Milwaukee at Dallas
Time: 8 PM CT, NBA League Pass
Spread: MIL -7.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Dallas Mavericks have not had a lot go right this season. As possessors of a league-worst 2-14 record, the Mavs will host the 8-6 Milwaukee Bucks at 8 PM (Central) on NBA League Pass Saturday. The Bucks are 7.5-point favorites in the game, and Dallas is just 1-8 at home this season. NBA oddsmakers at 5dimes set the over/under at 203 points for the affair.
Dallas has lost its past four and nine of its past 10, and it is being outscored by an average of 9.1 points per game. Of course, paramount in these struggles has been the precipitous decline of one Dirk Nowitzki. The legend from Germany has declined in such a fashion that he is shooting just 43.1 percent from the field and averaging 10.5 points per game. He did shoot 6 of 12 for 15 points and seven boards in the 111-87 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, but Dallas’ defense has been so poor that it can simply not stay in games.
Moreover, the Mavericks generate just 98.2 points per night, with leading scorer Harrison Barnes good for 18.8 of those. Dennis Smith Jr. has been a very pleasant surprise and possibly the steal of the draft, but the Mavericks are heavily reliant on a collection of players that are simply not shooting the ball well.
Dallas shoots just 42 percent from the floor as a team, and Yogi Ferrell, Devin Harris, Wes Matthews, J.J. Barea and Smith Jr. are all shooting 42 percent or worse. Dallas is just a disaster, and early indications are that the Mavericks will be in contention for the league’s worst record this season. It should not be a huge surprise, but to see Dirk relegate to an ineffective role player is certainly new territory for NBA fans.
The Bucks have won four-straight games to pull back over .500 at 8-6. Giannis Antetokounmpo is looking like an MVP candidate, and the forward is the engine behind a tough Bucks team that recently knocked off some quality opponents, including the No. 2 seeded Detroit Pistons.
Giannis is averaging 30.6 points, 10 rebounds, and 4.6 assists while coming up with 1.57 steals and 1.93 blocks. He is a game changer on both ends of the court, and even with the Bucks playing without starting power forward Jabari Parker, the season has gone well. Khris Middleton is playing like an All-Star, and second-year guard Malcolm Brogdon is solidifying his rookie of the year campaign with a strong sophomore season.
The Bucks recently added Eric Bledsoe at the low cost of Greg Monroe and a highly-protected first round pick, and now Bledsoe gives the Bucks another legitimate weapon, whereas Monroe bordered on a liability due to his defense.
Through four games, Bledsoe has averaged 13 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game, and after he gains more comfort he will be more vital still. Bledsoe and Brogdon make a nice interchangeable backcourt that the Bucks can certainly move forward with, with Giannis at the 3-spot. That trio should far well in the East, and the Bucks are definitely a playoff team.