Nets vs. Bucks Odds
|Time||Wednesday | 7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
Milwaukee enters this game 2-0 ATS and SU, while the Nets are coming in 1-2 ATS and SU. The Bucks haven’t played since Saturday, so it will be interesting to see if Milwaukee’s two-day rest advantage over Brooklyn gives them an edge.
Let’s break down how these two teams have started the year in our betting preview, picks and prediction for Nets vs Bucks on Wednesday.
An Offensive Showing by the Nets’ Defense
The Nets have disappointed thus far this season, losing as favorites in the home-opener, barely beating a Raptors team at home, and getting dominated by Memphis on the road to begin their season. The starting five of Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving, Royce O’Neale, Kevin Durant, and Nic Claxton has struggled in particular.
We are working with small sample sizes early in the season, but in 73 possessions together, this lineup is scoring just 97.3 points per 100 possessions but allowing 128 points per 100 on defense, a -30.7 differential. That defensive mark leaves them in the bottom 1 percentile for points per 100 defense.
There were always concerns with two non-shooters like Claxton and Simmons sharing the floor, but the optimistic case was that at least the defense would be solid. This has not been the case through three games, and the concerns over the offense are irrelevant when the defense has been this bad.
The defense has struggled in pretty much every key area, as they are 27th in both half-court and transition points per 100. They haven’t been able to rebound the ball, either, as they are dead-last in opponent offensive rebound rate, allowing 39.6% of shots to be rebounded by the offense. Only two other teams are even above 33% for some context on how bad that is.
Granted, they have played an extremely difficult schedule of opposing offensive rebounding teams so far, as all three of their opponents ranked top-5 in 2021-2022 offensive rebound rate. This number should improve as they start playing some teams that are less physical, but they might not be getting a break with Milwaukee. The Bucks ranked 13th in offensive rebound rate in 2021-2022 and are known for being physical.
Bucks Banged Up and Slowing Down
The Bucks have begun the year 2-0, but they have played a much easier schedule than the Nets. They currently rank first in adjusted defensive rating and first in points allowed per 100 possessions (97.9). Their offense has been much less-impressive, as they rank 25th in adjusted offensive rating despite playing two defenses that bottom-10 defenses to start the year.
The Bucks have been without two of their best shooters, with Khris Middleton and Pat Connaughton out due to injury, so it’s not surprising we have seen their offensive efficiency drop. Their pace has also significantly dropped, as they are currently 26th in the league in pace after ranking fourth last season.
One thing that has not changed is their shot-profile, as they are still taking plenty of threes. They rank third in the NBA taking 41.6% of their shots from three so far after taking 39.8% of their shots from 3 in 2021-2022. Closing out to shooters and limiting 3-point attempts will be a key for the Nets in this one.
The Bucks also will look to push the ball off of misses as they rank sixth in transition frequency so far this season. This could be a major edge for them, as Brooklyn currently ranks 27th in transition points per 100 according to Cleaning the Glass.
On paper, Brooklyn has a lot more talent than Milwaukee right now, but it is tough to back them given their plethora of major issues on both sides of the ball.
The Nets did beat the Bucks as underdogs in the preseason two weeks ago, but obviously, regular season basketball is an entirely different animal than preseason. Ben Simmons actually did a great job on Giannis, who finished shooting just 6-for-21 for 24 points. The Nets held the Bucks to 97 points and posted 107 points themselves.
I think the under may hold some value at 233.5, as these teams are both quietly playing at much slower paces than they did last year. The Nets rank 24th and the Bucks rank 26th in pace, according to dunksandthrees.com. I know I documented how bad the Nets have been on the glass before, but the Bucks haven’t been attacking the offensive glass as much this year, as they currently rank 28th in offensive rebound rate. The Nets should be able to fare better on the glass tonight.
Another thing leading me toward an under is the Bucks’ offensive numbers. The Bucks have struggled offensively despite playing two weak defenses. The Nets have struggled defensively, but they have faced two top-5 offenses based off of points per 100 possessions (MEM and NO). I think the Nets defense could look improved against a Bucks team that is lacking consistent perimeter shooting outside of Grayson Allen.
While the Bucks have struggled offensively, they have been carried by an elite defense that ranks first in points per 100 and adjusted defensive rating. Their defense has looked better as solid defenders like Jevon Carter and Wesley Matthews are earning more minutes due to the injury situation. I expect them to be able to contain Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Kyrie especially may struggle, as he should see a steady dose of Jrue Holiday mixed in with some Carter on him all night.
Combine all of these factors with the slow pace and the familiarity these two teams have with each other, and I think that 233.5 is too many points for what should be a competitive game with both teams playing hard on defense given the history between them.
Take the under 233.5 in Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
Pick: Under 233.5 (-107) at PointsBet