Detroit Pistons vs. Milwaukee Bucks Pick
Detroit Pistons (41-41, 41-38-3 ATS Regular Season) (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS Playoffs) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (60-22 SU, 47-31-4 ATS Regular Season) (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS Playoffs)
When: Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 – 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
By: Matt Lowry, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: DET +15 / MIL -15 (Bovada Sportsbook)
Total: O/U 212
Last Time Out: Milwaukee beat Detroit 121-86. The Bucks lead the series 1-0.
Another Playoff Upset:
As game two’s start to get under way, we have already had a monstrous upset. In case you missed it, the Warriors lost a game. The Clippers were down by 31 points and came back to beat the Warriors in Golden State. Maybe seeing a win like this will motivate the Pistons to go out and put up a fight instead of fold like a beach chair in the first half.
Speaking of a 1 vs. 8 matchup, the Bucks will be looking for a commanding 2-0 lead. Both teams will be playing this game on two days of rest, so it is important to see how each team performs in this scenario. Starting with Detroit, they are 11-3 straight up and against the spread. The Bucks are 11-5 straight up and 8-5-3 against the spread.
The most notable injury to report is that of Blake Griffin. Griffin is dealing with soreness in his left knee and is listed as doubtful for this game. Because of the injury to Griffin, my initial lean is on the Bucks to blowout the Pistons in game two.
Detroit Blow Out City:
The Pistons just looked lost in the opening game of this series. Maybe this is because they made the playoffs on the final day of the regular season or maybe they are just that out-manned. The potential loss of Blake Griffin is huge for the Pistons because he is their leading scorer and he has played the Bucks extremely well this season. I ran some numbers just for comparison sake and found that Griffin out-scored Giannis this year in the regular season. Griffin scored 97 total points in the four regular season games with the Bucks. That is an average of 24.3 points per game. Meanwhile, Giannis scored 83 total points against the Pistons (not including the playoffs), an average of 20.8 points per game. So, with Griffin likely out for game two, what can the Pistons do to stand up to the Bucks?
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The biggest key for this Pistons team is forcing turnovers. They need to take the Bucks out of their offensive sets and score on fast break chances. In game one, they forced 10 turnovers, so we know they can take the ball away. The problem is, this led to just 11 fast break points. The Pistons know they cannot go pound for pound with the Bucks, given the size of each team. Therefore, scoring on fast break opportunities will be their best friend and should prevent Milwaukee from going on a huge run. Speaking of a run, the Pistons need a hot start. In game one, they found themselves down big, like within four minutes, they were down by double-digits. They need a boost to their offense, or just something to give them confidence in the early stages of the game.
The player I believe can provide this boost is Luke Kennard. Kennard came off the bench as the leading scorer in game one. He dropped 21 points on 8 of 14 from the field and 4 of 5 from the three-point line. To be honest, Kennard looked like the only guy out there who could score. Now Kennard is certainly not the best player on the Pistons or even in the top three, but he does have one thing going for him. This man can knock down the three. Just in the past three games, he has gone 13 of 22 (59%) from behind the arc. If he can continue to have the hot hand, look for the Pistons to put up a fight because of their three-point shooting.
Keep the Pressure On:
There is not a whole lot to say about this Bucks team given how dominant they were in the opening game. To keep it short and sweet, the Bucks will look to play at the same intensity level and will rely on Giannis as they have all year.
To recap, Giannis was not only the leading scorer in game one with 24 points, but he also grabbed 17 rebounds. The Bucks can use this to their advantage because say the Pistons decide to double-team the future MVP and then boom, he kicks it out to Khris Middleton for a wide open three. So basically, what I am hinting at is Giannis needs to continue to get everybody involved on his team. There is a reason why all five starters scored in double-figures and that is because the Pistons do not have the ability to guard Giannis one on one. If they keep the Pistons on their toes and have five or six guys scoring like it is nothing, the Bucks will put this game to bed in the first half.
Even as 15-point favorites at most sportsbooks, I love the Bucks in this game. Their roster is much deeper than the Pistons and they will manhandle them in game two. Take the Bucks to win in a blowout and send the Pistons back to Detroit down 2-0.
Free NBA Pick: Milwaukee Bucks -15.5
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