The Milwaukee Bucks didn’t fare so well in Los Angeles on Monday vs. the Clippers and try again on Wednesday vs. the Lakers. Which way to lean at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Wednesday, March 31, 2021 – 10:00 PM ET at Staples Center
I backed the Los Angeles Clippers at -1 for Monday’s game in Los Angeles against the Milwaukee Bucks and got lucky, frankly, to win that because the Clippers ruled out All-Star Paul George about 40 minutes before tipoff.
That was a potential NBA Finals preview that lost some luster without George, and Wednesday’s Bucks-Lakers matchup also is a potential NBA Finals preview but has just about zero luster as the Lakers remain without their two stars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Thus, it’s probably not so much about whether Milwaukee wins this game but whether it covers the NBA betting spread.
The Lakers go for the season sweep as on Jan. 21 in Milwaukee they were 1.5-point underdogs on the NBA odds and won 113-106. LeBron had 34 points, eight assists, six rebounds, and he was plus-15. Davis had 18 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was 7-for-10 from deep for 23 points.
Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo had 25 points and 12 rebounds but a whopping nine turnovers and was minus-6. Jrue Holiday had 22 points but was minus-15, and Khris Middleton 20 but was minus-1. The Bucks got next to nothing from their bench.
The Lakers lead all-time 83-56 and are 52-16 at home – 13-7 since moving to the Staples Center. Milwaukee is 5-2 ATS on the NBA picks in the past seven overall.
Bucks’ Road Woes Continue
When I saw Paul George was ruled out and joined Patrick Beverley and Serge Ibaka on the bench for the Clippers on Monday, I figured there was no way that L.A. would win – and the Bucks jumped out to a 38-26 first-quarter lead. However, the Clippers dominated from there and won 129-105, Milwaukee’s third straight loss. L.A. shot 53.7 percent overall and 19-for-34 from deep. Those numbers will beat any team.
The Bucks did play without top reserve Bobby Portis – who is not expected here in the COVID protocols – and recent trade acquisition PJ Tucker (he might return), but there’s just no excuse. Los Angeles had a 25-6 edge in second-chance points and outrebounded the Bucks 46-32.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points and six rebounds but was a whopping minus-31. The Freak remains one of just two players averaging at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists this season. Denver’s Nikola Jokic, the betting favorite at the sports betting sites to dethrone Giannis as MVP, is the other.
Khris Middleton (15 points) was minus-28, and Jrue Holiday (24 points) was minus 22. Over his last five games, Holiday is averaging 20.6 points per game while shooting 55% from the field, but it hasn’t helped much. Brook Lopez was essentially invisible in 22 minutes, and the bench did squat without Portis.
With the 76ers currently missing Joel Embiid, and the Nets missing Kevin Durant, the Bucks are really blowing a chance to get the best record in the Eastern Conference with this losing skid.
Drummond To Debut For Lakers
The Lakers are on a two-game winning streak, but that hardly means they have fixed things without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, as those victories were against terrible teams in the Cavs and Magic. And L.A. barely beat visiting Orlando on Sunday, 96-93. The Magic’s Otto Porter had an open three-pointer to tie at the end but missed.
Dennis Schroder scored 24 points, and Kyle Kuzma added 21 in the win for L.A., which is 2-3 without James and Davis. Montrezl Harrell added 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Markieff Morris 12 points and 11 rebounds. It was the third time this season that three Lakers had double-doubles.
Speaking of double-doubles, former All-Star center Andre Drummond is a double-double machine. He will make his Lakers debut Wednesday after recently being bought out by the Cavs and clearing waivers. He’s averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds this season but hasn’t played since Feb. 12 as Cleveland was looking for a trade.
Thus, I can’t imagine Drummond plays much in his L.A. debut – although Coach Frank Vogel says Drummond will start. That presumably sends Marc Gasol to a reserve role.
“The level of excitement is at an all-time high,” said Drummond after participating in his first practice Tuesday.
Milwaukee has either won or tied its last 10 season series against the Lakers and that trend is going to continue as the Bucks will win… but I’m taking those points. Milwaukee is 1-7 against the spread in its past eight road games.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.