Bucks vs. Suns: NBA Picks

Steven Suarez

Thursday, January 17, 2013 3:50 PM GMT

The Milwaukee Bucks make the trip to Phoenix tonight to face a struggling Suns squad. While this might look like a lackluster matchup from a fans point of view, we believe that the NBA odds do offer us bettors some value.

All eyes are on the showdown between the Heat and Lakers, but don't forget that there are a few other NBA matchups on the schedule tonight too. Let's preview Phoenix's home encounter with Milwaukee.

Odds Overview

This is pretty much a toss-up in terms of the NBA odds, and depending on where you look, the Suns are either favored by a point or the line is at a PK.

As for the total, that can be found at either 196 or 196.5. The UNDER has gone 23-17 in contests involving Phoenix and 20-16-1 in games featuring Milwaukee. However, the OVER has gone 13-4-1 in the past 18 meetings between these teams.

Have we decided to look at the spread or the total for our NBA picks in tonight's game? Let's breakdown this matchup a bit more to decide where we can find the greatest edge.

[gameodds]5/134338/43/us[/gameodds]

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks have had 48 hours to stew over their 104-88 road loss to the L.A. Lakers. They came in as six-point underdogs and did indeed stay close for a majority of the game.

But, in the end, they had no answer for Dwight Howard or Kobe Bryant. Those two combined for 62 points, with Howard adding 16 rebounds and four blocks and Kobe dishing out six assists.

For Milwaukee, it was a struggle despite holding the advantage on the boards. The Bucks shot just 35.8 percent from the field and were at 25.0 percent from three and 59.1 percent from the charity stripe. Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis combined to shoot a poor 10-of-30 from the field.

That being said, we like what the Bucks have done on the road this season on the whole, as they've beaten both Boston and Chicago twice already, while also topping Brooklyn and taking Miami into overtime.

In total, Milwaukee has gone 9-9 SU and 11-7 ATS outside of their own building thus far. However, they've covered only one time in their last five matchups with Phoenix, so Jim Boyland's team is really going to have to step it up here.

Phoenix Suns

It's hard to find a whole lot of positives for the Suns right now. They've lost six of their last seven and are in the basement of the Pacific Division, behind even the Sacramento Kings.

Phoenix has been off since Monday's 102-90 home loss to Oklahoma City. The Suns put up a relatively good fight, but Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were unstoppable, combining for a ridiculous 77 points in the win for the Thunder.

The Suns got 22 points out of Shannon Brown, who picked up the start in place of Jared Dudley, while Marcin Gortat logged 19 points and 15 rebounds. Dudley is expected to return tonight, though it's unclear whether he'll immediately step back into the starting lineup.

With the loss, Phoenix moved to 2-5 ATS over their last seven and 1-4-1 ATS in their previous six home contests.

Perhaps the extra day of recuperation and preparation will make a difference. The Suns have gone 3-0-1 ATS in their last four matchups when playing on two days of rest.

NBA Pick 

These two teams are neck and neck in offensive production, as both have struggled. However, there's a big difference defensively here.

Not only are the Suns at #23 in offensive efficiency, they're #26 on the defensive end of things. That would explain why they're at 13-27 SU on the season. But the Bucks, despite troubles scoring the rock here and there, have been quite good on defense. They're #8 in efficiency, having only allowed 100.7 points per 100 possessions.

Milwaukee topped Phoenix by nine points nine days ago and we believe they'll get it done again, even with this one coming on the road. We expect the high-scoring guard duo of Jennings and Ellis to bounce back with a better effort, ultimately leading the Bucks to the win and cover. Good luck!

NBA Pick: Milwaukee Bucks ML -105