Pacers vs. Bucks Odds, Pick & Preview: How to Bet Milwaukee-Indy Without Giannis Antetokounmpo

Pacers vs. Bucks Odds, Pick & Preview: How to Bet Milwaukee-Indy Without Giannis Antetokounmpo article feature image

Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Malcolm Brogdon

  • Tonight's Pacers vs. Bucks matchup is nearly a toss-up with Giannis Antetokounmpo out.
  • Will the Pacers finally get a win in a close game as they are 1-8 in games decided by three points or fewer?
  • Tyler Schmidt gives his analysis and best bet below.

Pacers vs. Bucks Odds

Pacers Odds+1.5
Bucks Odds-1.5
Time8 p.m. ET
TVNBA League Pass
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

This Central Division clash between the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers may have lost some of its appeal with Giannis Antetokounmpo being ruled out.

However, I think there is still value on a first quarter angle I've found. Let's dive in.

Pacers Not as Bad as Their Record

There is a lot of chatter around the Indiana Pacers lately and it is certainly not about how well they are playing. They have covered in four straight games, but are still 12-17 overall and just 3-10 on the road this season.

The key difference: The Pacers are 1-8 in games decided by three points or less. They aren't as bad as it may seem!

On the season, the Pacers are 16-13 against the spread with 16 of those games going under the total. They have covered eight of their 12 games as underdogs with 10 of those 12 games going under.

Despite their awful road record of 3-10, they have covered six of those games with nine of the 13 going under the total. As you can tell the under has been very popular for the Pacers.

Despite so many of their games going under the total, their first quarters have been electric. They have scored the second most first quarter points in the league this season, averaging 28.9 per game. The Pacers have lost both home matchups against the Bucks this season, but at least they have filled up the scoreboard in the first quarter with 34 in their first game and 26 in the second.

There aren't many injuries to report for the Pacers. They are relatively healthy. Justin Holiday is questionable to play tonight as he has missed six straight games. T.J. Warren also remains out.

Caris LeVert and Chris Duarte have been very good for the Pacers filling in Warren's absence. It sure would be fun to see this team fully healthy for once. I hope they don't blow it up.

The Pacers continue to be led by their "Big 3" in Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon, and Myles Turner. Brogdon leads the team in points and assists. Sabonis leads the team in rebounds and steals. He is fifth in the entire league in rebounds this season. Turner leads not only the Pacers, but the league in blocks with 2.8 per game. They also rank 10th in Offensive Rating this season.

Bucks Missing Key Pieces, But Still Have Depth

After a slow start to the season the Milwaukee Bucks have now won 12 of their last 15 games. The Bucks' only three losses were all on the road against quality opponents in the Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. They haven't lost a home game since Nov. 5 and tonight welcome in the Indiana Pacers who they have beaten at home in six straight games.

Even though the Bucks are getting back into form lately, they have had trouble against the spread all season long. They have covered the spread in only 12 of their 29 games, with the under hitting in 17 of those 29. As favorites, which they are tonight, the Bucks have covered in 11 of 24 games with the under hitting in 14 of those 24. Lastly, despite a 9-4 home record, the Bucks have covered only four of those home games with the under hitting in nine games.

The big news for the Bucks tonight is they will be playing without their MVP Antetokounmpo and potentially Khris Middleton. Giannis is in COVID protocols and Middleton is questionable due to a knee injury. They are also without Brook Lopez, DeMarcus Cousins, Wesley Matthews, and even Donte DiVincenzo who was supposed to return tonight, but who is also in COVID protcols.

Without Giannis this season, the Bucks have covered just once in three games, with the over hitting twice. They also averaged 29.0 first quarters points in those three games — more on that later. Middleton was healthy and playing for two of those games as well. Regardless of who plays the Bucks have shown to get off to fast starts to open up their games. I expect more of the same tonight.

The Milwaukee Bucks lead the league in first quarter points this season with 29.0 per game. They have scored a total of 840 points in the first quarter. I was a little surprised after diving into their stats this season without Giannis in the lineup. The Bucks actually have a better Offensive Rating without Giannis and a worse Defensive Rating. That is intriguing for the over and this unique bet.

Pacers-Bucks Pick

With no Giannis and potentially no Middleton, you would think this Bucks team would be in major trouble. However, in their one game without both of them they took the Boston Celtics to overtime on the road. They have a good amount of depth and with everything happening for the Pacers right now, I don't have a strong feeling on a side.

That is why I am going with the first quarter over. Giannis getting ruled out had me worried because it was SUCH a great matchup for him in the paint, but I have to trust the numbers.

Both of these teams get off to hot starts in seemingly every game they play, especially when they play each other. Search around for the best value to place this unique bet, but I would take this bet up to 53.5 first quarter points. The pace should be very quick right from the jump.

Pick: First Quarter over (53.5 or better)

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