Bucks vs. Hornets Preview: Milwaukee Has Value in Monday Night Rematch

Action Network NBA analyst Kenny Ducey previews how he's betting Monday night's matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Hornets.

Bucks vs. Hornets Odds

Bucks Odds -2
Hornets Odds +2
Over/Under 236.5
Time 7 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

After falling at home on Saturday to the Hornets despite one of the games of the season from Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks will travel to Charlotte in attempt to exact revenge. With some reinforcements potentially on the way, is it time to buy low on the Bucks?

Let’s take a look at the numbers and the matchup below.

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Bucks Bench Should Improve

If you want to pinpoint the reason the Bucks fell to the upstart Hornets on Saturday, look no further than the injury report. Milwaukee was missing its entire backcourt –Jrue Holiday, Donte DiVincenzo, Pat Connaughton, George Hill and Grayson Allen — and without so many players the Bucks produced just five bench points. Five!

Just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Jordan Nwora was 1-for-11 from the field, the bench was 2-for-15 and the team in general hit just 32.4% of its 37 3-point attempts. Despite all that, the Bucks were right in this game and fell by just eight thanks to the efforts of Antetokounmpo, who had his second-best scoring performance of the season 43 points. He has now scored 83 points in two games against Charlotte.

That’s no coincidence. In theory, the Bucks have a massive advantage against Charlotte. The Hornets have allowed a dastardly 44.3% shooting in the paint this year — third-worst in the league — and rank fourth-to-last with 43.5% shooting allowed from mid-range.

Antetokounmpo should continue dominating a weak frontcourt defense, and the Bucks should win the rebounding battle again, as they did in the first two meetings between these teams. That doesn’t leave much work for the rest of the team.

The “rest of the team” should get some assistance here with DiVincenzo now off the injury report and Connaughton questionable — a very notable upgrade in his status.

Hornets Scrappy as Home Underdogs

To the Hornets’ credit, they’ve done everything right in the first two games of this season series, winning on Saturday and falling by just two in Milwaukee back on Dec. 1. Charlotte has its limitations, of course, playing poor defense and lacking size, but for how this roster is constructed you can’t be very upset.

The Hornets have stayed competitive on the glass at the very least, going -7 in the rebounding differential in the two games, and LaMelo Ball has gone 48.7% from the field and totaled 55 points.

There was plenty more potential on Saturday as well. The Hornets won by eight despite shooting just 33.3% from behind the arc and surviving a 3-for-12 shooting night from Gordon Hayward. While some of that was due to Milwaukee’s perennially-strong defense, the Hornets should still experience some level of shooting variance on Monday.

Betting against Charlotte has been a scary thought this season as well. The Hornets are 13-3 against the spread at the Spectrum Center and 8-2 as home underdogs.

Bucks-Hornets Pick

While the above trends are somewhat terrifying, there’s been no better time to back the Bucks than as road favorites. They’re 10-4 ATS when giving points away from home and also come into this one on something of a hot streak with seven wins in their last 10 and six ATS wins over that span.

I think Antetokounmpo will be too much to overcome here for Charlotte. There is almost no chance he doesn’t dominate in the scoring department given the state of the Hornets’ interior defense, and if DiVincenzo and Connaughton are back his supporting cast’s contributions should total enough to get Milwaukee across the finish line.

Pick: Bucks -2