Jordan’s NBA Picks: 55-38 (Playoffs 1-0)
Detroit (41-41 SU & 42-39 ATS) at Milwaukee (60-22 SU & 47-32 ATS)
Free NBA Pick: Bucks ATS 1H
Best Line Offered: Pinnacle
Most people are picking the Bucks to roll through this series and I can’t say I blame them. However, a spread of 13 points awaits us in this Game 1, which if the Pistons play up to their ability, they could easily cover. The problem is there are many question marks, starting with the health of Blake Griffin.
Power Forward Health Reports
Like Joel Embiid on Saturday, there have been a lot of questions about the health and status of Griffin. If he is able to play, he’ll be a formidable mismatch for anyone on the Bucks trying to guard him. If he sits, or is not 100 percent, the Bucks may dominate this game and sweep the series.
I do think Griffin plays in this one. He has enough playoff experience to know what’s at stake and if he sits out the game entirely, the negative press and Twitter reaction will go on forever. No one, especially Griffin, wants that in what has been a great start to the playoffs.
However, even if Griffin is dropping 30 points a game, the Pistons may not win more than one game. The Bucks also have a power forward coming back that could really put the Bucks’ bench in a great position.
With Nikola Mirotic healthy and back from his thumb injury, the bucks’ offense has a lot more options against this big Pistons team. Giannis Antetokounmpo is not going to be able to guard Griffin or Drummond very easily and it’s not the greatest thing in the playoffs to have your best player having to carry you on offense and stop the opposing team’s best player.
So, I think Mirotic’s health is being understated, both for Game 1 and the series. By adding Mirotic into the rotation, the Bucks have someone who can put a lot of pressure on Drummond if they go small. While then Greek Freak will have trouble guarding Griffin, Drummond and Griffin will have no chance of stopping an undersized frontcourt of Antetokounmpo and Mirotic.
The Sharp Pick
While I do think Griffin will play, the Bucks have way too many mismatches for the Pistons in this game. If Griffin is less than 100 percent, it’s going to be even more pronounced, which is why I think the spread has grown to what it is.
However, 13 points in a playoff game is a lot, so I think we have to lay off of it until we see Griffin on the court and how healthy he looks. Instead, the first half spread looks like a better wager.
During their regular season home games, Milwaukee held opponents to just 105.5 points per 100 possessions and they scored 116.3 points per 100 possessions.
The Pistons on the other hand allowed 114.2 points per 100 possessions in the first halves of their road games, while only scoring 108.2. Those numbers ranked them 23rd and 16th respectfully.
First Half Score Prediction: Pistons 52 – Bucks 60