The struggling Nets travel to Milwaukee on Saturday to take on the Bucks in an Eastern Conference showdown. Both are looking to get off to a quick start following last weekend’s All-Star break as they hope to make a late playoff push.
As of now, these two teams are the betting favorites to represent the East in the NBA Finals. Both boast +275 odds of winning the conference, as well as +650 chances of bringing home the NBA Championship at SugarHouse.
Despite poor play of late, oddsmakers are confident that the Nets will regroup once Kevin Durant re-joins the lineup. He’s been on the sidelines since mid-January nursing a leg injury. With their top scorer out of commission, the Nets have lost 13 of their last 17 contests.
The Bucks, meanwhile, are 36-24 and just 2.5 games out of first place in the Eastern Conference standings. They won five of their final eight outings ahead of the All-Star weekend pause.
This matchup will be important in the postseason race. Which of these Eastern Conference powers will leave with a win?
Check out BetMaker for a preview and prediction before placing your NBA wagers.
Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks
Date and Time: Saturday, February 26, 2022 at 8:30 PM ET
Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
NBA Odds: TBD
TV Coverage: ABC
All odds courtesy of SugarHouse online sportsbook.
The Nets come into this matchup reeling. Hopefully getting a break for All-Star festivities has helped the team regroup.
Brooklyn is just 4-13 without Kevin Durant in the lineup, including losing 12 of their last 14 games.
The Nets did make some moves at the trade deadline, most notably dishing guard James Harden to Philly for Ben Simmons. Simmons, however, hasn’t played all season and his timeline for a return to the court is up in the air.
With key players out, bringing home a victory could be tough.
As a team, Brooklyn ranks in the middle of the pack in both offensive and defensive production. The Nets average 110.8 points per game on offense, while the defense is allowing that exact same number on the other end.
In the 18 games without Durant in the lineup, Brooklyn has surrendered at least 110 points 14 times. That’s not a recipe for success when facing a Milwaukee roster that boasts star power on the offensive end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging a double-double at 29 points, 11 boards per game. Kris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, and Bobby Portis all chip in 15+ points, too, giving the Bucks a plethora of scoring options.
That production has led to the sixth-best scoring output among NBA teams, with Milwaukee averaging 113 points a night.
If Brooklyn has trouble slowing the Bucks down, it’s going to be a one-sided affair.
NBA Betting Trends
While Milwaukee has done well in the win column, they’ve struggled a bit against the spread. The Bucks are 26-34 versus the NBA betting lines, with an 11-20 mark when playing at home.
Brooklyn has been even worse with a 22-36-1 mark against the spread, though they are 16-15 when playing on the road.
One key trend to watch is the Bucks’ struggles as a home favorite. Milwaukee is just 9-18 when favored on their home court while Brooklyn is a sneaky 9-8 as a road ‘dog.
The over/under has hit in 50% of games for each of these teams.
The Bucks have won both head-to-head matchups this year, with both coming prior to Durant’s injury. In fact, Milwaukee has won eight of the last 11 meetings dating back to last season. The Bucks eliminated the Nets in the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The Bucks also covered in seven of those 11 contests, including each of the last four.
The under has hit in nine of the last 11 meetings.
The Bucks are the better team at this point in the season. Until Brooklyn gets back on track, it’s tough to take them with confidence.
Had Durant and Simmons been available for the Nets, this could be a much different story. Since they’re not, we’ll ride the reigning NBA Champs to land the win.
NBA Pick: Milwaukee Bucks