Bucks vs. Bulls: Milwaukee Seeking Revenge, 12th Straight Win

Andrew O'Connor-Watts previews Thursday's NBA game between the Milwaukee Buck and the Chicago Bulls, including a betting prediction.

Bucks vs. Bulls Odds

Bucks Odds -7
Bulls Odds +7
Over/Under 229.5
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Milwaukee Bucks play the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night in the third meeting between the teams this season.

The Bulls lead the season series 2-0, but have struggled lately and are looking to avoid a six-game losing streak.

Meanwhile, the Bucks have been on a tear. Milwaukee has won 11-straight and is hoping to make it 12 before the All-Star break.

Let’s break down the matchup and I’ll share my prediction for the Milwaukee Bucks vs. Chicago Bulls.

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Milwaukee Bucks

After starting the season relatively slow by their own standards, the Bucks have started to come alive offensively, especially on the road.

Their defensive identity has hardly waivered all season, but until recently, Milwaukee had struggled to score efficiently.

This change in offensive identity can largely be attributed to Khris Middleton’s full-time return on Jan. 22. Up to that point, Middleton had missed all but seven games.

Prior to Middleton’s return, the Bucks had the worst road Offensive Rating in the league (107), according to Statmuse, and were 8-12-3 ATS.

However, since then, the Bucks look like a completely different team as they are 5-0 ATS away from Fiserv Forum and rank second in the league in road Offensive Rating (125.2), trailing only the Portland Trail Blazers (128.2).

Middleton’s presence helps Milwaukee’s half-court offense more than anything. On the season, the Bucks rank 20th in Half-Court Offensive Efficiency (96.8), but since Jan. 22, their Half-Court Offensive Efficiency has shot up to 112.1, according to Cleaning the Glass.

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls have found success against the Bucks this season, going 2-0 straight up and ATS.

However, the Bulls find themselves in a rough place at this point in the season. Chicago is on a five-game losing streak and has failed to cover in all five losses.

During the streak, the Bulls have the fourth-worst Net Rating in the league (-9.1), according to NBA Advanced Stats. Their Net Rating leads only the Rockets, Spurs and Pistons — three teams that are all but tanking at this point in the season.

DeMar DeRozan is questionable for Thursday’s game with a Grade 1 thigh strain and didn’t travel with the team to Indiana. While it doesn’t look like a serious injury, I’m guessing Billy Donovan and the Bulls will opt to rest DeRozan in the last game before the All-Star break to avoid reaggravating the injury and giving him even more time to rest up and get better.

Bucks-Bulls Pick

Even if DeRozan plays, I can only look to the Bucks in this game. This is generally a dangerous time for betting NBA games with the All-Star break just around the corner, but I think the Bucks are in a unique spot to give this game the effort it deserves.

Milwaukee has already lost twice to the Bulls, who are in total disarray and will likely punt this game on the second night of a back-to-back.

On top of double revenge, the Bucks are on an 11-game win streak (7-4 ATS) and can make it 12 straight heading into the break.

I think the Bucks come out with a vengeance and I’ll take them down to -9.5.

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