Detroit (+1000) vs. Milwaukee (-4000)
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
Regular Season Record: Bucks 4-0 ATS and SU
Bring Out The Brooms?
Barring some crazy Zaza Pachulia baseball slide into the Greek Freak’s knees, the Bucks are going to roll in this series. They beat the Pistons four times in the regular season both SU and ATS and now in the playoffs it’s going to be a quick series.
The issues for Detroit are multi-facetted. For starters, Blake Griffin’s status is still up in the air. I think he plays, but he looked injured in the last game he took the court and after that the Pistons sat him for the final game of the regular season.
If Griffin isn’t himself, or can’t play at all, this one goes from a quick seroes to a definite sweep. The Pistons’ offense takes a nose dive without Griffin and even with the mismatch inside of Andre Drummond, it won’t be enough for the Pistons to overcome the onslaught from the Bucks’ offense.
The other issues for the Pistons are how their guards and wings matchup with the Bucks’. Milwaukee has a deep backcourt even without Malcolm Brogdon who is out for the rest of the season.
Mike Budenholzer will likely deploy Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton a lot more in the postseason than he did in the regular season and the undersized Pistons guards might have trouble staying in front of those two guys. Add in the defense of the unheralded Sterling Brown and the Pistons have some problems out on the wing.
Considering Detroit is starting a guy at shooting guard in Wayne Ellington who couldn’t even get on the court in Miami before being bought out, this one could get ugly out on the perimeter.
The Sharp Pick
I don’t want to completely write off Detroit though. If Griffin is healthy, he and Drummond are two powerful forces down low. Antetokounmpo will likely have to defend Griffin assuming he starts and plays, which is not a great matchup for your best player.
Griffin’s size and post presence could be a key factor in this one against Antetokounmpo. The Pistons’ only chance to win one of the first two games in Milwaukee is to get Antetokounmpo into foul trouble by pounding the ball down low with Griffin.
However, the Bucks got some good news over the latter half of the week that could stifle some of the frontcourt mismatches. Nikola Mirotic practiced for the first time Friday after breaking his finger. If he is healthy, he will help balance those mismatches out because neither Griffin or Drummond will be able to guard him one-on-one.
Even if Mirotic isn’t ready to play, the Bucks are going to use their three-point shooting and strong defense to get past the Pistons quickly. They will need all the rest they can get if they play Boston in the second round, so I don’t expect them to take Detroit lightly, even if Griffin is still banged up.
For these reasons, I could see Detroit winning Game 3 or 4 at home, but one win is all Detroit’s upside in this series.