Milwaukee Bucks vs. Philadelphia 76ers Pick
Milwaukee Bucks (58-20 SU, 46-28-4 ATS) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (49-29 SU, 36-42 ATS)
When: Thursday, April 4th, 2019 – 8:00 PM ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center – Philadelphia, PA
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIL -2.5 / PHI +2.5 (Bovada Sportsbook)
Power Rankings: Philadelphia +5
Takeaways From Milwaukee and Philadelphia’s Most Recent Games
The Bucks were last in action on Monday in Brooklyn. Closing as a one-point underdog, the Deer defeated the Nets by a score of 131-121. Over their last ten games, the Bucks are 7-3 SU with a profitable 6-3-1 ATS record.
The 76ers are riding a two-game losing streak capped off by a nasty road loss last night in the ATL. Closing as a 4.5-point favorite for the second consecutive game, the Sixers once again came up short. Philadelphia fell by a score of 130-122 at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks.
How the Public is Betting the Milwaukee- Philadelphia Game
At the time this article was written (Thursday morning), no line movements have taken place in either the Point Spread or Over/Under markets.
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These two teams met just over a couple weeks ago in Milwaukee in a game that was also of national interest. The Sixers closed as a six-point underdog and staged an upset of the Bucks, defeating Milwaukee 130-125. The defeat was only the sixth game that the Bucks lost on their own floor, this season. Since that fateful night, Milwaukee has not lost another game in the Fiserv Forum.
The Bucks will be without Forward Nikola Mirotic whom they acquired just before the All-Star Break. Mirotic is nursing an injury to his thumb but he is expected to return just in the nick of time in mid-April when the Deer are in the midst of their playoff campaign. In his absence, the Bucks have gone to Forward Sterling Brown who has filled in just fine. On Monday, Brown scored 14, picked up three assists, and collected five boards. Overall, Milwaukee is 5-2 SU without Mirotic in the line-up. For Philadelphia, All-Star Center Joel Embiid is listed as doubtful. Embiid has been battling tendonitis is his knee and has not seen the court in three games. Philly has suffered as a result. The Sixers are 1-2 SU and ATS without Embiid. Once again, Philadelphia will turn to Center Jonah Bolden to fill in for Embiid. In his last outing last night, Bolden was impressive in producing a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
Milwaukee will be playing this game on three days’ rest. This game is the last of a three-game road trip for the Deer before they head home to Milwaukee to finish off their regular season campaign which concludes on Wednesday. Philly will be playing this game on one day of rest. This is bad news for Philadelphia as they are 3-8 SU and 4-7 in back-to-backs this season. However, there is also good news for the Sixers. This is Philly’s first game back at home after playing a three-game road trip that extends back to Saturday. Historically, this is known as a favorable position to back the home team.
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Can The Bucks Outshoot The Sixers From The Field?
Very simply, Milwaukee’s bread-and-butter is field goal efficiency. They are one of the best in the league in proficiency as they hit 47.6% of their attempts (3rd in the NBA). The Bucks are the best team in the NBA in limiting field goal success of the opposition (43.2%). Despite this narrative, the Sixers owned the better field goal percentage in the last meeting between these two sides. Philadelphia outshot Milwaukee by a margin of 47% to 45.3%. The Sixers also managed to get off five more attempts compared to their counterparts (100 – 95). Should the Bucks limit Philadelphia shooting opportunities while resuming business as usual on both sides of the ball, the Deer can gallop in this match.
Will Philadelphia’s Offense Once Again Keep Pace With Milwaukee?
In the March match-up, Philadelphia’s offense was another key to getting the win. The 76ers own one of the most prolific scoring offenses in the NBA, scoring an average of 115.2 points per game (4th in the league). The Sixers will once again attempt to light up the scoreboard to keep this game within striking distance as Milwaukee scores an average of 117.9 points per contest, which makes them the best in the NBA. Another critical narrative in this match-up will also be three-point shooting. The Sixers were lights out against the Bucks in Milwaukee as they hit an incredulous 46.9% of their attempts from beyond the arc. Milwaukee typically allows opponents to hit 35.6 of their three-point shots (17th in the NBA) and Philly is a 35.8% three-point shooting team on the year (8th in the league). With all this considered, the Sixers only won by five points. Can Philly repeat this phenomenal performance again? This is a huge question that creates a lot of uncertainty for the 76ers.
There are two notable trends. First, the Over is 4-0 ATS in the previous four meetings between both sides. The Home Team is 5-1 straight up and against the spread in the last six contests.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Milwaukee -2.5
There is little doubt in my mind that the Bucks, currently -2.5 at Bovada, have had this game circled on their calendar for several weeks now. Milwaukee will undoubtedly be looking to get vengeance for what transpired in the Fiserv Forum in March. The result made Milwaukee look weak compared to their counterparts. After all, it is Milwaukee that is the top team in the East but the way Philadelphia played against the Bucks one could have argued that the Sixers are best in the conference. The Bucks will use this venue as an opportunity to make a statement. There is also one more consideration that must also be made: if Milwaukee wins this game they will clinch home court throughout all of the playoffs. Revenge plus a sweet incentive to win? Giannis and company will be sure to take full advantage. Fortunately for takers, all we have to do is lay a basket but I think the Bucks will make sure the margin is far larger than that. The Bucks have outscored opponents in their last three games by an average margin of 6.3 points while the Sixers have been outscored by an identical margin of 6.3 points. Milwaukee gets the win and looks good while they do it. Swallow the points.