Place NBA Pick on Bucks +10 vs. Thunder

Darin Zank

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 1:00 PM GMT

The Milwaukee Bucks have been the best team in the league to bet on so far, going 15-7 ATS. Oklahoma City, meanwhile, has struggled without its Big Two, but now has both of them back.

Bucks-Thunder Betting Odds
Most of the NBA betting market opened this game with OKC favored by 10 points, the total offered at right around 198. In the early betting the spread was holding steady, while the total had been bumped to 199.

Moneyline bettors could get the Bucks at +480 at Pinnacle.

 

Bucks-Thunder: The Situation
Milwaukee went off this season with a wins OVER/UNDER of 25. But with 11 wins through their first 22 games, the Bucks have a great chance to play OVER their NBA odds season win total.

Milwaukee started 2-4 this season, then went on an 8-3 run, with victories over the likes of Memphis, Oklahoma City, Miami and Brooklyn. But the Bucks have now lost four of their last five games, including a three-point decision at Cleveland and a two-point defeat against Dallas.

Last time out, Sunday night, Milwaukee lost at the Mavericks 125-102, whiffing on the spread as nine-point road underdogs in NBA odds. The Bucks trailed by 13 at the half, and by 20 in the third quarter, pulled to within six points, but ran out of gas and let the game get away after that.

Milwaukee shot 50 percent from the floor Sunday, but committed 19 turnovers and allowed Dallas to shoot a blazing 58 percent.

At 11-11 Milwaukee owns the sixth-best record in the Eastern Conference.

Oklahoma City went off this season with a wins OVER/UNDER of 58. But with their slow start, playing most of the way so far without both Durant and Westbrook, the Thunder have a lot of work to do to reach their wins total.

OKC started just 3-12 this season, as it struggled offensively without its Big Two. But as Westbrook and Durant have both returned to action the Thunder have won four of their last five games, and hit the 100-point mark in three of their last four. Last time out, Sunday night, OKC won at Detroit 96-94, although it came up short in covering the spread as a 10-point favorite.

The Thunder trailed the Pistons by nine points early in the third quarter, then finally took the lead for good late in that frame. OKC built its own nine-point advantage midway through the fourth quarter, but that's as close as it got to covering.

The Thunder shot 45 percent from the floor Sunday, and made just six of 21 shots from beyond the arc.

At 7-13 OKC sits four games behind eighth-place Phoenix in the Western Conference standings.

This is the second meeting this season between these teams; one month ago the Bucks beat OKC in Milwaukee 85-78, covering as three-point favorites. But both Durant and Westbrook missed that game.

Last season the Thunder swept two games from the Bucks, by scores of 92-79 and 101-85. Durant played in both those games, Westbrook in one of them.

The last four meetings between these two teams have all played UNDER on the totals.

 

Bucks-Thunder, Statistically Speaking
Milwaukee ranks 13th in FG shooting at 46 percent, 16th in 3-point shooting at 34 percent and sixth in FT shooting at 78 percent. The Bucks also rank 16th in FG defense, allowing foes to shoot 45 percent from the field, 15th in rebounding at +.3 per game, and own a 22/16 per-game assist-to-turnover ratio.

Oklahoma City ranks 27th in FG shooting at 43 percent, 23rd in 3-point shooting at 33 percent and 25th in FT shooting at 73 percent. But those figures figure to improve with the return of Durant and Westbrook.

The Thunder also rank second in FG defense, holding foes to just 42 percent shooting, ninth in rebounding at +1.5 per game and own a 19/15 A/TO ratio.

 

Bucks-Thunder Betting Trends
Milwaukee is 11-11 on the totals this season, as Bucks games have averaged 199 points. The Bucks have played five OVERS in their last six games, in part because they've allowed at least 107 points in four of their last six contests.

Oklahoma City has leaned toward the UNDERS by a 15-5 margin this season, as Thunder games have averaged just 186 points. In fact, six of OKC's last seven games have played UNDER, mostly because the Thunder have been playing some decent defense.

Milwaukee is 5-7 SU and 8-4 ATS on the road this season.

OKC is 4-5 SU and 7-2 ATS at home.

 

Bucks-Thunder Free Pick
Oklahoma City is still getting warmed up; in the long run the Thunder might be fine, but they're not clicking yet. Milwaukee, meanwhile, is a much better team than it was last season, and while a bit skittish yet, has some nice talent in place. So we'll place our NBA pick on the underdog Bucks in this spot.

Free NBA Pick: Milwaukee +10 at The Greek