Bucks vs. Trail Blazers Top Picks for Monday: Giannis and Shooters to Help Dominate Portland

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Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives around Shaedon Sharpe #17 of the Portland Trail Blazers on November 21, 2022. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP.

NBA Pick: Bucks -4.5 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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The best sportsbooks have released their NBA odds for tonight’s game between the Bucks and Trail Blazers.

While the Bucks are looking unbeatable right now, Portland has also been winning more than losing and may thus seem formidable. But does the matchup suggest that the Trail Blazers will be formidable tonight?

For reasons that I will explain, you should play both the spread and the total for tonight’s contest.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Monday, February 06, 2023 – 10:00 PM EST at Moda Center

Injury Report

Milwaukee enjoys a laughably strong advantage at the center position tonight. It is not just that the Bucks have one of the top centers in the sport. Portland's starting center, Jusuf Nurkic, is listed as 'out' with a left calf strain.

As a result, Drew Eubanks will start at the center for Portland. If you haven't heard of Eubanks, then there's a reason why.

In his career, he's been little more than a center who averages a few points per game while offering little on the defensive end. Because Portland has other players who it can rely on to help the game go "Over" the posted total, it is Eubanks' defense that I'm concerned with.

His defensive rating is annually terrible. This season, his defensive rating is 115.5, which is likewise poor - in NBA advanced stats, a defensive rating is worse the higher it is above 100.

Avoiding the Mid-Range

Milwaukee's shot selection acknowledges the merit of analytics.

Recognizing the general inefficiency of mid-range shot attempts, the Bucks generally avoid those, mostly except for the fact that Khris Middleton reliably makes them.

Back with the Bucks, Middleton is a consistent double-figure scorer who can score at all three levels.

Matchup Inside

Milwaukee has a guy whom it likes to rely heavily on to score inside: perennial MVP candidate Giannis.

While even during his team's nine-game win streak the Bucks have shown the ability to win without much scoring from Giannis, Giannis is sure to add a lot of scoring to tonight's game. He has scored 33 or more points in six straight games while dominating the glass and accruing a healthy number of assists.

Spearheaded by Eubanks, Portland's interior defense lacks the tools to limit Giannis. Overall, the Trail Blazers allow the fourth-most field goal attempts within five feet of the basket.

Opponents love to score inside and Portland and Milwaukee with Giannis will prove no exception.

Caveat to Portland's Winning Ways

It is true that Portland has been winning most of its games, and this fact may lead one to want to see Portland as an alluring underdog.

However, a key feature of the Trail Blazers' recent victims renders them crucially distinct from Milwaukee, such that one should not derive optimism toward their prospects tonight because they beat those teams. Specifically, they beat the Wizards, Hawks, and Grizzlies that are more or less allergic to attempting three-pointers.

Although, they recently lost to a Bull team that likewise generally attempts few threes but converted over 40% of their three-point attempts against the Trail Blazers.

How Milwaukee Differs

More so than Chicago, Milwaukee is built to thrive from deep. The Bucks love to launch threes and have various weapons that are high-volume and efficient three-point shooters.

Among several others, look out for Grayson Allen with his 40.6 three-point shooting percentage. The Bucks have him operate off pin-down screens and find other ways to help him generate open three-point attempts.

By posing a threat from deep, Milwaukee forces its opponents to pay closer attention to the perimeter. But in doing so, Milwaukee's opponents leave themselves more vulnerable inside the arc.

Portland's inability to contain Giannis and Milwaukee's three-point shooting prowess will be visible hand-in-hand tonight.

Portland's Key Trend

One should also expect Portland to contribute a lot of scoring tonight.

Despite facing Memphis and the likes of defensively above-average (according to its defensive rating) Chicago, the Trail Blazers have scored over 120 points in four straight games. They've also scored 129 or more points in three of their last four home games.

Of course, the Trail Blazers star point guard is a walking bucket - Damian Lillard ranks fifth in the NBA with 30.9 points per game. His well-rounded scoring abilities have helped Portland exceed 120 points even when it struggles from deep.

The Verdict

Expect Milwaukee to thrive by more robust inside scoring as especially its star power thrives against negligible Portland resistance.

The Bucks' three-point shooting will both help Giannis and punish Portland's defense. As for the Trail Blazers offense, Lillard continues to sizzle and help the team add enough scoring for the "Over" tonight to hit.

With your NBA picks, invest in Milwaukee plus the "Over" tonight. For Milwaukee residents looking to bet on this game, you can check out our top Wisconsin betting sites.

NBA Pick: Bucks -4.5 (-110) at BetOnline

NBA Pick: Over 240 (-110) at BetOnline

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Over 240 (-110)
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*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.