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Bucks vs. Mavericks NBA Picks: The Giannis Effect

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Bucks vs. Mavericks NBA Picks: The Giannis Effect
Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the Dallas Mavericks goes up for a shot against Brook Lopez #11 of the Milwaukee Bucks. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

Something’s wrong with Giannis Antetokounmpo. How will this impact Thursday’s NBA odds when the Milwaukee Bucks visit the Dallas Mavericks? Read on for an in-depth analysis of this matchup and a free pick.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Dallas Mavericks

Thursday, April 08, 2021 – 09:00 PM EDT at American Airlines Center

And everything was going so well for the Milwaukee Bucks (32-18 SU, 22-28 ATS). They won eight straight games heading into the trade deadline, they acquired P.J. Tucker for some extra playoff depth, they signed Jrue Holiday to a massive contract extension – and then Giannis Antetokounmpo went and got himself hurt.

Antetokounmpo (sore left knee) missed Tuesday’s 122-121 loss to the Golden State Warriors after initially being listed as probable; at press time, he’s considered doubtful for Thursday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks (28-22 SU, 25-25 ATS).

Which presents us with a conundrum: Sportsbooks have not released lines for this matchup at press time. Milwaukee did open at –1 overseas, though, so we’re going to pull out an old-school handicapping trick and recommend the betting on the Bucks at that price or lower – trusting that the betting public is overreacting to his likely absence. It’s kind of their thing.

Prepare Yourselves

Granted, Milwaukee wasn’t the right pick Tuesday versus the Warriors – they lost as 2.5-point road faves. But that was after Antetokounmpo was a surprise late scratch; this time around, the Bucks have some lead time, and a better opportunity to prepare for Dallas.

They’ve also taking on a Mavs team that will be playing on zero days of rest after losing 102-93 to the Houston Rockets (+10 at home according to betting websites) on Wednesday. Woof.

That was obviously a disappointing loss for Dallas, especially after winning their previous five SU and ATS. Maxi Kleber (sore right leg) and Trey Burke (strained left calf) both sat out Wednesday, as did Willie Cauley-Stein, who’s still in COVID-18 protocol, and J.J. Redick, who has yet to make his Mavs debut because of a sore right heel.

All four could end up playing Thursday, who knows, but collectively, they won’t have as much impact on the NBA lines as Antetokounmpo will on his own.

Jrue Holiday #21 of the Milwaukee Bucks dribbles around a screen. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images/AFP (

Small Beer

So what about our Giannis Theory? Does the betting public really think too highly of him? Well, in the other four games Antetokounmpo missed this year, the Bucks went 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS, so it’s hard to say just from that small sample size.

Last year, their record without Giannis was 5-5 SU and ATS. Still nothing much we can glean from those numbers. We’d obviously prefer to have more evidence that the loss of Antetokounmpo will make casual bettors lose their minds and dump too much money on the other side for their NBA Picks.

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But without anything else to go on just now, old-school handicapping will have to suffice. What we can do to adjust is keep that bet size nice and small, to reflect our uncertainty over how much potential profit margin we’re working with here.

Bet accordingly once you’ve got that information you need, and may the sphere be with you.

NBA Pick: Bucks -1 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

Bucks -1(-110)
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*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.