Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets – NBA, January 18, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| January 18, 2021 3:10 am PST

These two in-form teams meet at the Brooklyn Center, both looking to keep their win streaks alive. The Bucks have started this season like a house on fire, setting the early pace in the east. The Nets aren’t that far behind them as they currently occupy the fifth position in the Eastern Conference, just one win behind them in a tightly packed league.

The Bucks edge the recent head to head record, three wins to two. They will be hopeful of winning this one, given the away team on the day has won the last five fixtures in a row. They have also beaten the nets on the previous nine occasions that they have met in Brooklyn.

Bucks vs. Nets Odds

Bucks (-2) -110
Nets (-2) -110
Bucks To Win -130
Nets To Win +115
Over 238 Points -110
Under 238 Points -110

The bookmakers expect a close game here, and it’s hard to argue against that given there hasn’t been a great deal between the two teams this season. However, the points total looks enormous. Before I knew what it was, I was convinced that I would pick over the points total as games between them don’t tend to disappoint, but this total looks a good six points over what I anticipated. The average combined total of the two teams over the last ten games is 229 points.

The Nets have only been the underdogs on three occasions this season, and they won two of those three games.

Bucks Analysis

The Bucks are in the process of putting together another run, having surpassed their earlier run of three wins in a row, having won their last four games. They won all four of those games comfortably by a margin of at least nine points.

They have a split 3-3 record from their six road trips so far this season. However, three of those wins came in their last four trips, including the last two back to back against the Magic and the Pistons.

Here are the latest betting trends for Milwaukee:

  • Four of their last five games have gone under the betting total.
  • The Bucks have won six of the last nine games against the Nets when betting against the spread.
  • Only two of the last seven games against Eastern Conference opponents have gone over the points total.
  • The points total has gone over in four of their last five games against opposition in the Atlantic Division.

This is a battle of two of the top three offenses in the league that currently combine for an average of 238 points, which, as we know, is the exact points total set by the bookmakers here. So perhaps the real battle will be whose defense holds up the best? They both have the best two field goal percentages this season, so stopping these incredible offenses will be challenging. They both also shoot well from distance, making this challenge even more challenging as they will need to be good defensively up and down the court.

One area that the Bucks offense is way behind the Nets is from the free-throw line, where they are scoring at just 72%, which is the fifth-lowest percentage in the league.

However, they are better at rebounding, averaging just under 50 per game, which could be vital in such a close battle.

The Bucks have a decent defense that concedes on average of 109 points per game. However, it hasn’t been as good on the road this season; hence they have a worse away record than they do at home.

They are averaging nine steals per game, which is the fifth-highest average in the league and again could be critical in stopping such a good offense that they find themselves up against. Point Guard Jrue Holiday has been instrumental in adding to this total since joining the Bucks in November last year. The Bucks had the best defensive rating in the NBA last season, and they will be hoping that the addition of Holiday can help them maintain that status.

The Bucks come into this game with a clean bill of health, so they can have no excuses in this one.

Nets Analysis

The Nets come into this game on their best run of form this season, having won their last three games back to back. When looking at their form, one thing that stands out is that they have been consistent, whether that’s good or bad. They failed to back up a win or a loss with the same result as their previous game only once this season.

They have played more games at home than any other team in the Eastern Conference, and given that their record is better at home than on the road, they will want to make the most of this game. They have won four of their last five games in Brooklyn, scoring exactly 122 points in their previous three wins against the 76ers, Nuggets, and the Magic.

Here are the latest betting trends for Brooklyn:

  • Against the spread, they have only won four of their last 12 games.
  • Their last eight games in a row have all gone over the betting total.
  • Five of their last seven games against the Bucks have gone over the points total.
  • The total has gone over in their last six games played at home.
  • The Nets have only won two of their last seven games against teams in the Eastern Conference when betting against the spread.
  • They have won their last six games in a row against teams based in the Central Division.
  • Brooklyn has had a case of the Monday Blues, having only won two of the last eight against the spread that was played on a Monday.

As previously mentioned, the Nets have an excellent attacking team that has performed both at home and on the road this season.

Their free-throw percentage is eight percent higher than that of the Bucks this season, which could be crucial in such a tight contest.

However, their defense has been lacking, conceding an average of 113 points per game. This is slightly surprising as their stats read much better than that and otherwise would match the Bucks defense.

They are averaging 37 defensive rebounds per game, which is the fifth-highest average in the league. I believe that it is vital that they maintain this, as the Bucks have a deadly field goal percentage, and the last thing you want to do is offer them second chances.

Kevin Durrant has been the star of the show for the Nets this season, but it seems he now has someone else to share the burden of carrying his team. He struck up a fantastic partnership with debutant James Harden against the Magic last time out as the pair dominated the game from start to finish adding 74 of the Nets 122 points. Durrant seemed to raise his game and scored 42 points, his highest score so far this season.

The Nets have both Dinwiddie and Claxton sidelined long term, but Point Guard Irving could return for this game.

Bucks vs. Nets Betting Pick

I like everything about the Nets right now, and if it weren’t for their dreadful record against the Bucks in Brooklyn, I would have selected them as my pick for this one. However, I will do something that goes against logic and back against these two great offenses and choose under the points total. The total looks too high for a start, and both teams have better defenses than they are created for.

Pick
  • Under 238 Points
    -110

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