Suns vs. Bucks Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Finding Big Value in Marquee Monday Matchup (April 19)

Suns vs. Bucks Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Finding Big Value in Marquee Monday Matchup (April 19) article feature image
Credit:

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo.

  • Monday night brings a matchup of title contenders when the Suns take on the Bucks.
  • In their first matchup back on Feb. 10, neither team showed any sign that it can stop the other.
  • Raheem Palmer breaks down why he doesn't see that changing in the rematch and is backing the over.

Suns vs. Bucks Odds

Suns Odds +3
Bucks Odds -3
Moneyline +125 / -150
Over/Under 234.5
Time Monday, 8 p.m. ET
TV League Pass
Odds as of Sunday and via BetMGM

Can you ask for a better matchup on a Monday Night in the NBA?

Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns (40-16) open their five-game road trip against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks (35-21) in a matchup between two of the NBA’s best teams. The last time these two teams played on Feb. 10, we were blessed with a 125-124 thriller that had eight ties and 11 lead changes, with the Suns erasing a 16-point deficit to win by one point in regulation.

We’re excited to see Part 2, and oddsmakers have opened the Bucks as slight favorites.

Let’s find out where the betting value lies in this matchup.

Phoenix Suns

Despite going 8-0 in the bubble and adding Paul in the offseason, the Suns have been one of the season’s biggest surprises and a bettor’s favorite at 35-21 against the spread (ATS). Phoenix is an impressive 21-7 against teams over .500 with wins over the Jazz, Lakers, 76ers, Nuggets and Heat, as well as Milwaukee.

The Suns rank in the top 10 in both Offensive and Defensive Ratings, making them a championship contender despite not getting the attention of the likes of the Lakers, Clippers, Nets, etc. The Suns are scoring 117.0 points per 100 possessions (seventh) in their non garbage time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass, and they’re also holding opposing teams to 109.5 points per 100 possessions in their non-garbage time minutes .

Despite how great the Suns have been this season, they do appear to be slipping, which is normal for a long season. Over the past two weeks, Phoenix has a Defensive Rating of 111.9 in their non-garbage time minutes (14th). Over the past week, they gave up Defensive Ratings of 117.5, 121.3 and 114.1 to the Rockets, Kings and Spurs, who are 27th, 12th and 18th in Offensive Rating.

The most concerning result was a 111-85 loss to the Spurs on Saturday night with San Antonio sitting DeMar Derozan, along with Patty Mills and Jakob Poeltl.

The loss snapped Phoenix’s 10-game home winning streak and this is potentially a make-or-break point for its season with games against the 76ers, Bucks, Celtics, Nets and Knicks coming up. The Suns are just 1 1/2 games behind the Jazz for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and unlike the Lakers, Clippers, Nuggets and Utah, Phoenix hasn’t suffered any significant injuries to key players, nor have they done much to worry about in terms of load management.

The Suns have been shooting the 3-ball really well recently, having made a franchise record 25 on 55.6% shooting from beyond the arc last Monday against the Rockets. In Saturday night’s loss to the Spurs, though, they shot just 6-of-27 (22.2%).

The Suns are ninth in 3-point shooting percentage (38.3%), so we can expect them to regress to the mean, particularly in this matchup against the Bucks, who give up the sixth-highest percentage (38.4%) on 3-point field goals. Even more comforting for the Suns in this matchup is that the Bucks give up the third-highest percentage from corner 3-pointer (43.3), where the Suns are shooting the third-highest percentage (44.3%) in the league this season.

With the Bucks giving up the fifth-highest frequency of 3-point field goals (39.4%), this is a game in which 3-point variance will play a major part of the outcome.

This is just part of the picture offensively for the Suns as Devin Booker and Paul are generating a significant amount of their offense from the midrange. The Suns are seventh in midrange shooting frequency (35.2%) and first in midrange shooting percentage (49.3%). The Suns are third in Offensive Rating over from there past two weeks, scoring 121.0 points per 100 possessions.

