New Orleans Pelicans vs. Milwaukee Bucks Betting Preview – NBA, February 25, 2021
Both of these teams need the win tonight for very different reasons. The Pelicans are clinging on to the hopes of making the playoffs, while the Bucks are trying desperately to keep in touch with the Nets and the 76ers at the top of the Eastern Conference.
The Pelicans have a good record over the Bucks recently and have won the previous three encounters. The most recent of those wins was a little over three weeks ago when they won a very entertaining game 131-126. New Orleans had a massive 23 point lead at halftime, but they almost blew it towards the end. The record in Milwaukee has been much closer, with each team winning three of the previous six games.
However, over the previous ten meetings, the Bucks have averaged five more points than the Pelicans.
Here are the game odds, my team analysis, and betting prediction.
Pelicans vs. Bucks Odds
I knew the Bucks would be favorites tonight, but I never imagined it would be so clear-cut as the bookmakers have made it. The last time they met, the spread was seven, and the Pelicans made the bookmakers pay. Will they do it again tonight?
The Pelicans know that it will take a significant effort to make the playoffs, but they are still fighting away in hope. A run of one win in six games damaged their chances, but they have continued to battle back by winning their last two matches. They embodied that battling spirit more than ever in their hard-fought, overtime win against the Celtics recently. They came back from 16 points down at halftime and even entered the fourth quarter 13 points behind.
Their biggest downfall has been their form on the road this season which reads 5-10 from their 15 games played to date. If they are going to win this one, they will have to do something they have failed to do all season, and that is win back to back away games. They should be reasonably confident if their last away game is anything to go by as they thumped the Grizzlies by 31 points.
Here are the latest betting trends for New Orleans:
|ATS||The Pelicans are 2-6 in their previous eight games.|
|Total||Their last nine games have all gone over the betting total.|
|Total||Only one of their previous nine road trips has failed to go over the points total.|
|Total||Seven of their last eight games played in Milwaukee have gone over the betting total.|
|SU||They have a good record against teams from the East, having won five of their previous seven matches against them.|
|ATS||New Orleans is 2-5 in their last seven games against teams based in the Central Division.|
Over the points, total jumps off of the page at you here.
It’s, therefore, no surprise to see that New Orleans has a great offense this season that has rebounded incredibly well throughout. However, they haven’t always needed to do much rebounding, of course, as they are shooting at 48% this season. However, they haven’t been successful from the free-throw line for some reason or another as they have the third-lowest shooting percentage from there in the league.
Their defense is lacking, and although they have rebounded well at times, it hasn’t been enough to pick up the slack from their terrible zonal marking. This has also meant that they don’t tend to make many blocks each night, which also needs to improve drastically.
The Pelicans have an excellent disciplinary record, but at times you would like to see them dig deep and get a little nasty as they did against the Celtics recently, which paid off for them.
While you have somewhat to admire their gung-ho, entertaining style of basketball, unfortunately, it isn’t going to win you a championship.
Forward Zion Williamson is buzzing right now after being selected for the upcoming All-Star game this season. Hopefully, that feeling and confidence can rub off on his teammates tonight.
The Pelicans have no injury worries coming into tonight’s game.
The Bucks have well and truly left their worst run of the season behind them as they have gone on to win their previous three games. Before that, they had lost five in a row, which has seen them drop down to third in the Eastern Conference race. Those three wins came against teams outside the playoff places, so the victories’ credentials have been scrutinized.
They have a fantastic record at home, having won 12 and lost four of their 16 fixtures. This includes winning the last three in a row.
Here are the latest betting trends for Milwaukee:
|Total||Ten of their previous 15 matches have gone over the points total.|
|Total||The total has gone over in eight of their last nine games against the Pelicans.|
|Total||Only two of their previous eight home matches have failed to go over the betting total.|
|ATS||Milwaukee is 6-13 in their last 19 games against Western Conference opponents.|
|ATS||They have lost their previous five games against teams from the Southwest Division.|
|SU||The Bucks have won 13 and lost five of their last 18 matches played in February.|
|SU||Thursday nights have been incredibly kind to them as they have only lost four of their previous 20 games played on that day of the week.|
The above statistics show you how well the Bucks have played this season, but it also highlights that the bookmakers have overestimated them continuously. Like the Pelicans, they are usually involved in high-scoring games so expect another one here tonight.
The Bucks play high octane, free-flowing basketball that matches up offensively to anyone in the league, especially at home, where they have the number one offense in the country.
They are the number one rebounding team in the NBA this season, but they haven’t often had to rely on that, not in attack anyway where they are shooting at a little under 49%. Their three-point shooting has also been impeccable this season, making them extremely difficult to defend against. Oddly they haven’t shot well from the free-throw line just like their opponents tonight.
However, their defense does need some work if they are to go all the way this season, as it has been quite erratic at times. They are defending deep, which helps their rebounding game, but it has left them open at times, giving away easy shots from distance.
The good news is they have defended better at home, which is why they have done so well playing in Milwaukee this season.
The Bucks are also a well-disciplined team, so we can expect an excellent clean game tonight.
Their Greek God, Giannis Antetokounmpo, has been in inspiring form since returning from injury, and he has been unplayable at times. Looking at this recent Tweet from him, I think it’s safe to say that he is looking fully fit and showing no effects of his injury.
Speaking of players who aren’t fully fit, we come to Jrue Holliday. He has missed the last eight games for the Bucks through Covid-19 proto regulations, and his absence has hurt the Bucks. However, he returned to the locker room recently, suggesting that he may be eligible to return soon.
He remains a doubt for this game even if he is cleared to play, as it will take him a few days to get fully fit. Milwaukee will also miss the services of Adams and Nwora tonight.
Pelicans vs. Bucks Pick
There is no getting away from the fact that there should be plenty of points on display tonight. However, 240 is an enormous total, and although I am inclined to think that it will go over, I can’t bring myself to take on such a monumental total. With the Bucks likely to miss Holiday again tonight, I have to take the Pelicans to win with the handicap. Their offense is too good not to get close enough to the Bucks.