NBA Friday Betting Predictions: Milwaukee Bucks at New Orleans Pelicans

Week 10 NFL Odds & LinesMilwaukee Bucks at New Orleans Pelicans
Time: 8:05 PM ET, Mar 7, 2014
Spread: NOP -8
Total: 201

Betting odds courtesy of 5dimes

The Milwaukee Bucks have had a disaster of a season, but it was to be expected after jettisoning both the teams high scoring options, its backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. The replacements, Brandon Knight and O.J. Mayo have been uninspiring. Milwaukee has won just 12 games and is on a fast road to what Bucks fans hope will be the No. 1 overall pick in a loaded 2014 NBA draft class. For the meantime, however, Milwaukee will go to battle with the New Orleans Pelicans in a game NBA oddsmakers are favoring the Pelicans by 8 points.

New Orleans may not be in the playoff picture, but the season hasn’t been a failure by any stretch of the imagination. Anthony Davis has emerged into the franchise cornerstone that many pegged him to be coming out of Kentucky. The second-year forward is averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 2.9 blocks per game. The biggest problem for New Orleans has been health: two of its top three players are out for the season, Ryan Anderson and point guard Jrue Holiday.

The Pellies have high hopes for Holiday after acquiring the one-time All-Star from the Philadelphia 76ers. New Orleans had to surrender its 2014 first round pick to acquire the dynamic playmaker, but there is no certainty that a pick will pan out, while the Pelicans see Holiday as the point guard to pair with Davis.

Anderson is a sharp shooter and a great stretch-4 to play alongside Davis when he matures into the center position eventually. So, while New Orleans may lament the growing pains of losing its first round pick, the team could definitely be a playoff team by next season if it continues to gel. Bewilderingly, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans are not even the players they were as NBA rookies, but the Pelicans hope the pair can transform into valuable role players. Neither is posting a PER much above the league average, but the proverbial talent drain is there.

Milwaukee will focus most of its efforts on developing its prospects (see: tanking). Giannis Antetokounmpo has drawn rave reviews and even gone first overall in a re-draft of the 2013 class conducted on SB Nation. The “Greek Freak,” as he is affectionately dubbed, is averaging a humble line of 7.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 0.8 steals, 0.8 blocks—but he’s also seeing just 24 minutes a game. Antetokounmpo is still growing and has enormous hands to match his gargantuan wingspan, but that isn’t getting the Bucks wins now.

Watching Antetokounmpo and fellow defensive standouts John Henson and Larry Sanders gives the Bucks hope for a strong defense in the future. But Sanders has played just 23 games all season and his value isn’t quite as high. He had surgery to repair a broken orbital bone, and is likely out for the remainder of the season. Moreover, it’s always proven difficult for the Bucks to keep their talent once the rookie contract expires. That said, Bucks fans aren’t simply hoping to lease Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, or whomever, for three seasons.

MIL Trends: OVER 6-0 in last 6 following SU win; OVER 4-0 in last 4 following double-digit loss at home; OVER 4-0 in last 4 following SU loss of more than 10 points.

NOP Trends: 0-5 ATS in last 5 after scoring more than 125 points in previous game; 0-5 ATS in last 5 after allowing 100 points or more in previous game; 0-4 ATS in last 4 after scoring 100 points or more in previous game.

Head-to-head: Bucks 1-5 ATS in last 6 meetings in New Orleans; Bucks 1-5 ATS in last 6 meetings; OVER 9-4 in last 13 meetings in New Orleans.

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