Wizards vs. Bucks Odds, Expert Pick, Prediction: Washington Should Keep It Close (January 3)

Wizards vs. Bucks Odds, Expert Pick, Prediction: Washington Should Keep It Close (January 3) article feature image

John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Kuzma shoots over Brook Lopez.

  • The Milwaukee Bucks host the Washington Wizards in NBA action on Tuesday night.
  • These teams met recently with Washington pulling off the upset, but the healthier Bucks are once again favored in this one.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.

Wizards vs. Bucks Odds

Wizards Odds+8
Bucks Odds-8
Time8 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Washington Wizards play the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night in what is the second matchup between the teams already in the new year.

Washington got the best of Milwaukee on Sunday, winning by a score of 118-95. However, there were some factors, mainly injuries, that affected that game, and the Wizards still enter this matchup in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 17-21.

Meanwhile, the Bucks come into this matchup with a record of 23-13, good enough for third in the Eastern Conference.

Even though the Bucks were faced with some key injuries in their most recent matchup against Washington on Sunday, the Wizards have still won five games in a row in what has been an impressive stretch of basketball.

Will Washington extend that streak to six games, or will the Bucks redeem themselves and get back in the win column?

Washington Wizards

The Wizards are in the midst of quite a win streak, one that has been highlighted by their dominance on the defensive end of the floor.

Washington was already a decent defensive team, as evidenced by ranking 12th in the NBA in Defensive Rating at 112.4. However, during this five-game win streak, the Wizards have seen that rating improve to an incredible 103.4. That ranks first in the NBA during that time, and is nearly six points better than the second-best Pelicans.

A large reason for their improvement on that end of the floor is because of their presence on the perimeter. During these last five games opponents are shooting just 27.6% from behind the arc against the Wizards on an average of 34.0 attempts per game, which unsurprisingly also ranks first in the NBA in that time.

That peskiness on the perimeter has often forced teams to the interior on offense, but according to TeamRankings the Wizards are only allowing an average of 38.7 points per game in the paint in their last three games as well. That is down from their season average of 48.6, showing that Washington has truly changed its mentality on that end of the floor and it is starting to pay dividends.

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Milwaukee Bucks

As previously mentioned, Milwaukee suffered a loss to this Wizards team to kick off 2023, but there were a few factors in that game that did not go their way.

The most obvious reason for that loss was because of injuries. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, and George Hill all missed that matchup, and as a result Milwaukee lost a ton of production on both ends of the floor. All four of those guys are listed as game time decisions for this matchup as well, which is something to keep our eyes on as we get closer to tip off.

However, it appears that three of those four are going to be available for this game, which is great news for a Bucks team that has played spectacular basketball while at home this season.

According to NBA.com the Bucks own an Offensive Rating of 116.4 and a Defensive Rating of 108.4 on their home court this season. That Net Rating of 8.0 ranks seventh in the NBA this season, showing that the Bucks are one of the more well-rounded rosters in all of the NBA.

Wizards-Bucks Pick

Having fewer injuries is certainly an advantage for Milwaukee, but I think Washington's newly found momentum will be enough to keep this game close.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and George Hill are likely the three guys listed on the injury report who will play in this matchup, with Khris Middleton being the one that is likely to stay sidelined. That gives Washington a little more breathing room on both ends of the floor, which effectively starts to level the playing field.

Given Middleton's absence and the fact that Washington is averaging 121.0 points per game on 55.3% shooting in their last five, despite Bradley Beal missing the last three games, I think we see the Wizards stay competitive and cover the spread. I would play this down to 6.5.

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