Bucks vs. Nets NBA Betting Picks & Predictions: 3 Best Bets for Game 7 (Saturday, June 19)
Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks and Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets.
- It's win or go home for the Bucks and Nets on Saturday night in Brooklyn.
- Milwaukee dominated on Thursday night, but the Nets return to where Kevin Durant delivered an epic performance in Game 6.
- Our team of NBA analysts break down what they're backing with a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals on the line.
Nothing beats Game 7, especially when the betting market makes it nearly a toss-up.
This Nets vs. Bucks series hasn't always been pretty, with injuries piling up and offensive ineptitude on display quite often. But both teams can make us forget about all that with a win.
Our staff is in alignment on both the side and total in this game, so let's dive in.
NBA Odds & Picks
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets
Raheem Palmer: Think about the history of the NBA and the teams and star players that eventually won the championship. They’ve all suffered catastrophic and devastating losses before finally getting over the hump.
Jordan’s Bulls dealt with the pain of losing to the Pistons. Olajuwon’s Rockets lost in the 85 Finals and struggled for years before breaking through in 94 and 95. Shaq and Kobe’s Lakers were bounced out early by the Jazz and Spurs. LeBron James went through years of disappointment with the Cavaliers and upon joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, they suffered heartbreaking defeat against the Mavericks before breaking through.
Steph Curry’s Warriors suffered defeats against the Spurs and Clippers before winning in 2015, while the Raptors were owned by LeBron and seen as a joke before Kawhi Leonard replaced DeMar Derozan and years of playoff failures pushed them to overcome whatever adversity they faced.
That’s where the Milwaukee Bucks are at this point. They’ve been the best regular season team for the past two seasons only to fizzle out when it mattered. They’ve felt the pain, they’ve made adjustments and now they’re here, just one game away from the Eastern Conference Finals.
While beating the Nets on the road seems like a daunting task, this Brooklyn team is a shell of itself. They’re missing Kyrie Irving, who suffered an ankle injury in Game 4 and James Harden is ending the season the same way he started it, out of shape and rhythm after having a setback to his hamstring injury. As we saw last night with the Utah Jazz, things don’t end well for injured teams in the postseason.
The NBA Playoffs are a war of attrition and the Bucks may be the healthiest team in the playoffs. The Nets needed 49 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists from Kevin Durant to come back from a 17 point deficit in Game 5, and that’s not likely to happen here in Game 7 given how ugly these games typically are. This could be a rock fight and if that’s the case, I want the team who is generating more opportunities. The Bucks have an Offensive Rebound Rate of 20.2 compared to the Nets 13.5 and overall, they’ve dominated each of the past three games.
The momentum of this series has swung to the Bucks and without Irving in the lineup, it’s tough to trust the role players for the Nets. If there’s one thing we’ve seen through these playoffs, it’s that the new guard has taken over while the teams that have traditionally won have come up short. I think the Bucks are being undervalued here and should get the upset to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets
Kenny Ducey: It’s fair to assume the Nets will once again be playing essentially Kevin Durant ball for 48 minutes, considering how poor James Harden has looked, and if that’s the case I don’t know if I can muster up the strength to take the Nets here.
Harden has not been willing to shoot, instead attempting to be more of a distributor, and that’s killed the Nets considering how badly they’ve shot the ball as a team. Landry Shamet was forced into action plenty in Game 6, but just took two shots and just kind of ran around out there. Jeff Green was 2-of-9, and most critically Joe Harris was just 1-of-4 from three. Harris has been a massive part of this team’s offense all year, but has been missing since Game 2.
Obviously, a ridiculous shooting night could come at any moment, but it really seems like that’s what the Nets are banking on. Shamet, TLC, Alize Johnson, Mike James and Bruce Brown are not saving this offense, nor is Jeff Green, considering we’ve already had the Jeff Green Game this series. This is a three-man scoring threat with Durant, Harris and Blake Griffin, and it’s going up against a defense that’s been exceptional, posting a 105.8 defensive rating.
Sure, the Bucks haven’t scored the basketball well or had any sort of vision on offense, but they haven’t needed to with the way they’ve slowed what’s left of Brooklyn. This Brooklyn core will probably lose 10 games next year and waltz to a title, but 2021 won’t be the year for them.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets
Brandon Anderson: Is tonight the NBA championship? It feels like tonight is the NBA championship.
It's easy to forget how good these Nets and Bucks teams are as they struggle through a slog of a series, in part because both teams are so good that they make each other look much worse a lot of the time. But whoever wins tonight will surely be seen as the championship favorite going forward, and that makes me think the best play available here is picking one side, not just to win tonight, but to win the East or the title going forward.
Unfortunately, I have no idea who will win at this point, and I can talk myself into the case for either side. So instead, I'm going to go with the safer play and take a Game 7 under. That's the safer play because history is on our side. Game 7s are played tenuously and carefully. This is the season on the line for both teams, and no matter how big of a star you are, the moment can look and full awfully large.
And we know that history tells us Game 7s tend to go under. I'm following my colleague Austin Wang on this since Game 7 unders are 36-22 since 2003 and 22-7 over that same stretch if you exclude the first round. That's more than three out of four later round Game 7s that go under. Think of the Game 7s that come to mind, and you don't often get two teams playing their best basketball.
Sometimes it's a blowout as one team just runs out of gas and doesn't score enough to have a chance (usually a tired road team), or other times it's just two exhausted teams slugging it out, trying to throw the last punch.
These teams look exhausted. The Bucks stars have played more than ever this series, finally, but Milwaukee is essentially down to a six-man rotation at this point because the Bucks just don't trust anyone off the bench. Kevin Durant and James Harden played nearly every minute in that heroic Durant Game 5 performance, and they looked the part in Game 6 with 11 turnovers combined, many of which looked like tired mental mistakes.
The pace has already been very slow in this series, and the under is 5-1 for the series now, going over once by 0.5 points and under the other five games by 157 points combined. Remember, Game 1 of this series opened at 239.5 points, and the teams went a whopping 65 points under the total in Game 3. We're down nearly 25 points now but still haven't gone far enough. The Bucks have yet to score more than 108 in any game all series, and the Nets have more quietly struggled to score consistently too.
We are going to get a prize fight tonight, one that might well be for the title. But not all prize fights are full of highlights. I think we get an ugly slug fest that comes down to the final minutes without much scoring or separation, and I have to follow the trends and take the under. I'll play to 215.