The Milwaukee Bucks have drawn Central Division rivals Chicago Bulls in the first round of the highly anticipated NBA Playoffs. Join us as we preview this Eastern Conference Series and deliver our predictions.
Regular Season and Head-to-Head Preview
The Chicago Bulls finished the season with a 50-32 SU and 39-43 ATS record to finish second in the Central Division while the Milwaukee Bucks finished third behind a 41-41 SU record and 45-35-2 ATS record.
In their last ten, the Bulls went 7-3 SU while the Bucks went just 5-5 SU. Clearly, the Bulls have the momentum coming into the playoffs, which is underscored by winning their last four games of the season.
Home form on the season is solid in both camps: the Bulls went 27-14 SU but just 19-22 ATS. The Bucks, by comparison, went 23-18 SU and 19-21-1 ATS at home. On the road, the Bulls went 23-18 SU and a commendable 20-21 ATS, while the Bucks went a subpar 18-23 SU but a solid 26-14-1 ATS.
Head-to-head record this season
The Chicago Bulls lead the regular season series 3-1, having won three straight before losing the last meeting in Milwaukee 95-91 on April 1, let alone while matched as the 5-point road favourites on the NBA odds board. The Bulls opened the series with a 95-86 win at Milwaukee, all while cashing as the 5-point road faves. They then won back-to-back home dates in with the Bucks: 95-87 in January and 87-71 in February, both times cashing as the 6-to-7-point home favourites against the spread.
Recent Playoff Appearances
In the last five playoff appearances, the Bulls dropped out in the first round three times, including last season when they lost to the Washington Wizards in five games. Two season ago, they reached the Conference semis only to lose to the eventual champions Miami Heat (1-4).
In the last five seasons, the Bucks have reached the playoffs only twice (2009-2010) and (2012-2013). On both occasions they were packed off in the first round. Last season, they were sat before the telly, watching the basketball playoffs from the comfort of the couch like the rest of us.
NBA Playoff Odds Preview: No. 3 Chicago vs. No. 6 Milwaukee
As far as the NBA Playoffs betting board, the Chicago Bulls are perceived as contenders for the NBA championship, matched at lively +1200 NBA odds to win it all. Although they are a good distance behind the Cavaliers, Warriors and Spurs – the three top favourites across sports betting platforms – they have to fancy their chances. Consider they are the third favourites to win the Eastern Conference at +550 NBA odds, and if they reach that Championship final, it's anybody's game theoretically.
The Bucks, meanwhile, are one of the tournament long shots at +15000 NBA odds to win it all (Table 1) and at +5000 NBA odds to win the Eastern Conference (Table 2). Clearly, odds makers don't expect them to advance beyond the first round for the third time in six years.
Breaking Down the Series:
Chicago Bulls: -500 To Win Series
Milwaukee Bucks +700 To Win Series
If the NBA odds were any indication, the Chicago Bulls should advance into the next round without too much fuss or muss. They have the series cornered on -500 NBA odds, which is a ringing endorsement if ever there was one. On the whole, the Bulls are stronger, better and deeper than the Bucks.
Many pundits and experts alike have the Chicago Bulls as their sleeper NBA pick in the playoffs to do some damage. 'A team on a mission' is the common turn of phrase used when talking about the Bulls. And that is a slight concern for the Milwaukee Bucks, who surprised many NBA bettors to reach the playoffs. Unfortunately, any notion they might be the Cinderella of the championships isn't being entertained. The overriding NBA prediction for this matchup is one-sided: the Bulls to win either in a clean sweep or 4-1. Few NBA bettors would back the Bucks to win more than a game in this series.
NBA Picks: Chicago Bulls -500 To win Series in 4 games