Pistons vs. Bucks Odds & Picks: Milwaukee Can Cover Large Spread
Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Khris Middleton (center) of the Milwaukee Bucks.
- The Milwaukee Bucks have dominated the Detroit Pistons over the past few seasons.
- Milwaukee has defeated Detroit 11 times on the spin and 10 of those victories came by at least 10 points.
- Will this trend continue? Brandon Anderson previews Bucks-Pistons.
Pistons vs. Bucks Odds
|Pistons Odds||+13.5 [BET NOW]|
|Bucks Odds||-13.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+800 / -1430 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||TBA [BET NOW]|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Milwaukee and Detroit are about five hours apart, making the Bucks and Pistons geographic rivals along with division rivals, but nothing about this matchup has resembled a rivalry of late.
The Bucks and Pistons have met 11 times in the regular season and playoffs dating back to 2018. The Bucks are 11-0 in those meetings with an average winning margin of 19.3 points. All but one of those 11 wins were by double-digits, and the smallest margin of victory for the Bucks over Pistons in their postseason series was 16 points.
Again, this has not been a rivalry of late. Is there any reason to think that will change on Monday? Let’s break down tonight’s matchup and find out.
The Pistons are 1-5, though they were a late Jayson Tatum bucket away from a chance at sweeping a doubleheader against the struggling Celtics. The Pistons started the season 0-4, with all four losses coming between eight and 11 points each.
The Pistons remade their team in the offseason. With Andre Drummond gone, Detroit went out and signed Mason Plumlee to start at center, then added his former Denver teammate, Jerami Grant, who has had a nice start to the season as the starting small forward. Blake Griffin is back relatively healthy as the nominal star, but Griffin has already missed two games with a concussion and looks quite old and washed at times.
The Pistons also ended up with three first-round draft picks. They used their first pick on French point guard Killian Hayes, who yet to find his legs in his rookie debut. Hayes is starting, but struggling to produce or do much of anything and looks like a long-term project.
Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart were the other first-round picks and are already in the rotation, while veterans Delon Wright and Josh Jackson are also playing big minutes. It’s an entirely new roster, and so far, it hasn’t been particularly good.
The Pistons have been around league average on offense, which makes sense with players like Wright and Grant adding some defensive heft there. Detroit has struggled to score the ball. Grant leads the team in scoring, but Griffin and Derrick Rose are the only other two reliable scorers.
And that could be an even bigger problem in this one, since it’s the second night of a back-to-back and both Griffin and Rose just played Sunday afternoon. Both players sat out half of Detroit’s previous back-to-back, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them miss this game. That would mean an even younger and more inexperienced lineup against the Eastern favorites.
But are these Bucks still the Eastern favorites? Milwaukee is just 3-3 after blowing its opener, getting dominated by the Knicks, and losing to the Heat without Jimmy Butler a couple days after beating them by about 800. On the surface, it sure looks like the Bucks have taken a step back this season.
But win-loss records can lie, and this looks like one of those situations. Heading into Sunday’s games, the Bucks had the best offensive rating in basketball, with the defense not too far behind. Basketball Reference’s Simple Rating System rates the Bucks as the league’s best team.
Those numbers can lie too, of course. The Bucks are hitting 43.9% of their 3s thus far, and that will never keep up all season, especially since one of Milwaukee’s six-game sample set the all-time NBA record for 3s in a game. Donte DiVincenzo is shooting 63% right now.
Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez, Bobby Portis, Pat Connaughton and Bryn Forbes are all at 40% or better on the campaign. That’s basically every Buck except Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Milwaukee won’t hit every shot forever, so regression is coming, but the Bucks’ shot profile has improved significantly this season. The Bucks are all mashing opponents on the glass each game, and that should be a big advantage against Detroit.
The Bucks’ three wins so far this season have come by 39, 47, and 30 points. When this team gets on a roll, they really roll. And though the offense can’t possibly sustain this level of production, the defense is still rounding into form with its new pieces and should continue to improve.
If Killian Hayes thought the transition to NBA life was tough before, wait til he gets a load of Jrue Holiday on defense, and Jerami Grant’s charmed start might not be so enjoyable with Giannis across from him.
There are plenty of legit questions about the Bucks against the league’s best teams. But the Pistons are decidedly not one of the league’s best teams.
Unless Antetokounmpo sits for some reason, Milwaukee should have no trouble taking care of the Pistons. Remember, the Bucks are 11-0 against this team over the past two years. They’ve also covered this sizable spread in eight of those wins and pushed in another one. Only one game has been even remotely competitive.
If Griffin and/or Rose sit, this line could end up rising even more. Normally with a high line like this, I might look to play a first half and avoid the nuisance of a back-door cover, or maybe parlay the moneyline to boost odds elsewhere. But these Bucks have proven repeatedly that they blow out bad teams, and the Pistons look bad.
Don’t be thrown off by the 3-3 Bucks start. Milwaukee is still really good and knows how to get through easy ones like this. Don’t be afraid to grab the -14 before the line rises even further with Griffin or Rose news. I’ll play up to -16 unless Giannis takes the night off to rest.
Pick: Bucks -13.5