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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers
NBA: Wednesday, February 12, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana, 7:30 PM ET
The Milwaukee Bucks will be looking for their sixth straight victory when they take on the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. The Bucks head to Indianapolis as the Eastern Conference leaders and a team with the best record in the NBA, while the Pacers are No. 6 seed in the East after losing six games in a row.
Milwaukee has won its first two encounters of the season with the Pacers, covering on both occasions. The Bucks defeated Indiana 102-83 as 7.5-point road favorites on Nov. 6 and 117-89 as 8-point home favorites on Dec. 22.
No Giannis, no problems for the BucksGiannis Antetokounmpo missed Monday’s game against Brooklyn due to the birth of his son, but the Bucks managed to cover a 10-point spread in a 123-111 home victory over the Sacramento Kings. They entered the fourth quarter with a two-point deficit, and the Bucks tightened up their defense down the stretch to surrender just 21 points to the Kings. Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe led the way for Milwaukee with 28 points each, while Brook Lopez added 20 points and three blocks.
"We were saying going into the fourth, whoever starts playing defense, starts getting stops is going to take the game away," Bucks centerBrook Lopezsaid. "That's what that group did who was out there at the beginning of fourth. It fueled us and we continued to ride on that through the whole fourth quarter."
The Bucks have dropped only one of their last 15 games overall and are cruising through the Eastern Conference. They are 6.5 games ahead of the second-seeded Toronto Raptors, while the Bucks are 5.5 games ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers in the race for the best record in the league. Milwaukee tallies 113.6 points per 100 possessions (4th in the league) on 48.2% shooting from the field (2nd), surrendering only 101.8 points in a return (1st) on 40.9% shooting from the field (also 1st).
The Pacers’ slump continues after a narrow home loss to the NetsIndiana is coming off a painful 106-105 home defeat to the Brooklyn Nets this past Monday. The Pacers had a 105-104 lead with 10.1 seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter, but Spencer Dinwiddie needed just five seconds to make a 21-foot jumper and hand the Pacers their sixth straight loss. Indiana had eight assists more (28-20) and four turnovers fewer (10-6) than the Nets, but Brooklyn took 21 free throws fewer than their opponents (32-11). Also, the Pacers hit just seven of their 30 attempts from deep (23.3%).
"We had a four-point lead there, late. We've got to win that," Indiana coach Nate McMillan said. "You've got to score and you've got to get stops and we didn't do that, again. It's us, again, not finishing the game."
The Pacers matched their longest skid since February 2017 and need to bounce back as soon as possible if they want to battle for the home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Indiana is 4.5 games behind the fourth-seeded Miami Heat, while the Pacers are six games ahead of No. 7 seed Brooklyn Nets. They will need some time to get along with Victor Oladipo who’s been averaging only 10.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in six games since recovering from a knee injury. Indiana scores 110.8 points per 100 possessions (15th in the league) on 47.7% shooting from the field (3rd), surrendering 108.7 points in a return (12th) on 44.9% shooting from the field (9th).
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Oddsshark.com, are: Milwaukee:
- 5-0 ATS in the last five games overall
- 13-3 ATS in the last 16 games against the Central Division
- 5-1 ATS in the last six contests on the road
- 1-5 ATS in the last six games overall
- 0-5 ATS in the last five games at home
- 1-5 ATS in the last six contests against Milwaukee
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Bucks are looking unstoppable at the moment. They are routing their rivals at will, while the Pacers are in serious crisis, so I’m looking for these trends to continue. The Pacers have suffered five straight losses on the home court, and the Bucks are undefeated in seven straight outings on the road. Also, Milwaukee has covered in five of its last six road contests.
The Bucks have been playing terrific defense all season long. They’ve limited the Pacers under 90 points in both previous encounters this season, so I cannot expect the Pacers to upset the odds after losing six straight games. Give me the visitors and points.
Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks -1.5 (-110)
Full-Game Total Pick
After scoring 83 and 89 points in their first two matchups with the Bucks this term, I expect the Pacers to finally get the things going offensively. Indiana has scored 103 or more points in five straight outings. The Bucks’ D is outstanding, but Milwaukee loves to play at a fast pace, so I expect to see a high-scoring affair. Milwaukee averages 105.2 possessions per 48 minutes which are the most in the NBA by far, and I think the Pacers cannot slow them down despite loving to play half-court basketball. The under is 8-1 in the last nine encounters between Milwaukee and Indiana, and it is 5-0 in Milwaukee’s last five outings on the road, but I’m going against the trends.
Prediction: Over 220.5 points (-110)