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Giannis Antetokounmpo
AP
Odds and Ends

Lakers vs Bucks: picks and predictions

by Covers.com
Updated On: December 19, 2019, 6:57 pm ET

The Lakers were missing All-Star Anthony Davis on Tuesday due to a sprained ankle, and the big man is listed as questionable for tonight's contest as well. The Bucks have been without point guard Eric Bledsoe for their last two games and he's likely out until the end of the month. 

Nonetheless, each team still has plenty of star power as the Bucks boast last year's NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo while the Lakers have the living legend that is LeBron James.

From the tip off to the final buzzer we break down the odds with our best bets and predictions for this clash of titans.   

LOS ANGELES LAKERS AT MILWAUKEE BUCKS (-4, 225)

 

QUICK HITTER

Milwaukee has gotten off to terrific starts this season, ranking second in the league in first-quarter scoring with 29.5 points per game. The Bucks also rank second in the league in first-quarter scoring defense allowing just 24.9 ppg in the opening frame. At home they have been even better with an incredible first-quarter scoring margin of plus-7.0 ppg at Fiserv Forum. 

While the Lakers have been terrific on the road going 14-2 SU, they struggle to separate in the early going with a modest first-quarter scoring margin of plus-0.6 ppg in away contests. Backs the Bucks on the 1Q spread.

PICK: First Quarter Milwaukee -1 

FIRST HALF BET

These teams combine to average an impressive 117.8 ppg in the first half of contests. However, they also play strong defense in the early going, holding opponents to a combined total of 106 ppg before half time. 

If Davis doesn't play, the Lakers' ability to put the ball in the hoop will suffer, and the Bucks certainly missed Bledsoe orchestrating their offense against Dallas.  

Both teams also clean up on the glass on the defensive end of the floor with the Bucks ranking second in the league in defensive rebounding rate and the Lakers ranking fourth. So don't expect either team to get many second chances on offense. Take the 1H Under.

PICK: First Half Under 115.5


TEAM/PLAYER PROP

Antetokounmpo is having another incredible season averaging 31.7 points, 12.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. That said, the Over/Under for one of his player props looks a tad too high. His assists totat is set at 5.5, a number he has surpassed in just one of his previous ten contests. 

Over that ten-game span he's averaged 3.5 apg and tonight he'll be facing off against a Lakers team that allows 22.9 apg, the ninth-fewest mark in the league. Bet the Under on Giannis' assists total. 

PICK: Player Assists - Giannis Antetokounmpo Under 5.5

 

FULL GAME TOTAL

The Lakers have the second-best scoring defense in the league, holding opponents to just 103.9 ppg. Although the Bucks rank 14th in the league in scoring defense by giving up 108.1 ppg, that number is inflated because they play at the fastest pace in the league. In terms of defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions), the Bucks are the the No. 1 team in the association. 

While L.A. shoots a league best 48.6 percent from the floor, Milwaukee holds opponents to a league-low 41.5 percent shooting. With the Lakers averaging just 103 ppg over their last four contests take the Under on the game total.

PICK: Under 225 

 

FULL GAME SIDE

The Lakers aren't used to being the underdogs, but when they are they know how to take care of business, going 6-0 ATS in their last six games as a dog dating back to last season. On the other hand, oddsmakers might be laying too many points with the Bucks against quality opponents, with Milwaukee 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games against teams with a record above .600.

These are two very good teams and both sides look pretty evenly matched. Being able to take the Lakers and four points seems like the smart play especially if Anthony Davis ends up suiting up.

PICK: Lakers +4

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