New Orleans Pelicans at Milwaukee Bucks
Time: 8:30 PM CST (ESPN)
Spread: MIL -9.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Milwaukee Bucks are 21-3 and atop the Eastern Conference standings. It will host the struggling Zion Williamson-less New Orleans Pelicans at 8:30 PM (CST) on ESPN. Milwaukee is nearly double-digit favorites at -9.5, with the over/under set at 232 total points according to NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
The New Orleans Pelicans are just 6-18, New Orleans has had some injury issues, or one major one anyway: Zion Williamson, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft, has yet to play this season. Even without him, and with a losing record, the Pelicans have quite a few reasons to be encouraged.
Paramount in those “encouraging aspects” is one Brandon Ingram. He has nearly doubled his scoring average as a Pelican, showing all of the promises he was initially thought to have when the L.A. Lakers selected him No. 2 overall. Ingram is averaging 24.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.7 blocks/steals, and those notions of a “Next Kevin Durant,” no longer look absurd as they did during his tenure as a Laker.
Jrue Holiday has quietly been sensational, as well. He is averaging 19.3 points per game, five rebounds and 2.7 steals/blocks, making his biggest impact on the defensive end but still (clearly) scoring the ball just fine. JJ Redick stepped up with Josh Hart out due to injury, but now that Hart has returned, expect Redick’s role to recede at least a little.
Hart has been a big threat on the boards at just 6’4”, averaging 6.2 rebounds per game to go with his 11.2 points per game.
Lonzo Ball has also been plenty of encouraging and exciting. He is averaging 10.6 points and 5.6 assists per game and his 2.4 A/TO ratio is solid. The Pelicans could be a major threat if Williamson returns healthy and clicking on all cylinders— the rookie looked great in the preseason, even if there is already a black cloud lingering over his career, in terms of health
The Milwaukee Bucks starting five consists of Eric Bledsoe, Wes Matthews, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Brook Lopez. The second unit is loaded with smart veterans like George Hill, Ersan Ilyasova, and Robin Lopez, Brook’s twin.
The Bucks are also getting good production out of Pat Connaughton, a tremendous athlete with high energy who is providing a good spark off the bench. Kyle Korver adds much-needed shooting and depth, and a smart veteran who will often close out games. The Bucks are a team built around Antetokounmpo, but some wonder if it is built up enough around him.
Middleton is the second option and a borderline All-Star, but it still feels like Milwaukee is one big scorer away from where it should be. Perhaps losing the never-was that is Jabari Parker did not really help. Parker is thriving in Atlanta this season and still could have been a useful frontcourt scorer in the mold of a Tobias Harris type role. The Bucks are so strong defensively that it has to be regarded as a top-three team in the Eastern Conference, but its work is still fairly cut out for it, even with such an atomically hot start to the season.
ATS Trends Milwaukee (C/o Covers):
Bucks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
Bucks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
Bucks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
Bucks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite.
Bucks are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
Bucks are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Wednesday games.