NBA TV Betting Preview: Milwaukee Bucks at Dallas Mavericks

The Greak Freak has been beyond incredible through Milwaukee's first six games this season.
The Greak Freak has been beyond incredible through Milwaukee’s first six games this season.

Milwaukee Bucks at Dallas Mavericks
Time: 6 PM (CT), NBA TV
Spread: DAL -2.5
Total: 199.5

Betting odds c/o 5dimes

The Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks are two teams on the opposite ends of the NBA spectrum. On one hand you have the young 4-2 Bucks, an improving young core that is exciting fans on league pass nightly, led by the gifted forward/point-guard Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Their opponent, the hosting Dallas Mavericks, are at 0-5 on the season and aging more by the second. Youth versus experience? NBA oddsmakers are favoring experience, ever so slightly, with the Mavericks favored by 2.5 points as it looks for its first home win in its third contest in Dallas.

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The Bucks are a team on the rise, to be sure. They have won three-straight with wins over the New Orleans Pelicans (winless team), Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings. The roster is long, defensively-gifted, and very exciting. Giannis Antetokounmpo is also having a breakout season. He signed for the max over the summer and has hardly disappointed.

“The Greek Freak” is posting averages of 24 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game while coming up with 3.20 steals/blocks and a team high PER of 28.3. The Bucks simply could not ask for more from the steal of the 2013 draft, and he has brilliantly compensated for the lack of point guards and playmakers around him.

Also turning the corner on greatness is third-year forward Jabari Parker. Parker suffered a setback his rookie season and missed the majority of the year after going down in Milwaukee’s first game. But he has rebounded well since, and towards the end of last season he really showed signs. He has continued that strong play in 2016 in averaging 17.6 points and six rebounds per game while shooting 49.3 percent from the floor and 50 percent from behind the arc. Outside of Giannis and Parker, the Bucks have a lot of depth: six other players on the roster averaging six points or more per game.

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It has helped offset the loss of injured 2-guard Khris Middleton who is expected to miss the majority of the season but could be back in time for the playoffs should the Bucks make it. The Bucks reacted by obtaining Tony Snell from the Chicago Bulls as well as bringing in Michael Beasley.

The pair has combined for 14.8 points per game, but neither offers the outside shooting Middleton does. Snell is knocking down just 26.3 percent from behind the arc while attempting nearly five per game. Beasley is not even a three point threat at all.

The Bucks do lack that: Milwaukee is hitting just 7.4 threes pe game this season while shooting 32.5 percent as a team. Only Parker, Snell and Rashad Vaughn average more than one make per game, and it has to be wondered if spacing does not become an issue sooner or later for Milwaukee.

For the meantime, it seems reasonable that they knock off the aging Mavericks to improve to 5-2 this season in establishing their early season push as playoff contenders.

“Fear the Deer” may again be a relevant slogan for a team decimated by both injuries and poor backcourt play over the past two seasons. And while Middleton appeared to be on the verge of making his first All-Star team, instead the talented two-way guard is rehabbing the majority of 2016-17. Still, Milwaukee will be a force with its depth and defensive talents.

Dallas may be 0-5, but it has lost to four playoff caliber teams: Indiana, Houston (twice), Utah and Portland. The Mavericks will get its most winnable game in drawing Milwaukee on NBA TV, but Dirk Nowitzki is out for at least a week facing Achilles’ soreness. The signs of age are beginning to take their toll on the Mavs, and despite the team’s addition of Harrison Barnes, youth is not on its side.

Barnes has fulfilled the promise the Mavs hoped he would, though. The former Golden State Warriors forward is averaging 18.2 points and six rebounds per game while shooting 48.7 percent from the floor and 33 percent from three. He is playing 36.6 minutes a night, and is a clear improvement over the often-injured Chandler Parsons.

The problem is that after that, the Mavs second leading scorer is the dubiously talented JJ Barea. The 5’9” waterbed has averaged 16.4 points per game, but that has to be the least sustainable trend on the roster thus far this season.

Veterans Deron Williams and Wes Matthews have both been fair, but averaging 29 points per game between them likely is not enough for the Mavericks, who are tallying just 97.4 points per game as a team through its first five games.

While Dallas is favored in this one, the young Bucks are rolling, Dirk is out, and the Mavs are basically going to need Barnes to explode to emerge with a ‘W’ on Sunday. Dirk has averaged just 12 points per game through his three appearances this season, and the wheels appear to finally be falling off in Dallas. Next stop: rebuild city.

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