Nets vs. Bucks Odds, Pick, Prediction | NBA Betting Preview

Nets vs. Bucks Odds, Pick, Prediction | NBA Betting Preview article feature image

Via Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks dribbles the ball up the court against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on March 5, 2023 in Washington, DC.

  • The Bucks have been on fire lately, and they host the new-look Nets on Thursday night.
  • With the Nets resting key players, Andrew O'Connor Watts is fading them early.
  • Find his betting pick and analysis below.

Nets vs. Bucks Odds

Nets Odds+9.5
Bucks Odds-9.5
Over/Under231.5 (-110/-110)
Time8 p.m. ET
TVNBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Brooklyn Nets take on the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum in a rematch of the 2020-2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals that seems like a lifetime ago after a complete roster rearrangement by the Nets.

It’s been exactly one month since the trade deadline, and the Nets are starting to come into their new identity. After a shaky start, head coach Jacque Vaughn has figured out his rotations post-deadline, and the results have been positive lately.

Meanwhile, the Bucks have been rolling. If it weren’t for a blown lead against the 76ers on Saturday, Milwaukee would be undefeated since Jan. 23.

Let’s break down the matchup as I give my prediction and betting pick for Nets vs. Bucks below.

Nets Starting Slowly

Brooklyn currently has a three-game winning streak that started with a historic 28-point comeback against the Boston Celtics on Friday.

Brooklyn couldn’t get anything going to start the game—a trend that’s persisted lately, especially on the road. The Nets haven’t covered the first quarter spread in any of their last five road games and have covered only twice in their last 10.

They failed to cover a 2.5-point first-quarter spread against Houston last game but came away with their third-straight win just the same.

I would say the Nets are looking to extend their winning streak to four games against the Bucks tonight, but the Nets' injury report tells a different story.

Cameron Johnson (knee), Ben Simmons (knee), Nicolas Claxton (Achilles), Royce O’Neale (knee) and Spencer Dinwiddie (rest) will all sit on the first half of their back-to-back road set.

The Nets already have a shortage of ball handlers, so Dinwiddie’s absence is especially tough and the ultimate sign that they’d rather punt this game than try to compete with the Bucks.

Bucks' Versatility is Key

The Bucks injury report isn’t exactly spotless either. Wesley Matthews (calf) and Goran Dragic (knee) won’t play Thursday, but their absences aren't very significant.

The injury report’s more concerning names include Jae Crowder (ankle), Jrue Holiday (neck) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (illness), but all three are expected to suit up. I expect them to contribute to a hot start for the Bucks, who are one of the better teams in first quarters.

Only the Bulls are a more profitable first-quarter team in terms of ROI (10.27%), according to EV Analytics.

The Bucks' lineup flexibility and depth are a big reason for their early-game success, and this has helped with their game-to-game continuity. According to Cleaning the Glass, of the five Bucks lineups that have played more than 100 possessions this season, all of them have a positive Net Rating.

According to NBA Advanced Stats, Milwaukee’s most common five-man lineup in the first quarter (99 minutes) includes Antetokounmpo, Holiday, Brook Lopez and Grayson Allen, and this unit has a +21.6 Net Rating. The second-most common (78 minutes) swaps out Jevon Carter for Allen and has a +33.5 Net Rating in the first quarter.

Nets-Bucks Pick

The Bucks are one of the best first-quarter teams in the league, and the Nets struggle in the first frame, which is why I bet the Bucks 1Q at -2.5 despite the -125 juice at PointsBet. I would take the first-quarter line down to -4 at -115 or better.

There are a few trends that point to the Bucks in the first half as well, but -7.5 is a bit too long for my liking. I’d strongly consider laying seven as I think it’s a good spot for Milwaukee. However, both teams are off big wins, and that bodes well for a first-half cover as Brooklyn tends to let its foot off the gas after big wins, while Milwaukee tends to keep their momentum going into the next half.

Here’s a look at Milwaukee’s first-half record since the bubble season after a 10+ point win:

This season they’re 15-7 ATS (28.6% ROI).

Similarly, fading the Nets on the road in the first half off a 10+ point win has also been a profitable spot going back the past three seasons, although the sample size is a bit smaller:

This season is still profitable at 7-5 ATS.

I think the risk here is a backdoor cover by the Nets who don’t seem to roll over easily, as evidence by their game against Boston. The full-game number is too long for my liking, so I’ll stick with the Bucks in the first quarter, but I wouldn’t blame you for following the trends and laying a first half number as well.

Pick: Bucks 1Q -4 or better

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