76ers vs. Bucks NBA Odds & Picks: Back Milwaukee to Sweep Season Series (April 24)
Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo.
- Milwaukee is 2-0 against Philadelphia, following its most recent 124-117 win on Thursday.
- The 76ers will be without Ben Simmons, which will create defensive issues trying to stop Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.
- Roberto Arguello explains why the Bucks will sweep the season series, below.
76ers vs. Bucks Odds
|Moneyline||+265 / -330|
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday and via FanDuel.|
The Bucks host the 76ers Saturday afternoon in the third and final meeting between these teams this season. The Bucks won the first matchup 109-105 in overtime on March 17th in Philadelphia as Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a game-high 32 points while Joel Embiid was out with a knee injury.
The Bucks also won the second matchup on Thursday, beating the 76ers in a game that wasn’t as close as the 124-117 final score would indicate. The Bucks are looking to finish off the season sweep of the 76ers on Saturday and move within 1.5 games of the 76ers for the second seed in the Eastern Conference.
If the 76ers win and cover as home favorites, it will be because Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris both play and do so at a high level. Embiid (shoulder) and Furkan Korkmaz (ankle) are both questionable while Ben Simmons is out on Saturday. Embiid and Harris will not only need to make shots, but they will need to put pressure on the rim, or else they will be too easy for the Bucks to guard without Simmons.
Among the five 76ers averaging more than two assists, Simmons is the only one averaging significantly more than average shot attempts at the rim among his position group as his 65% of shots at the rim rank in the 100th percentile among point guards.
Simmons (7.1 assists per game) averages more assists than the second and third-leading distributors on the 76ers combined (Harris – 3.7 assists and Embiid – 3.1 assists), so these two will need to pick up the slack to pull the upset.
Embiid and Harris not only need to step up offensively to make up for Simmons’s absence on that end of the court but also because they will need to score more without Simmons’s elite defense on the other end giving the Bucks easier matchups to exploit.
Sixers without simmons in the last 3 games(0-3)
Lost to the warriors by 11
Lost to the suns
Lost to the bucks(tobias played)
Not a diss at Embiid
Just understand Simmons' value
— Let's talk NBA (@NBArath23) April 23, 2021
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. Embiid struggled with his shot, missing all four of his 3-point attempts Thursday.
The 76ers will also need Harris’s ability to create his own shot in the halfcourt to win. Harris has the ability to generate his own shot from all three levels as he is shooting above-average percentages at the rim (66%), in the midrange (50%) and from beyond the arc (41%) among forwards. His 122.3 points per 100 shot attempts rank in the 84th percentile among forwards, and his career-high 17.7% assist percentage ranks in the 87th percentile.
3-point shooting will be important to provide spacing and scoring for the 76ers. Seth Curry will need a big night as their best shooter, and his shooting will be even more pivotal if Korkmaz can’t play. Other shooters like Shake Milton and Danny Green also need to step up. The 76ers shot 44% from beyond the arc on Thursday, but the Bucks outscored them by 24 points on 3s, as the Bucks took 13 more 3-point attempts. The 76ers must be more competitive from beyond the arc to cover.
If the Bucks win and cover, they will need Khris Middleton to continue his hot shooting while Antetokounmpo plays and plays well. The Bucks are at full strength with a clean injury report heading into Saturday
While teams have shown that the best way to stop Giannis 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 threes 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 119.4 points per 100 shot attempts rank in the 76th 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 made just six of 16 shots in the first matchup (while missing all four of his 3-point attempts) in the first matchup as the Bucks failed to cover as six-point favorites. Middleton bounced back to make 10 of 16 shots, including four of seven 3s in Thursday’s win and cover as 6.5-point favorites.
Jrue Holiday’s two-way playmaking will also be important for the Bucks to cover, as will the success of shooters like Pat Connaughton, Bobby Portis and Donte DiVincenzo. Portis was on fire in Thursday’s win, making all five of his 3-point attempts and nine of 11 shots overall. Portis’s 49% accuracy on 3s this season leads the team and ranks in the 98th percentile among bigs, per Cleaning The Glass.
Simmons’ absence on both ends of the court will prove too much for the 76ers to overcome for the fourth straight game. The 76ers will miss his ability to put pressure on the rim offensively. The Bucks will have a much easier time manipulating the 76ers’ defense to get advantages with switches on pick-and-rolls/handoffs involving two of Antetokounmpo, Middleton or Holiday.
I like the value of the Bucks -7.5 (with value down to -8.5), but my best bet for this game is the Bucks to be winning at the end of the first quarter and to win the game at -125 (with value down to -140) on FanDuel.
Pick: Bucks to win the first quarter and the game -125 (bet down to -140)