Suns vs. Bucks Odds, Pick, Prediction | NBA Betting Preview (February 26)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks and Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns.
Suns vs. Bucks Odds
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The Bucks currently sit second in the East, tied in the loss column with the Boston Celtics, so if they want home court throughout, every game down the stretch will be key. The Suns, meanwhile, sit in fourth in the West but are only three losses above 12th-place, as the conference simply refuses to settle.
Unfortunately for the NBA, Giannis Antetokounmpo is doubtful, and Kevin Durant is out, but there's still plenty to be intrigued by in Sunday's matinee matchup.
The Bucks opened as 5-point favorites, but as game time approaches, the line has moved to Bucks -3.5. Let's dig in and see what edges we can find in Suns vs. Bucks.
Even without Durant joining the lineup, the Suns have been playing better of late. Devin Booker made his return from a lengthy injury on Feb. 7, and the team is 4-1 in its past five games he has played since returning.
The Suns have excelled in a few areas in particular this season, but almost all of these areas are statistical categories in which the Bucks also thrive defensively.
The Suns rank seventh in the league in terms of 3-point percentage; the Bucks allow the second-lowest percentage from deep.
The Suns rank sixth in offensive rebound percentage this season; the Bucks have the fourth-best defensive rebound percentage.
The Suns rank third in the league in terms of points per game via the spot-up; the Bucks allow the fewest points per possession on spot ups.
The Suns are already a bit shorthanded with Durant yet to debut and Landry Shamet still sidelined. The trade for KD undoubtedly raised the Suns' ceiling. However, giving up several core members of the rotation lowered their floor a bit in regular season games, and even more so before Durant is able to get out there. The Suns will be a little hard-pressed to score on Sunday.
The Bucks have been hard-pressed to score for what seems like the entirety of the season. Their Offensive Rating ranks a paltry 18th in the league, a far cry from their third-ranked unit from last season.
Part of that is due to the team missing Kris Middleton for the start of the season, and then having to weave him back in since his return from a lengthy absence. However, some of it has also just been a bit of stagnation.
The problem only gets worse when Antetokounmpo is out, as well. The Bucks average 116.0 points per game with their talisman this season, which would rank inside the top 10. However, in the 11 games he has missed, they have averaged just 111.0 points per game, which would rank third-lowest in the league.
The Bucks are also very reliant on 3-point volume. They try to win the math game each time they take the court, and they get up the fourth-most 3s per game. The Suns, however, are among the best teams in the league at taking away those looks, ranking fourth in the Association this season in terms of fewest threes allowed per game to their opposition. It's once again a story of a team that could struggle to put up points on Sunday.
If you read all the analysis, you won't be shocked where I'm going for this pick, but I'm going to tweak the under bet just a little bit. I am going to target the first half. I'm doing this because these are two of the five teams that most frequently have gone to the under in the first half this season.
The Suns are a wild 40-21-0 to the under in the first half this season, an ROI of +25.4%–easily the highest in the NBA. The Bucks have always skewed to that direction, as well though, having gone 34-25-0 (+10.0% ROI) to the under before the break this season.
When combined with all the matchup data above suggesting an under, I quite like the first half under for the Bucks and Suns on Sunday's ABC matchup.
Pick: Under 112.5 1H (-115)