We know this team will have no problems scoring, so the issue is whether they’ll be able to slow down the Bucks given how they’ve been defending recently.

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Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks aren’t getting a ton of hype this year, but can you blame the public?

We’ve heard it all before, like Sunshine Anderson. Two years of Antetokounmpo putting up MVP seasons, leading the Bucks to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, only to fizzle out in the playoffs has everyone fatigued.

No one’s impressed this season, as it appears this team has taken a step back from previous regular seasons. At just 25-31 ATS, no one’s getting paid either since this team isn’t over performing the way it has in the past.

The Bucks are dominating the teams they’re supposed to beat, going 21-4 against teams below .500, but are just 14-16 against teams above .500. As twisted as that sounds, maybe that’s a good thing? For the first time in two seasons, expectations are low going into the playoffs.

Still, this Bucks team is dangerous and a true championship contender. Antetokounmpo is back in the lineup after missing six games with a knee injury and having another MVP-caliber season, averaging 28.4 points, 11.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists.

Like the Suns, the Bucks are top 10 in both offense and defense. They’re scoring 117.3 points per 100 possessions in their non-garbage time minutes, sixth among NBA teams according to Cleaning the Glass. They also have a Defensive Rating of 111.1 in their non-garbage time minutes, which is eighth.

Unfortunately for the Bucks, their defense isn’t what it was in previous seasons. In Saturday night’s 128-115 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Bucks had a Defensive Rating of 126.3 and allowed a whopping 60 points in the paint. Turnovers also fueled the Grizzlies’ offense in a night where it felt like the Bucks never had any rhythm.

But in a long season, every team has games where it feels like they’re never in it, and this was one of those nights for the Bucks. With three more games at home during this homestead, including two against the 76ers, we can expect a better effort going forward.

The Bucks have been missing Donte DiVincenzo with a sprained toe, which means that Bryn Forbes has been getting more minutes over the past two games. Against a depleted Hawks team, it didn’t have much of an impact, but against teams like the Grizzlies and Suns, he’s a liability. The Bucks’ defense is 3.7 points per 100 possessions worse defensively with him on the floor.

DiVincenzo’s impact as a scorer, playmaker and defender can’t be understated. Milwaukee is 7.9 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court against off it. If DiVincenzo can’t go, you have to slightly downgrade the Bucks in this spot.

It’s not all doom and gloom with the Bucks in this matchup, though. They have some key matchup advantages, particularly in the paint, where they’re sixth in field goal percentage at the rim (67.2%) against a Suns team that is 19th in field goal percentage allowed at the rim (64.4%).

In these teams’ previous matchup, Antetokounmpo got whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, scoring 47 points on 15-of-24 shooting, including making 17-of-21 free throws with 11 rebounds and five assists. This is a matchup the Suns have absolutely no answer for with Deandre Ayton, so look for Antetokounmpo to have another big game.

The Bucks are fourth in 3-point shooting percentage (39.4%). so open looks will be there for Bucks shooters in this matchup when the Suns simply don’t have the pieces to slow down Antetokounmpo.

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Suns-Bucks Pick

Oddsmakers have set this total at 234.5 for a reason. These are two of the league’s best offenses featuring two teams that are top 10 in 3-point percentage. Although the Suns are just 24th in Pace (98.19), according to NBA Advanced Stats, the Bucks are third in that category at 102.45 possessions per game.

The last time these two teams played, it was a slow game at 95 possessions, but these teams put up Offensive Ratings of 130.8 and 129.7 as they reached a total of 249 points. I’m not seeing anything from these teams at this point that suggests that they can slow the other down.

The Suns have struggled defensively over the past few weeks, and the Bucks should be able to capitalize on that, especially with their tendency to give up points in the paint without an answer for Antetokounmpo. Given the Bucks tendency to give up open 3-pointers, I think the Suns also should have no problems scoring.

My projections make this game 234, but I think oddsmakers are shading this number purposely. There’s no other way I’d look than over so my money would be on the over at 234.5 here.

Pick: Over 234.5

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