NBA Odds & Picks for 76ers vs. Bucks: Bet the Total With Multiple Injury Concerns (Thursday, April 22)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers.
76ers vs. Bucks Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Thursday and via PointsBet.|
The Milwaukee Bucks host the Philadelphia 76ers Thursday night in the second of three meetings between these teams this season. The 76ers are coming off of consecutive losses to the Golden State Warriors and the Phoenix Suns; they will play two straight games in Milwaukee on tonight and Saturday.
The Bucks are also looking to snap their own two-game losing streak after losing to the Memphis Grizzlies and Suns, but they’ve had two days of rest while the 76ers are playing the second night of a back-to-back.
The 76ers sit in first place in the Eastern Conference, and the Bucks will most likely need to sweep them in the next two games if they hope to move up to first or second place before the playoffs.
This is one of the more important regular-season games for each team, but there are a handful of uncertain player statuses to monitor before placing your bets.
The 76ers hope to get at least two of their three best players — Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris — back in the lineup and playing at a high level. Embiid (left knee injury recovery) said that he plans to play in this game (and I would take his word). Harris (knee), Seth Curry (left hip flexor recovery), and Simmons (illness) are all questionable to play Thursday per our NBA Insiders tool.
Embiid is one of the few players left in the MVP conversation as he has been nothing short of dominant this season, and the Bucks, like everyone else, won’t have an answer for him if he is at his best.
The 76ers will also need Harris’s ability to create his own shot in the halfcourt to win. Harris scored a game-high 19 points in the previous matchup with the Bucks while also gathering nine rebounds.
Harris has the ability to generate his own shot from all three levels as he is shooting above-average percentages at the rim (67%), in the midrange (50%), and from beyond the arc (42%) among forwards. His 119.3 points per 100 shot attempts rank in the 74th percentile among forwards, and his career-high 17.5% assist percentage ranks in the 87th percentile.
The 76ers would also love to have Simmons and Curry available. Simmons thrived as the 76ers’ main distributor in the previous loss to the Bucks as he dropped a game-high 12 dimes.
Curry’s shooting will also be important to provide spacing and scoring for the 76ers as their best shooters, but I trust Furkan Korkmaz enough to step up for him as Korkmaz has shot the ball well from beyond the arc at 43.9% on 6.9 attempts per game in 11 April games.
Giannis Antetokounmpo left Monday’s game against the Suns with a leg cramp, and he is listed as day-to-day. That means the Bucks will need Khris Middleton to continue his hot shooting if the reigning MVP is limited or missing.
While teams have shown that the best way to stop Antetokounmpo is to build a wall to prevent him from getting to the rim, Middleton can counter that when defenders help on Antetokounmpo as he is making 43% of his 3s this season (ranking in the 88th percentile among forwards).
Middleton is also more than capable of getting his own shot at any time as his 118.9 points per 100 shot attempts rank in the 72nd percentile among forwards (per Cleaning The Glass). He also distributes at a high level (his 23.3% assist percentage ranks in the 95th percentile among forwards).
Middleton is the key to this matchup as the 76ers will be able to slow Antetokounmpo with their elite defenders like Simmons, Harris, and Embiid (if healthy) by building a wall. Middleton’s shooting will determine whether the Bucks win and cover, and he shot 6-of-16 missing all four of his 3-point attempts in the first matchup as the Bucks failed to cover as six-point favorites.
Jrue Holiday’s two-way playmaking will also be important for the Bucks; shooters like him, Pat Connaughton, and Donte DiVincenzo’s 3-point accuracy will also be important for the Bucks to win and cover.
The 76ers would love to have Simmons and Curry available, but I will be comfortable betting the 76ers without them as long as Embiid and Harris are healthy and they remain underdogs by three points or more. I do not recommend betting on the 76ers until it is confirmed that Harris is playing.
If Harris is out and the Bucks are favored by seven or fewer points, I will bet on the Bucks (assuming Antetokounmpo is active). If you are really itching to bet on this game before these injury statuses unfold, I recommend betting under 226.5. This game should have a slower playoff-like feel to it, especially if some combination of Antetokounmpo and Simmons are out.
The scoring ceiling for the 76ers also will drop if any of their four uncertain players are out, and I believe there is value on the under regardless of if any combination of them plays or not.
Pick: Under 226.5 (bet down to 222)