New-Look Bucks Eager To Wear Down An Underrated Blazers Team

Jordan Sharp

Monday, November 5, 2018 6:31 PM UTC

Monday, Nov. 5, 2018 6:31 PM UTC

Under new head coach, Mike Budenholzer, the Bucks are playing some of the best basketball in the NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo is a certified superstar and they'll play a tough but winnable game on the road Tuesday in Portland.

Jordan’s NBA Picks: 3-1

Milwaukee (8-1 SU & 6-2-1 ATS) vs. Portland (7-3 SU & 7-3 ATS)Tuesday, 10 p.m. ESTFree Picks: Bucks ATS & MLBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Not only are the Bucks one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference right now, but they have opened the year as the best bet ATS of all 30 teams heading in to play on Monday night. Portland has been no slouch either, but this game will come down to whether or not the Blazers can slow down the Greek Freak.

Milwaukee’s Transformation

If you had a futures bet on Mike Budenholzer winning Coach of the Year, you probably feel pretty good at the moment. Through their first nine games of the season, the Bucks have looked incredible on both ends of the court.

Offensively they have gone from 25th in the league in three-point attempt rate (3PAr) to 2nd this season. Forty-five percent of their total field goal attempts have been three-pointers, and by surrounding Antetokounmpo with shooters, the Bucks have made it nearly impossible to account for all their offensive threats.

On defense their upside shown over the last few seasons is still there, and it could be starting to thrive. Milwaukee is limiting their opponents 100.6 points per 100 possessions, which is second-best behind only the Celtics. Milwaukee also ranks tops in the league in their opponent’s effective field goal percentage through nine games.

Even playing at one of the leagues fastest paces, the Bucks have still been superb on defense, and that kind of efficiency on both sides of the ball is rare. There only is one other team that ranks in the top five of the league in both offensive and defensive efficiency this season and it’s the Portland Trail Blazers.

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“He’s a great guy….I’ve met his family. I’ve met his mother. It’s going be kind of awkward when we go back to Greece and talk again, but you gotta do what you gotta do.”

- @Giannis_An34 the play that had everyone talking: pic.twitter.com/rXl5Mnx4wV

— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) November 5, 2018
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The Sharp Pick

First, I would like to say to anyone reading this from Turner Sports or NBATV, this game should be on your channel on Tuesday. No one wants to watch the Wizards and Mavericks (two potential lottery teams) go at it on a Tuesday night. We want two of the hottest teams in the league facing off in an inter-league showdown.

That being said, the Blazers present a lot of problems for the Bucks. Their two guards are still tough to cover, and Brook Lopez and company are going to be no match for Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins down low.

The Blazers could still be without Moe Harkless, who would be their best option to defend Antetokounmpo. Without him, they’ll potentially have to go to Al Farouq Aminu or Jake Layman, which needless to say neither are a very good option.

If Antetokounmpo is getting into the paint and breaking down the defense of the Blazers, they stand little chance to slow down this new-look Bucks offense. Milwaukee is averaging 115.6 points per 100 possessions this year, and they could definitely get that and more against Portland.

All the Bucks have to do is not let Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum get going. Anyone else on the Blazers they will let score, but I guarantee that Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton will be locked in defensively on the two Blazer guards. That and the edge on offense makes the Bucks a solid ATS play. I'm also in on their moneyline as slight dogs on the road. Even though Milwaukee is only 1-2 ATS on the road, they are 2-0 SU and ATS versus the Western Conference to start the year.

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