New Year’s Day NBA Betting Odds & Picks for Bulls vs. Bucks: Bet On Milwaukee To Rout Chicago (Friday, Jan. 1)
Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Milwaukee is a huge favorite over Chicago on Friday night, with the Bulls on the second leg of a back-to-back on their schedule.
- The Bucks were the fastest team in the league last year, but the Bulls have been even faster in the early part of this season.
- See why we're tying Milwaukee and the total together below.
Bulls vs. Bucks Odds
|Bulls Odds||+14.5 [BET NOW]|
|Bucks Odds||-14.5 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||231 [BET NOW]|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
The Chicago Bulls look to start off the new year on the right foot as they face the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.
The Bulls will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back after playing two games a day apart in Washington. The Bucks played two consecutive games in Miami but have New Year’s Eve off.
With the Bucks rested and the Bulls coming traveling on the second night of a back-to-back, back the Bucks and the over in a fast-paced game.
The Bulls will be short-handed in Milwaukee due to the league’s health and safety protocol as Lauri Markkanen, Ryan Arcidiacono and Tomas Satoransky will all miss this game.
Markkanen is the biggest loss for the Bulls as he is second on the team in points per game (17.3) and leads the team in Player Efficiency Rating (19.24) among players who play more than 15 minutes per game.
The young Bulls are taking their lumps in their first few games under new coach Billy Donovan. They lost their first three games but bounced back to beat the Wizards on Tuesday.
Coby White has taken over as the starting point guard after coming off the bench last season. While he is an excellent scorer, Chicago will need him to limit turnovers and help generate quality looks for his teammates if the Bulls hope to cover or pull the upset.
The Bulls rank 25th in Offensive Rating (103.4), 19th in Defensive Rating (111.2) and 25th in turnover percentage (17.1) in the young season. They have to turn it over less against the Bucks who have a stingy defense led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and an elite transition offense.
The Bulls cannot let the Bucks get easy buckets off turnovers or they might get run out of the gym like Milwaukee did to the Heat earlier this week.
The Bucks have lost two of their three games against playoff teams from last season (Celtics and Heat), but they made a statement in their win. After losing in five games to the Heat in the second round of the playoffs, the Bucks curb stomped them in Miami 144-97 while setting an NBA record with 29 made 3s.
The Bucks have the second-rated offense in the NBA (119.7) as they have a plethora of options on offense. All-Stars Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton lead the way with more than 22 points per game and Player Efficiency Ratings over 23.
This Bucks team has the potential to be better than last year because of the help on the wing with Jrue Holiday’s arrival and the improvement of Donte DiVincenzo. making this team an offensive juggernaut.
Holiday and DiVincenzo are averaging 16.4 and 14.0 points per game, respectively, but their efficient three point shooting (38.5% for Holiday and 61.5% for DiVincenzo) is what Antetokounmpo most needed so he has space to operate inside.
While the Bucks led the league in pace (105.51) last year, they have dropped to 11th in pace (103.60) so far this season. The Bulls have taken over as the fastest team in the league with a pace of 109.25. This game sets up for lots of points, and the Bucks should take advantage of Bulls turnovers and their advantage inside, especially with Markkanen out.
The Bulls will need superhuman efforts from Zach LaVine, White and Wendell Carter Jr., but it’s unlikely that happens, especially on the second night of a back-to-back while the Bucks are rested. The Bulls lost all four games against the Bucks last year by at least nine points each.
Expect the Bucks to win easily in a high scoring game. While I don’t love Milwaukee at -14.5, I’m going to tie an alternate spread and total together to get +183 at FanDuel — Bucks to win by 11 or more and over 231.5. I’ll also look for Bucks first half around -8, but as of Thursday night, there’s no line available.
Pick: Bucks to win by 11 or more and over 231.5, +183 (would bet down to +160)