Detroit Pistons vs. Milwaukee Bucks Pick
Detroit Pistons (41-41, 41-38-3 ATS) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (60-22 SU, 47-31-4 ATS)
When: Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Point Spread: DET +12.5 / MIL -12.5 (Sportsbetting.ag)
Total: O/U 219.5
Last Time Out: Detroit beat New York 115-89; Milwaukee lost to Oklahoma City 127-116
Playoffs Are Where Dreams Come True:
The playoffs are here, meaning we finally may get some competitive basketball. With so much on the line, there is sure to be actual defense played and maybe teams won’t jack up threes as soon as they cross half court. I could be wrong, but for the sake of entertainment, I hope each game is somewhat close.
For this matchup, we have the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks taking on the 8th seeded Detroit Pistons. Each team has had three days of rest to prepare for this game, so let’s see how they have fared this season when given that much time off. For the Pistons, they are 3-1 straight up and 1-3 against the spread when given three or more days off. As for the Bucks, they are 4-0 straight up and 1-3 against the spread in the same situation. Milwaukee is also an amazing home team, which means my initial lean is on the Bucks to win and cover given that they are 33-8 SU and 23-16-2 ATS at home.
One notable injury to mention is Giannis Antetokounmpo. He is dealing with a calf injury but is listed as probable for game one. Another injury to at least mention is that of Malcolm Brogdon. This is not a new injury, but Brogdon will be out until at least the middle of May, so the Bucks are going to have to find a way to make up for his absence.
Don’t Stop Believing:
The Detroit Pistons are back in the playoffs, and they clinched their spot by winning their final game of the season. Now that they are in, they must listen to the wise words of Journey and, “Don’t Stop Believing.” They are up against a huge test, given that the Bucks currently have the best record in all of basketball. On a side note, in the NHL playoffs, the Columbus Blue Jackets (8th seed) are now up two games to none on the Tampa Bay Lightning (1st seed) so Detroit can use this as motivation that they can win as well. Yes, I know this is an entirely different sport, but it is a similar situation given the current matchups.
So, I bet you want to know why this Detroit team can give the Bucks a fight? Well first off, we need to look at their most significant contributors. Blake Griffin comes to mind when talking about the top scores of the Pistons. Griffin is averaging 24.5 points per game this season and leads the team in this category. Unfortunately, Griffin is currently dealing with an injury and is questionable for this game. If Griffin is unable to play, the Pistons will turn to Andre Drummond. Drummond is averaging 17.3 points per game and 15.6 rebounds per game. But, what really will be important, is the guard play for the Pistons. Reggie Jackson is the only guard that stands out for the Pistons who can make a significant difference. He is averaging 15.4 points per game (3rd on the team), and his ability to guard guys like Eric Bledsoe will be crucial to slowing down the best offensive team in the league.
Another thing the Pistons have going for them is their overall defense. They are allowing 107.3 points per game (11th in the NBA). However, the problem is they are allowing an average of 114.5 points this season in their four meetings with the Bucks. That said, look for the Pistons to tighten up their defense in the early stages of this game in hopes of gaining an advantage.
The Bucks may have clinched the number one seed in the East, but do they have what it takes to avoid an early exit? Now that LeBron and the Cavs have parted ways, it really opens the door for teams like the Bucks in the East. They have been fantastic all year, and their success starts and ends with the MVP candidate, Giannis Antetokounmpo. This man is averaging 27.7 points per game and 12.5 rebounds per game. He has proven he can take over a game at any point, which is why the Bucks are so good. We know Giannis cannot do everything by himself, so another guy to watch is Khris Middleton. He is averaging 18.3 points per game, but in his last 8 games, he is averaging 21.9 points per game. The Bucks will need Middleton to continue playing at an elite level just in case Giannis has an off game or gets into foul trouble early. I could go on and on about this Bucks roster because they are so deep, but to sum things up, the Bucks are miles better than the Pistons, and it will show in the opening minutes of this game.
The Bucks swept the season series and did so in dominating fashion. They beat the Pistons by an average of 14.8 points per game, and I have no reason to believe this game will be any different. Even with the spread set at -12.5 at most sportsbooks, I like the Bucks to start their run to the NBA Finals by blowing out a weak Pistons team. Take the Bucks in this game and expect them to win by a considerable margin.