Game 4: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Detroit Pistons Pick
Milwaukee Bucks (63-22 SU, 50-31-4 ATS) vs. Detroit Pistons (41-44 SU, 41-41-3 ATS)
When: Monday, April 22nd, 2019 – 8:00 PM ET
Where: Little Caesar’s Arena – Detroit, MI
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIL -12 / DET +12
Power Rankings: Detroit +10
Takeaways From Game Three
The Pistons welcomed stand-out forward Blake Griffin back in to the fold in Game Three but that didn’t stop the Deer from galloping to a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. As a 9.5-point favorite, the Bucks cruised past the Pistons by a score of 119-103 to extend their winning streak against Detroit to seven games while also improving their ATS record over this span to 6-0-1. The result also has many Bucks fans getting their brooms ready for a potential sweep as a result.
How the Public is Betting the Milwaukee- Detroit Game
The public has taken a liking here to the Bucks as the double-digit road favorite as 58% of the betting public are inclined into the lay the points with the Deer. As a result, the market has ascended by 1.5 points from the open where the Bucks were initially laying 10.5 points to the Pistons.
The Historical / Betting Trends
I’ve highlighted the Bucks dominance in this series overall as of late but there are also betting trends of use to Over/Under takers. The Over is 4-1 ATS in the previous five meetings between both sides.
There are no notable injury concerns expressed by either team heading into Game Four.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
Both teams have had two nights to prepare for this contest. For Detroit, should they survive Game Four they will find themselves back in Milwaukee on Wednesday for Game Five against a Milwaukee team that boasts the best home record in the NBA (35-8 SU). The Pistons will not be back in their own stead unless they somehow force a Game Six by pulling off two wins in a row despite being defeated by double-digit margins in all three of their losses against Milwaukee in this series.
Can The Bucks Continue To Outshoot Pistons?
The cornerstone of Milwaukee’s success against Detroit in Game Three was their proficiency from the field while also inhibiting the Pistons’ field goal percentage. In Game Three, Milwaukee hit a remarkable 48.8% of their field goals while Detroit was held to a field goal percentage of 38.5%. The Bucks will once again deploy this strategy in Game Four as this has been a trope of Milwaukee basketball all-season long. The Bucks are the best team in the NBA in opponent field goal percentage (43.3%) while they sit third overall in field goal percentage themselves at 47.6%. Moreover, Milwaukee’s offense is far more productive in terms of scoring compared to their divisional rivals. The Bucks own the best scoring offense in the NBA (118.1 points per game) while Detroit finished the season 25th in scoring at 107 points per game. Milwaukee’s offense has averaged 120 points per game in this series so you can expect the Bucks to rinse, wash, and repeat here in Game Four with letting their offense lead the way to the sweep.
Can Detroit’s Bench Game and Turnover Advantages Enable Them To Steal A Win?
In the tale of the tape, the Pistons come in with two advantages that they can potentially utilize to compete with the Bucks: turnovers and bench play. Detroit’s bench averages 35.7 points per match compared to Milwaukee’s bench which averages 32 points per game. Should this become a game that is competitive where bench operations become a factor, the Pistons may have an angle to work here. In Game Three, Detroit won the turnover battle by considerable margins as Milwaukee turned the ball over 16 times while the Pistons did so on just nine occasions. Should Detroit win the turnover battle again in similar regard, the Pistons will have an opportunity to be competitive. Milwaukee is one of the most efficient teams in the NBA in offensive efficiency as they score 111.5 points per 100 possessions (3rd overall) while the Pistons sit 22nd in the league averaging 106.1 points per 100 possessions. Should both outfits perform accordingly Charles and Kenny will have the Pistons in their next “Gon Fishin” segment.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Detroit +12
Will the Pistons get swept? Absolutely. I am not going to advocate for Milwaukee beating Detroit by virtue of a “Gentleman’s Sweep”, I am here to make an argument solely for why Detroit will cover as they take their curtain call. Throughout this series, it has been reported that the sportsbooks seemingly don’t know what number they can offer with the Pistons to get people to back them. Why? Because this is clearly the biggest mismatch of all the First Round match-ups. Be that as it may, there are some that would argue that the Bucks are overvalued in this spot. That position is certainly warranted as the Bucks are prone for an overlay by virtue of their dominance both straight up and against the spread in this series dating back to the regular season. As a general rule of thumb, Milwaukee outscores opponents on the road by an average of 5.9 points. With respect to this narrative, the Bucks may find themselves spotting more points than they should regardless of what transpired in Game Three in MoTown. Given the fact Detroit is more likely to be taking back inflated points I’ll play it accordingly. The Pistons will give the Bucks all they have to avert the sweep but it will be to no avail. However, I do think Detroit will have the “moral victory” of not getting blown out this time around. I have Milwaukee winning this game by five and therefore I recommend taking Detroit at +12.