The Denver Nuggets visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday as basketball takes center stage after the end of the football season. The contest could be a preview of this year’s NBA Finals. While the Nuggets seem like the favorites to come out of the West, there are still doubts about the Bucks.
Denver is 36-17, in a three-way tie for the second seed in the West, 0.5 games behind the top seed. Meanwhile, Milwaukee is 34-19, fighting for the second seed. It is seven games behind the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics.
It’s the second and final matchup of the season between the Nuggets and Bucks. Denver secured a 113-107 win on their home court on Jan. 29. It was Doc Rivers’ debut game as Milwaukee’s coach.
Denver Nuggets vs. Milwaukee Bucks preview, betting tips, odds and prediction
NBA TV will televise the Nuggets-Bucks game. Local TV operators Altitude (Denver) and Bally Sports Wisconsin (Milwaukee) will also cover the game. Viewers abroad can watch the contest online via NBA League Pass from 8:00 pm ET onwards.
Moneyline: Nuggets -115, Bucks -105.
Spread: Nuggets -1 (-110), Bucks +1 (-110)
Total (o/u): Nuggets o232.5 (-110), Bucks u232.5 (-110)
Editor’s note: The odds could change close to the game. The odds listed were as per available information at the time of writing.
Denver Nuggets vs. Milwaukee Bucks preview
The Denver Nuggets were on a three-game winning streak before the Sacramento Kings snapped it with a 135-106 mauling on Friday. Denver was without two starters, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Michael Porter Jr. and played on the second night of a back-to-back.
Meanwhile, Nikola Jokic also played with a niggle after heading to the locker room early with a back issue. Jamal Murray played only 26 minutes and tallied 12 points on 40.0% shooting. The Nuggets seemed gassed and didn’t have the juice to keep up with the Kings through 48 minutes. Monday could be different, with a decent break to rest up and prepare for the one-game trip to Milwaukee.
On the other hand, the Milwaukee Bucks come into this game, ending a three-game skid. They recorded a decimating 120-84 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday, their best result under Doc Rivers yet. Even a close win on Monday against the reigning NBA champions will top that result for Rivers with his new team.
The Bucks looked in sync against the Hornets. However, it was a relatively easy fixture as Charlotte was on a nine-game losing streak, and Milwaukee was expected to take care of business at home.
If the Bucks’ defense can hold up the same against Denver, things might start to look favorable for the team under Doc Rivers after a rough start.
Denver Nuggets vs. Milwaukee Bucks starting lineups
Nuggets’ starting lineup:
PG – Jamal Murray, SG – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF – Michael Porter Jr., PF – Aaron Gordon, C – Nikola Jokic
Bucks’ starting lineup:
PG – Damian Lillard, SG – Malik Beasley, SF – Jae Crowder, PF – Giannis Antetokounmpo, C – Brook Lopez
Editors note: These are predicted starting lineups, which could change depending on the availability of players uncertain to play. Lineups will be updated close to the game.
Denver Nuggets vs. Milwaukee Bucks betting tips
Giannis Antetokounmpo is favored to score over 30.5 points. He’s averaging 30.7 points on the season and 29.4 points in his last five games. Giannis hasn’t hit the mark in his past two games.
However, he was benched early in both outings, with the Bucks seemingly headed for a blowout win over Charlotte and a loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Betting the over on his points total should be a good bet.
Meanwhile, Nikola Jokic is favored to be held under 12.5 rebounds. He’s averaging 12.2 per game on the season and 12.8 in his past five outings. He also had 16 rebounds when the teams last met, so going over his rebounds total shouldn’t be a bad bet.
Jokic is favored to go over an assists total of 8.5. He’s averaging 9.0 assists on the season and 8.8 in his past five. The record shows for itself, so betting over his assists total is also a good pick.
Denver Nuggets vs. Milwaukee Bucks prediction
The Denver Nuggets are marginal favorites to complete the season series sweep over the Milwaukee Bucks. The Nuggets have been the more consistent and efficient team all around. Barring their blowout loss to the Sacramento Kings on Friday, the Nuggets have been clinical this season.
The same can’t be said for the Bucks, who changed coaches midseason. Despite a decent record, Milwaukee’s glaring weaknesses hold it back, leading to its predicted loss by oddsmakers.