Bucks vs. 76ers Odds
|Over/Under||225 (-110 / -110)|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
Two juggernauts face off tonight in what could be an Eastern Conference Finals preview. Former MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, Giannis Antetokounmpo, leads the Milwaukee Bucks against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Embiid looks to give Antetokounmpo a run for his money as he makes his own MVP campaign after falling short to Nikola Jokic last season. Giannis and Embiid are the second and third favorites to win MVP, respectively at various books. After Embiid’s showing against the Celtics on opening day, it seems clear that the Sixers will take some time to adjust to their new roster changes.
The Bucks are coming off a disappointing 0-5 preseason, but have a good head-to-head record against the spread (12-9) when Philadelphia over the past six seasons.
Let’s jump into how to bet this game.
Bucks Waiting for the Regular Season?
Milwaukee holds a clear advantage over the Sixers in the head-to-head ATS matchup, but neither of these teams are quite the same since they last met.
The Bucks will be without their second-best player, all-star wing Khris Middleton. Meanwhile, the 76ers have added depth and high-end talent to their roster with the additions of James Harden, P.J. Tucker, De’Anthony Melton, Montrezl Harrell, and Danuel House Jr.
Harden played in only one game against the Bucks last season, a game in which the Bucks won and covered and the game went over.
I don’t put too much stock into the preseason, especially for title-contending teams, but the Bucks looked lost in their 0-5 campaign. Their lack of preseason success could be attributed to head coach Mike Budenholzer’s rotations and his emphasis on playing time for role players and bench guys.
An argument could also be made for health. Without Middleton and Pat Connaughton, the Bucks lack scoring, shooting and size at the wing position.
Even still, their inability to come up with a single preseason win is cause for some concern. The other two winless teams of the 2022-23 preseason were the Detroit Pistons — a team that has received a lot of love as an under-the-radar team — and the Charlotte Hornets.
I don’t think the Pistons will win too many games, but they should be fun. The Hornets might be participating in the Scoot Henderson/Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes by 2023. Not great company to be in if you’re Milwaukee.
According to Statmuse.com, the Milwaukee Bucks are a mediocre 5-5 ATS in their last 10 regular season games, although one of those ATS wins was against Philadelphia — the first and only game the Bucks have played against Harden as a Sixer.
Last season, the Milwaukee Bucks were only 39-43 ATS (46.8%) overall, but 27-20 ATS (57.5%) on the road. As a dog, they were 7-13 ATS (35%), and 6-11 (35.3%) as a road dog according to TeamRankings.com.
Considering the total, the Bucks generally trend towards the under, with overs hitting at just 47.9% last season. Bucks totals were 23-24 (48.9%), 7-13 as a dog (35%), and 7-10 as a road dog (41.2%).
And that jibes with a trend I stumbled across. According to Bet Labs, in the first 5-7 games of the season, when a total is 220 or higher, the under is 128-93-1 (57.9%). In the beginning of the season, bookmakers that expect a high-scoring game, over-inflate the line because the public bettors love wagering on overs no matter the price.
I mean, who wants to watch a game and root for everyone missing shots?
76ers Have Struggled in This Matchup
James Harden will run the Sixers’ offense against the Bucks for only the second time since joining Philadelphia in February via trade — a win-now move that still gives Philly a higher-ceiling team with a shorter championship window as Harden enters his age-33 season.
The Sixers’ offensive and defensive scheme will require a level of attention and discovery that won’t be fully formed in just a few games. What we saw on Tuesday, was the Sixers get out-hustled by the Boston Celtics and that showed up in the stat sheet in a few ways, namely fastbreak points, which the Celtics dominated 24-2.
Embiid looked tired at times and we didn’t see a dominant performance from the 28-year-old big man. Part of that could be attributed to the presence of Al Horford — who has owned Embiid when guarding him in the past — but Noah Vonleh also got the defensive assignment when Horford was on the bench and Embiid failed to capitalize.
But we can only get a little information from one game, so let’s look to the recent past for some more insight.
In their last 10 games, the 76ers are 2-7 ATS, according to Statmuse.com.
From TeamRankings.com, Philly was 38-43-1 ATS (46.9%) and 21-26 ATS (43.5%) at home. As a favorite they were 30-34-1 ATS (46.9%), and as a home favorite 17-20 (46.0%).
While fairly inconclusive when looking at last season’s trends, when looking at their last 10 head-to-head matchups, the Bucks have a clear trend of dominance against the 76ers at 7-3 ATS.
With regards to the total, the Sixers were 39-41-2 to the over (48.8%) in the 2021-22 regular season and 20-26-1 (43.5%) at home. As a favorite, the over was 33-30-2 (52.4%), and as a home favorite 15-21-1 to the under (41.7%).
Considering the Bucks are such an under team as well, this should be an easy under play, right? Yes, but there are a few causes for concern.
In the last 10 meetings between the Bucks and the Sixers, the over is 6-4 (60%) and in their last seven meetings in Philadelphia, the over is 6-1 dating back to 2017-18, Embiid’s sophomore season and Giannis’ first All-Star appearance.
I already have a bet on the under 225, but for my official pick, I’m going with the Sixers -4 in this spot. I got this number last night and still see value up to -4.5.
However, that’s where I cut off. I’d make this game line at Sixers -3.5 with Khris Middleton and Pat Connaughton playing, but without them, this line should be closer to Sixers -6. Ultimately, I think the Bucks won’t be as dominant without those two shooters as they have been in past matchups.
Get in quick, as this line is falling fast.