Milwaukee Bucks 2019-20 Betting Predictions, Odds, and Expert Best Bets

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Ricky Dimon

NBA · 3 years ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

Best Bet: To Win the Central Division (-400) 

Worst Bet: Over 56.5 wins (-120)

The Milwaukee Bucks compiled the best record in basketball last season at 60-22, winning the Central Division by a laughable 12 games, edging Toronto for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, and comfortably surpassing everyone in the West–even Golden State. Even though the Bucks lost to Kawhi Leonard and company in a six-game Eastern Conference Finals, in reality they came tantalizingly close to potentially capturing the NBA title. Milwaukee won the first two games at home against the Raptors and forced overtime in Game 3 with a chance to seize what would have almost certainly been an insurmountable lead. Given what happened to Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and the Warriors, a berth in the NBA Finals quite possibly would have led to a Bucks championship.

Instead, the Bucks stopped there–stymied by Leonard and Toronto. But NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer are back to give it another go. With Leonard now in Los Angeles playing for the Clippers, Milwaukee is favored to win the Eastern Conference. In addition to the Greek Freak and coach Bud, this team will also look familiar due to the returns of Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, and Brook Lopez. Already prolific from three-point range, the Bucks will be able to completely shoot the lights out in 2019-20 with the addition of free agent Kyle Korver. They also have Pat Connaughton and Ersan Ilyasova. Malcolm Brogdon is gone, so Budenholzer will have to continue coaching up his guys from a defensive standpoint to make up for that loss.

Bucks Win Total: O/U 56.5

Milwaukee racked up 60 wins in 2018-19, but keep in mind that was the highest total in the association. With very few exceptions, teams don’t make a habit out of reaching the 60-win mark. Can the Bucks avoid taking a step back by four games–or can they even improve? It’s possible, but that’s also a lot to expect. They did not go on the spending spree that plenty of other teams splurged for this offseason, and Brogdon’s absence will hurt. Antetokoumpo plays a very physical style of basketball, and even if he avoids injury it would be sensible for Budenholzer to give him more than a few “load management” games off–especially as the playoffs approach.

Taking the Over yields a -120 return, while Under is +100. That value on the Under is just better, it has to be said, as too much has to go right for the Bucks to win at least 57 games.

Odds to Make the Playoffs: Yes -1500, No +1000

Are the Bucks going to make the playoffs? I don’t know; is the Pope Catholic? Obviously this team is going to be one of the top eight in the Eastern Conference. The only way it would not be one of the best in the East is if Antetokounmpo misses significant time with some sort of injury, but even then the likes of Middleton, Bledsoe, Lopez, and Korver would be enough to get into the postseason.

As usual, the Eastern Conference looks far less spectacular than the West, and Leonard’s bolt from Canada to L.A. does nothing to solve the NBA’s relative lack of parity. The West’s No. 8 seed won 48 games last season, while the East’s final playoff qualifier went 41-41. Atlanta is one team on the outside looking in that will be better in 2019-20, but there are still a bunch of bad teams in the East. Milwaukee is going back to the playoffs, of course, but at -1500 there is no reason to put a bet down.

Odds to Win the Central Division: -400

This value (-400) is something you can work with. Sure, winning a division is much harder than merely making the playoffs–but at the same time the Central is not exactly loaded. As mentioned earlier, Milwaukee won this thing by double-digits in 2018-19. Indiana gets Victor Oladipo back, but he will be rusty and may not even be 100 percent when the season begins. Detroit sneaked into the postseason at 41-41, while Cleveland and Chicago were two of the worst teams you could find. None has improved dramatically on paper for the 2019-20 campaign. The Bucks are such a lock here that even -400 odds look quite enticing.

Odds to Win the Eastern Conference: +200

Topping the Central Division chart is one thing, but winning the Eastern Conference is a whole different proposition. Milwaukee found that out the hard way this past season. Leonard leaving opens the door, but Philadelphia remains wildly talented, Brooklyn is on the rise with Kyrie Irving even though Kevin Durant will miss his first year, and the Celtics signed Kemba Walker from Charlotte. Although there is a reason why the Bucks are favored (they have the best player in the conference with a strong supporting cast), it is not going to be easy. This is not a bad play, but with only one bona fide star on the team you can’t just assume Milwaukee is going to win the East. Odds of +200 aren’t enough.

Odds To Win NBA Championship: +500

This is a better play than winning the Eastern Conference. Most teams’ odds double when you go from conference title to overall championship, but Milwaukee goes from +200 all the way to +500. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. The West is positively loaded and whichever squad emerges from that fracas will almost certainly be favored in the NBA Finals. But those West rivals could also beat each other up in the process. Antetokounmpo is capable of taking over a seven-game series by himself and the Bucks are even more dangerous based on how they can shoot the ball from outside. They are worth taking at +500 to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

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