Milwaukee Bucks vs. Los Angeles Lakers Pick
Milwaukee Bucks (47-14 SU, 35-23-3 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (30-31 SU, 26-33-2 ATS)
When: Friday, March 1st, 2019 –10:30 PM ET
Where: Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIL -4.5 / LAL +4.5
Power Rankings: Los Angeles +12
Takeaways From Milwaukee and Los Angeles’ Most Recent Games
The Bucks enter red-hot as they have won their last six contests overall. Most recently, the Deer suffered a scared as they edged out the pesky Sacramento Kings by a score of 141-140 on Wednesday in California’s Capital City. Overtime was required to declare a winner. The Bucks closed as a 6.5-point favorite and thus produce an against the spread loss. Overall, Milwaukee is 1-3 ATS in their previous four games.
The Lakers enter into this contest off a 125-119 win against the New Orleans Pelicans in the City of Angels on Wednesday. In doing so, the Lakers snapped a two-game losing streak and avenged a loss against a team they played just four days before. The victory also enabled the Lakers to cover as a 5.5-point favorite which also snapped a two-game skid against the spread for Los Angeles.
How the Public is Betting the Milwaukee and Los Angeles Game
61% of the consensus like the Bucks as the road favorite. As a result of an initial lean on Milwaukee as a four-point favorite at the open of this market, we have seen the market move upward by half of a point to place the Bucks presently as a 4.5-point favorite.
This is the first meeting of the season between these two teams. The last time they met in March of 2018, LeBron was not a Laker. However, the game was a donnybrook as overtime was required to declare a winner. Milwaukee got the victory in a 124-122 thriller to earn their third consecutive win against Los Angeles. The Bucks also earned their second consecutive cover against the Lakers as they closed as a one-point favorite at tip-off.
Heading into this contest both teams enter with no prevailing injury concerns to key personnel.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
Both teams enter into this cross-conference match-up on two days’ rest. Milwaukee finds itself in the midst of a five-game road trip that begun on Monday and will conclude this Monday in Phoenix against the Suns. As for the Lakers, they are on the back end of a two game home-stand in Los Angeles before venturing out to the desert tomorrow to face the Phoenix Suns.
Can The Bucks Bury The Lakers?
The Bucks own many advantages stepping into this game. The most notable is the offensive prowess of Milwaukee compared to their counterparts. The Bucks are second in the NBA in scoring as they average 117.4 points per game. The Lakers sit 13th in the NBA producing an average of 112.4 points per game. This in itself creates a potential five-point swing to Milwaukee. Another key advantage for the Bucks rests also in the defensive side of the game. Milwaukee as they own a defense that allows just 107.8 points per game (8th in the NBA). Contrarily, Los Angeles sits 23rd in the NBA with a defense that gives up 113.6 points per game. Lastly, the Bucks are the best team in the NBA in terms of opponent free throw percentage as the opposition hits just 74.2% of their attempts. Los Angeles however is the worst team in the NBA in free throw percentage as they allow the opposition to hit an accommodating 78.8% of their free throw shots. All three of these advantages are significant edges that if exploited properly could lead to a Milwaukee rout of Los Angeles.
Can Los Angeles Keep This Game Close To Test Milwaukee’s Resolve?
The Bucks have a tendency to blow teams out when they play them out. Milwaukee is 34-4 SU in contests settled by ten points or more. In three-point games, the Bucks are just a .500 basketball team at 5-5 SU. In games settled by more than three points but less than ten points, the Deer are 8-5 SU which again makes them appear far more beatable if the game is kept within reach. The market would suggest that the Lakers are capable of doing just that. Furthermore, Los Angeles is 5-2 SU in games settled by three points or less and they are 13-12 SU in games settled in the three to ten-point range. As a result of these narratives, the upset possibility in this contest is significant. In addition to putting this game on the shoulders of their franchise player LeBron James, the Lakers will look to their bench where they own an edge over the Bucks. Los Angeles’ bench produces 34.6 points per game which is 3.2 points better on average than Milwaukee’s 31.4 bench points per game.
A noteworthy betting trend in this series is the narrative that the Underdog is 7-3 ATS in the previous ten meetings between both sides.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Los Angeles +160 (Money Line)
Several analysts and “experts” have suggested earlier this week that the Lakers let the ship sail on this season and write off any hope of making the playoffs as the eight seed in the West. In fact, some have even gone as far as too say they should shut LeBron down for the year. They have about as much chance of winning the championship as the Cleveland Browns to in SB54. I say to those people, good luck telling LeBron that. As a result of that bulletin board material, LBJ responded with 33 points and 10 assists to lead the Lakers to victory against New Orleans on Wednesday. However, the naysayers will say that the Lakers are taking a step up in class here against the Bucks. While undoubtedly the Deer are an elite team, the stock being so low in the Lakers at the moment makes it an ideal time to back them. As a result of overall deflated perception, we can get the Lakers at the best price. Undoubtedly, the Bucks are a potential NBA Finals team but we should not forget that they are facing a man that has been to the Finals for eight straight seasons. LeBron also has a penchant for playing up to premium competition. The King will be a big enough factor in this game to carry the Lakers not only to a cover but an upset win over the team with the best record in the East. In doing so, LeBron will offer a polite reminder to the Eastern Conference and any critics as to why he ruled it with an iron fist for nearly a decade.