Knicks vs. Bucks Prediction, Picks
|+172 / -205
|Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.
Here’s everything you need to know about Knicks vs. Bucks on Tuesday, Dec. 5 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.
The New York Knicks advanced as the Eastern Conference Wild Card and earned a matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks in a rematch from the Group Stage. This is a compelling matchup between the dynamic duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard versus Jalen Brunson and the Knicks. Is one of these teams a bit overrated at this point?
Let’s get to our Knicks vs Bucks prediction and pick.
Knicks vs. Bucks Prediction
Pick: Knicks +5
Knicks Betting Outlook
The New York Knicks are one of the most try-hard teams in the NBA under the coaching of Tom Thibodeau. This is an interesting mix of circumstances as Thibodeau’s teams have struggled in the postseason due to a variety of different issues, whether it is flaming out from playing heavy regular season minutes, a lack of adjustments throughout a series, or that the team is just maxed out because Thibodeau has squeezed every ounce of talent out of the roster. Here, it’s early in the regular season and the Knicks have one significant edge on the majority of the league — continuity.
The Knicks have returned the majority of their roster from last year and having that level of continuity this early in the season is invaluable. Aside from Donte DiVincenzo, the majority of the Knicks’ rotation played together last year and DiVincenzo has excellent rapport with Brunson and Josh Hart from their time together at Villanova.
The Knicks are fifth in Net Rating (+5.7) and their Offensive Rating (115.8) is 11th, but their defense is fourth (110.1), per Basketball Reference. The Knicks are the best rebounding team in the league with a league-leading 53.2% Rebounding Percentage, per NBA Advanced Stats and those boards cut down on their opponents’ second-chance opportunities and give the Knicks extra possessions. This is a significant edge they will have over the Bucks, who have dropped from a 52.1% Rebound% last season to just 49.8% this season.
Bucks Betting Outlook
The Bucks head into this game fairly healthy, but will be without Pat Connaughton (ankle). Milwaukee will miss his presence, but this game will ultimately come down to their superstar duo of Antetokounmpo and Lillard.
The Bucks are 14-6, but are ranked just 11th in Net Rating (+2.9). Their offense has improved as the season has progressed, but their defense has been significantly below average with a 115.9 Defensive Rating (21st). Guards have torched the Bucks, who have needed to maintain their offensive output in order to compensate for their defense. This sets up for a big game for Jalen Brunson, who dropped 45 on the Bucks in early November. Brunson’s points prop at 25.5 is absolutely worth a look.
The Bucks have been getting torched from the corner and the midrange, both areas the Knicks can take advantage of. DiVincenzo (57%), Brunson (57%), RJ Barrett (43%), Hart (42%), Julius Randle (40%) and Quentin Grimes (39%) all shoot exceptionally well from the corner. Also, if they can stretch the floor, it will open up the lane more for Brunson.
The Bucks will need to rely on Antetokounmpo and Lillard, who have been dynamic of late. Antetokounmpo is averaging 30.9 points, 12.0 rebounds and six assists over his past 10 games. Lillard is averaging 27.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 8.7 assists over that same timeframe. Lillard’s assists line of 6.5 is enticing as it’s a number he’s cleared in seven of his past 10 games.
Knicks vs. Bucks Picks, Odds
This matchup pits together two teams that had dramatically different offseasons. One focused on strengthening its core, the other dramatically altered the structure and depth of the team. Ultimately, at this juncture in the season, the continuity will prove to be critical.
The Knicks played the Bucks tough in their most recent meeting and lost 110-105. New York was dramatically outscored from 3-point range (60-30), despite taking the same number of attempts. The Knicks dominated on the glass in that matchup and outrebounded Milwaukee 56-41. The Bucks had some incredible variance go their way in that game, but I expect the Knicks to lock in and straighten up those miscues under Thibodeau.
This spread is overrating the Bucks based on their star power. I like the Knicks to keep this close and possibly win outright.