The Milwaukee Bucks will take on the Philadelphia 76ers in their first game of the season. Meanwhile, the 76ers will look to earn their first win after a tough loss on Tuesday night to the Celtics. Can the 76ers get back to .500?
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Thursday, October 20, 2022 – 07:30 PM EDT at Wells Fargo Center
What You Should Know
The Milwaukee Bucks will make their season debut on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Bucks are coming into the season with a chip on their shoulder after losing to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Playoffs last season.
Meanwhile, the 76ers have already played a game this season. Philadelphia lost to the Celtics, 126-117. They struggled defensively against Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and couldn’t overcome that.
The 76ers don’t have much depth on their roster. Can the Bucks’ depth help Milwaukee earn a win on the road? Here are our NBA picks and predictions for tonight’s Bucks vs. 76ers game.
Does Philadelphia Lack Depth on Bench?
The Philadelphia 76ers earned 117 points against the Celtics but still lost 126-117 in their first game of the season. The 76ers got 35 from James Harden and 26 from Joel Embiid. Both were dominant on the glass and helped earn plenty of assists. Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris each earned at least 18 points, and PJ Tucker added 6 points and 4 rebounds in 33 minutes while helping out mainly on the defensive end.
But the bench combined to score 11 points between 5 different players. The 76ers have still started the season with a 58.1% effective field goal percentage and 119.8 points per 100 possessions. That’s going to win plenty of games. However, the defense gave up 132.6 points per 100 possessions and allowed a 64.2% effective field goal. That’s not going to win games.
The 76ers didn’t earn many second chances on the glass but still could get to the foul line at a high rate. Philadelphia has been the best team at getting to the foul line over the last 3 seasons. Defensively, they held Boston away from the foul line but didn’t earn many turnovers and allowed Boston to shoot a field goal percentage of 56.1%.
What Can We Expect From the Bucks?
On the other hand, the Bucks will play their first game of the season. Last year, Milwaukee averaged 115.6 points per 100 possessions with a 55.1% effective field goal percentage.
Milwaukee was a Top-6 team in both categories and only turned the ball over 13.2% of the time, which was solid.
On defense, the Bucks didn’t play all that well. They were average, allowing 112 points per 100 possessions. The Bucks rarely earned turnovers but were sensational on the defensive glass, holding teams to 23.9% offensive rebounds.
Over the last 4 years, the Bucks have been super dominant on the defensive glass, and I don’t expect that to change this year.
The Bucks also have limited teams from getting to the foul line. They’ve been a top-2 team in that category in three of their last four seasons. The key to beating the 76ers is to keep them off the foul line.
Milwaukee will likely start Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Bobby Portis. The bench isn’t very different, with just Joe Ingles being the new face on the bench. He’ll be a solid perimeter player for Milwaukee this season.
The Bucks are still going to be average on the offensive glass and they’re still going to allow a higher effective field goal percentage than the average. Those 2 areas were concerns last year and probably will continue to haunt the Bucks moving forward.
But the Bucks will still be a playoff contender and will always match up well against a Philadelphia team that will probably start to fade going deeper in games thanks to the lack of a bench.
Prediction and Pick
If the Bucks can limit Philadelphia from getting to the line, they’ll already master the key to beating the 76ers. The Bucks also have much more depth and should get more production from their bench in this game.
I’m also not sure if we’ll see James Harden score 35 points every night, shooting 9-for-14 from the field. He’s had some really bad shooting nights previously. That’s going to be hard to sustain.
Therefore, I’ll take the Bucks against the spread to come into Philadelphia and likely earn their first win of the season.
Score Prediction: Bucks 114 - 76ers 105
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.