Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets – NBA, June 15, 2021
The Bucks are back in Brooklyn to face the Nets in game five of this Eastern Conference Semi-final series. The tie is locked at 2-2, with both teams dominating their home matches. The Nets raced into a two-game lead, and after the landslide victory in game two, it looked like they were on their way to the Conference finals. But the Bucks had other ideas and won a scrappy game three, which, as I predicted, was a low-scoring affair.
That win gave Milwaukee a confidence boost, and it showed in game four as they comprehensively won the game by 11-points. It was the first time in the playoffs that the Nets looked like an aging team, and the niggling injuries are starting to set in. The Bucks could sense this, and one of the main differences in game four was how quickly Milwaukee broke as they scored 20 fast-break points to the Nets six.
However, the Nets will be happy to be back in Brooklyn as this fixture has been won by the home team the last seven times it has been played. The teams have met in Brooklyn three times this year, and the Nets have won on each occasion.
Here are the game odds, my team analysis, and betting prediction.
Bucks vs. Nets Odds
The spread has come down by 17-points since I previewed game three, which is incredible. It started at 239.5 in game one, and as each game has comfortably gone under, the total has decreased.
You have to feel it is now at a point where we start believing this is an easily achievable total. The handicap probably reflects the fact that the Nets will be missing both Harden and Irving tonight, so we can have no complaints on that front.
Bucks Bouncing Along
The Bucks are bouncing along nicely, and they are now many people’s favorites to make the Eastern Conference finals. What a difference a few days makes as they were being written off after game two. However, they have tightened up their defense which seems to have turned things in their favor. They have now held the Nets to scores of 83 and 96, meaning they haven’t had to do too much in attack to pick up the wins.
However, those wanting to cash in on the Bucks will have to be mindful that their form on the road hasn’t been great recently. They have lost over half (six) of their last 11 games on the road, which hardly fills you with confidence. Although in saying that if you go back to the beginning of March, they haven’t lost three away fixtures in a row. Having lost the previous two, this should give them some comfort.
They have had mixed results in game five of the playoffs, having won two and lost two of their previous four matches. They beat the Magic and the Celtics but lost to the Heat and the Raptors.
Here are the latest betting trends for Milwaukee:
|ATS||Milwaukee has lost two-thirds of their last 15 matches.|
|Total||Five of their previous six games have gone under the betting total.|
|SU||They have won 14 of their last 18 matches.|
|SU||The Bucks have only lost six of their previous 20 games against the Nets.|
|ATS||Milwaukee has only won two of their last seven games on the road.|
|SU||They have won on eight of their previous 11 visits to Brooklyn.|
|Total||Only one of their last six matches has failed to go under the points total.|
|SU||The Bucks have won six of their previous eight games against teams based in the Atlantic Division.|
It’s clear the Bucks are winning games right now, but they aren’t covering the spread, which suggests the bookmakers are still overestimating them. All of the above points to a very narrow (less than four points), low-scoring win for the Bucks.
Although the Bucks have clawed their way back into this tie, there is still plenty of improvement to be made, which I think is a good thing as they are level in the series and can do even better. Their three-point shooting is the first area they need to pick up on as they have only made 30% of their shots so far in the playoffs. Their shooting from the free-throw line hasn’t been any better. In actual fact, it’s been worse as they have the worst record of all of the teams that have made the playoffs.
They are also making far too many turnovers, and if this continues, you can’t see them going all the way this season. They must become more resolute in this area.
Areas they have excelled in have been their offensive rebounding which the Nets can’t get close to. They have also made more defensive rebounds than any other team in the playoffs. This has been critical, especially when they are making so many turnovers per game. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been the vital figurehead in this department as he leads the way for rebounds made in the playoffs so far.
The Bucks have also been very disciplined, which was at the forefront of their most recent wins over the Nets. This has also been crucial as Brooklyn has a better record from the free-throw line than any other team in the playoffs. However, as the Bucks aren’t making many fouls, the Nets haven’t been able to hurt them. Brook Lopez has been at the heart of defense this season, and if he continues his excellent form, it could mean the Nets post another low score tonight.
Milwaukee will miss DiVincenzo and Nwora tonight through injury.
Lack of Net for Brooklyn
There is no doubt the Nets’ biggest problem the last two games has been their offense. Their defense has done well as they have held the Bucks to scores of 86 & 107. Ordinarily, you would assume the Nets would win when conceding such low totals. They appeared to have a bit of a hiatus in game three, which I didn’t mind but what that did was cause them to lose their momentum, which they failed to regain in game four. They will be hoping the change of venue back to the Barclays Center will reinvigorate them.
They have also won 20 of their previous 22 games in Brooklyn, which will surely give them a massive confidence boost here. This includes winning their last eight in a row, which shows you what a tough ask the Bucks have on their hands this evening.
Although the Nets won game five in round one against the Celtics to tie up the series, it’s generally been a bad night for them as they have lost the previous four before that.
Here are the latest betting trends for Brooklyn:
|ATS||The Nets have only lost two of their previous 14 matches.|
|Total||All of their last five games have gone under the betting total.|
|Total||The total has gone under in all of their previous six visits to Brooklyn.|
|ATS||Brooklyn has won their last eight home games in a row.|
|ATS||The Nets have only lost one of their previous seven games against teams in the Central Division.|
|SU||They have lost two-thirds of their last 15 matches played in June.|
This pretty much confirms the trends listed for the Bucks in that we should take the Nets to win with the handicap in a low-scoring game.
Unlike the Bucks, the Nets have been superb from three-point range so far in the playoffs, making 40% of their shots. They have also made more shots from the free-throw line than any other team in the playoffs.
However, as we have already touched upon, where they don’t match up is their offensive rebounding which has been lacking. Defensively they have rebounded well and can hold their own. That, combined with the number of steals they are making, means they have often seen the lion’s share of the ball throughout the playoffs.
Although their attack has failed in the previous two games, they are still averaging a respectable 115-points in the playoffs.
This is because they are moving the ball around the court so well, creating many openings.
Their defense has been excellent throughout, and they have made a high number of blocks each game which has helped. James Harden has been instrumental in defense all season long for the Nets, and although he is sidelined right now, he is still trying his best to influence Brooklyn’s defense.
It does feel like the Nets’ hopes fall firmly on Kevin Durant’s shoulders right now. However, his scores have been on the slide in the last three games, and the Nets will be hoping they see much less of this and more of this going forward.
As already mentioned, the Nets will be without Harden and Irving tonight, as well as long-time absentee Dinwiddie.
Betting Pick for Bucks vs. Nets Game Five
I’m convinced this game will go against the trend and go over the betting total tonight. It’s too low for two great offenses not to take advantage of. They have also combined for a total of 222-points in the playoffs to date. However, I have to stay strong to my statistical routes, and that isn’t the play according to the trends.
The clear pick has to be the Nets with the handicap. They have a formidable record at home and have beaten the Bucks on all three occasions they have met in Brooklyn this year. The Bucks have also struggled to cover the spread on numerous occasions recently and throughout the season, where the Nets have been a good thing when betting on the spread. Yes, the Nets are missing two key players, but the spread wouldn’t be four points if they were playing.