Pistons vs. Bucks Game 1 Betting Preview: Will Milwaukee Cover as a Double-Digit Favorite?

Pistons vs. Bucks Game 1 Betting Preview: Will Milwaukee Cover as a Double-Digit Favorite? article feature image

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34).

Game 1 Betting Odds: Detroit Pistons vs. Milwaukee Bucks

  • Spread: Bucks -13
  • Over/Under: 219
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: TNT

>> All odds as of 4:15 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

The Milwaukee Bucks, owner of the league’s best record and point differential, will start their hopeful title run with a first-round series against the Pistons. They’re huge favorites in Game 1; can they cover that big number? Our analysts dive in below.

Betting Trends to Know

The top teams in each conference have combined to go 76-69-3 (52.4%) against-the-spread (ATS) in the opening round. Top seeds have had more success when facing an opponent who is .500 or worse, going 37-25-2 (59.7%) ATS.

The Pistons needed a win in Game 82 of the season to clinch a playoff spot and finished at an even 41-41. The top-seeded Bucks will look to extend this winning trend for No. 1 seeds when they host the Pistons. — John Ewing

The Pistons are in the playoffs for the first time since the 2015-16 season. Some bettors may be hesitant to wager on Detroit as a road team without postseason experience, but our data shows home-court advantage and playoff experience is overrated.

Since 2005, it has been profitable to bet on road teams who didn’t reach the postseason the year before in the first round. — Ewing

The Bucks are 22-4 straight-up at home against the Eastern Conference this season, including 17-8-1 ATS. Of the four Bucks home losses against the East this season, Giannis Antetokounmpo missed two of those games and scored 43 points and 52 points in the other two losses (all to playoff teams: Nets, Sixers, Magic, Raptors). — Evan Abrams

Milwaukee does it on both sides of the floor. The Bucks lead the NBA in field goal percentage allowed this season at 43.3%. Since 2005, teams that allow 44% or worse shooting from the field excel in the first round of the playoffs, going 181-150-4 ATS (54.7%). They’ve gone 42-26 ATS (61.8%) over the last three seasons, covering the spread by 3.3 points per game. — Abrams

Mears: How I’m Handicapping Tonight’s Game

Blake Griffin has been ruled out of Game 1 with a sore left knee. Antetokounmpo will almost certainly be the best player in this series, but Griffin might be the most important due to how the Bucks play defense.

This year, they have shifted their defensive scheme to completely selling out to protect the rim. Thus, they allow the highest 3-point rate in the league, and they’re betting that the increased rim protection plus their lengthy defenders can close out enough to bothers shooters.

It’s obviously worked, as the Bucks have the second-best defense this season, allowing just 105.8 points per 100 possessions. They’re also second in effective field goal percentage allowed, which accounts for the value of a 3-point shot.

That said, they’re judicious in which 3s they allow. They’re actually near the bottom of the league in 3-pointers allowed to guards, but they allow by far the most to big men.

Griffin averaged seven 3-point attempts per game this year, but that increased to nine against the Bucks. Milwaukee largely forced big men and role players to knock down shots; it was a winning strategy.

And they’ll employ that same strategy in this series, which means the pick-and-pop with Reggie Jackson and Griffin will be wide open all series, as will long 2s from Jackson. If they want to hang around, Griffin will need to have a stellar series, and he’s starting it out injured.

He’s questionable to suit up Sunday with a sore left knee, and it’s unclear how effective he’ll be even if he does play. That brings a ton of uncertainty to this game.

On one hand, the trend John mentioned above is compelling. On the other hand, the Pistons are toast if Griffin doesn’t play or isn’t himself, which we may not really know until halfway through the game. I’ll likely be staying away as a result, but maybe we can get some information and be able to bet this series in later games. — Bryan Mears

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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