in handy against Dennis Schroder, one of the Lakers’ better scorers. Holiday is ranked third in the league in steals per game (1.8) and his knack for picking pockets will give them plenty of fast-break opportunities against the turnover-prone Schroder.
While I am not incredibly bullish on the Bucks and their chances of winning a title, with Holiday playing well and Antetokounmpo back in the lineup, I believe the Bucks can get back to their winning ways.
Since the 2018-19 season, the Bucks are 61-36-3 (62.9%) ATS as large favorites (of seven or more points), per our Bet Labs tool. Don’t be afraid to bet on them to cover these large spreads, as they have shown proficiency and consistency in doing so. They also do not let their foot off the gas pedal with a lead, as their bench comes in and continues to bomb away three-pointers.
Since the 2017-18 season, road favorites (of five or more points) who lost their previous matchup in the same season have gone 52-33-1 (61.2%) ATS, per the Sports Data Query Language database. This is active on the Bucks. These teams typically take care of business and get revenge in these situational spots.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are on a two-game winning streak, but don’t let that fool you. Those two wins were against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic, two of the worst teams in the league.
In the six games starting with the game against the Atlanta Hawks on Mar. 20, the Lakers are ranked 29th in Offensive Rating (99.8), per NBA Advanced Stats. They are also ranked fifth in Defensive Rating (104.5), but I believe that is an illusion due to playing some offensively-challenged teams.
Wednesday will be the debut for newly-acquired Andre Drummond, who will give them a true interior defensive presence, something they’ve really lacked with Anthony Davis out of the lineup.
Even though I think the Drummond acquisition will pay dividends, I don’t usually get too excited in the debuts of new starters on a team. My theory is that the market prices their addition as an immediate benefit, but I believe it takes time for the player to gel and get acclimated with the roster, role and new teammates. Also, more minutes for Drummond will most likely mean fewer minutes for Montrezl Harrell, one of their key bench players and consistent scorers.
Home underdogs off a win and their opponent is off a loss have gone 185-304-11 (37.8%) since the 2012-2013 season, per the SDQL database. This is active on the Lakers, who are primed for a letdown spot against the hungry Bucks off a loss.
Finally, the Lakers are playing their last game at home before they embark on a seven-game road trip. Road trips this long have not happened frequently, but since the 2014-15 season, teams at home before they go on a seven-game road trip have gone 9-20 (31%) ATS, per the SDQL database. Teams in this spot may not be as mentally focused as they soak up their last moments at home before going on a long road trip.
I am picking the Bucks to cover this spread against the short-handed Lakers. The Bucks are healthier, more motivated off some recent losses and are in a great revenge spot against the Lakers.
The Lakers are struggling on offense and I think they have a let-down spot as they look forward to a long road trip. I make the spread on this game Bucks -10 and I think the Bucks run away with this one quickly in a blowout of the Lakers.
Pick: Bucks -8.5 (up to 9)