Los Angeles Lakers vs Milwaukee Bucks

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Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers will travel to the Fiserv Forum on Thursday night to take on the Milwaukee Bucks in a battle of stars. The Lakers are sitting at 11-4 on the season and are coming off a 115-113 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday night. The Bucks are 9-5 on the year and are coming off a 125-123 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night. These teams played twice last season and split the pair of games.

These two teams have title aspirations and this game could very well be a NBA Finals preview going on as both teams are looking to take the sour taste out of their mouths. Let’s take a deeper dive into this game and figure out where we should be placing our wagers.

The Chosen One

Small forward LeBron James has been one of the best players in the league as per usual. He is averaging 23.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.3 blocks in 32.2 minutes on the court. He is shooting well as he is 47.9 percent from the floor, 37.5 percent from the three-point line, and 71.9 percent from the free-throw line. In his last game against the Warriors, James played 38 minutes and finished with 19 points, five rebounds, five assists, a steal, and five turnovers. If he can figure out a way to clean up his sloppy play, it will be needed for the Lakers.

The Milwaukee Bucks have an average defense in the league at this point as they are giving up 110.6 points per game, which ranks 16th in the NBA. In their last game against the Brooklyn Nets, they allowed 125 points on 46-of-84 (54.8 percent) from the floor, 15-of-31 (48.4 percent) from beyond the arc, and shot 21 free-throws. If the Bucks can figure out to make this an outlier, they should be in a good spot.

The Greak Freek

Power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has been one of the best players in the league as per usual. He is averaging 27.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.1 blocks in 31.8 minutes on the court. He needs to improve his shooting numbers as he is 53.1 percent from the floor, 30.8 percent from the three-point line, and 58.6 percent from the free-throw line. In his last game against the Nets, Giannis played 40 minutes and finished with 34 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, and a pair of steals. If he can figure out a way to shoot better, it will be needed for the Bucks to win this game.

The Los Angeles Lakers have an above-average defense in the league at this point as they are giving up 105.1 points per game, which ranks 3rd in the NBA. In their last game against the Indiana Pacers, they allowed 115 points on 44-of-87 (50.6 percent) from the floor, 12-of-37 (32.4 percent) from beyond the arc, and shot 20 free-throws. If the Lakers can figure out to limit the easy shots, they should be in a good spot.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

The Lakers have Anthony Davis to guard Giannis Antetokounmpo in this game and give him fits. Brooklyn allowed Giannis to remain open on the perimeter and that could be something the Lakers try to do if they put Marc Gasol on him. Los Angeles has the team defense to figure out how to stop the Bucks from getting hot from the field. This game is essentially a pick-em so go with the Lakers to win this game.

Prediction:
Los Angeles -1

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

This game should be a defensive showcase as you have the reigning Defensive Player of the Year on the court. The Bucks have been struggling defensively this season as they have fallen to 16th in the league in points per game allowed but Los Angeles is solid at third in the league. These teams will look to show up in this game and the defensive pressure will be there. The under has hit in nine of the last 10 road games for the Lakers and in four of the last five games overall for the Bucks. The number has fallen half a point so far and go with it before it falls anymore.

Prediction:
Under – 228.5