Bucks vs. Mavericks NBA Picks and Predictions

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Jrue Holiday #21 of the Milwaukee Bucks handles the ball. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP.

Both these teams are expected to play on Christmas Day versus other opponents, with Dallas going to Utah and Milwaukee heading home to host Boston. However, tonight, the Mavs and Bucks matchup in Big D.

Betting the NBA has arguably never been harder as what you think in the morning about who to back can take a 180-degree turn because of players heading into health and safety protocols in the afternoon.

Yet, these are the times in which we live and you have to be 100% adaptable to change your mind at any given moment with NBA odds acting like a volatile stock market, where nobody is quite certain what is next.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Dallas Mavericks 

Thursday, December 23, 2021 – 08:30 PM EST at American Airlines Center

The betting odds at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review) have Milwaukee as a 5.5-point road favorite with the total sitting at 215.

Dallas Dealing With a Variety of Issues

On Wednesday, the Mavericks announced guard Luka Dončić and Trey Burke had entered the league's health and safety protocols. Already on the list before this were teammates Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, and Josh Green for the same reason.

That makes an already thin Mavs roster that much worse, but the possibility exists some or all can return having negative tests to resume play. Coach Jason Kidd has to be quite frustrated as Dončić was supposed to return tonight after missing five consecutive games with an ankle injury.

With the NBA allowing teams to sign players in a “hardship” situation, Mavs GM Nico Harrison has been busy trying to find the right type of players who – might – fit Kidd’s offensive and defensive schemes.

Dallas enters this scheduled contest 15-15 (13-16-1 ATS) and is coming off a good 114-102 win versus Minnesota, which was a “Pick”. For this encounter, the Mavs will have to lean on Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Dwight Powell for points and leadership. Individuals like newly signed Theo Pinson don’t have an inkling of the play calls and have to just fit in or get the heck out of the way.

Milwaukee Relies on Holiday’s Leadership

Jrue Holiday was not always a focal point for the Bucks until they faced Phoenix in the Finals, where he dominated whoever he was matched up against and was a key cog.

This season with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Bobby Portis in and out of the lineup for a host of reasons, the main reason Milwaukee is 20-13 (15-17-1 ATS) and not .500 is Holiday. With Giannis and Middleton sidelined, he’s been the No.1 option on offense for scoring and running the offense to help others get good shots.

Holiday had his injury maladies to start the year and the Bucks offense and defense was off-kilter without him. Since his return, Milwaukee’s offense has moved back into the top 7 in scoring and in the top 10 in defensive efficiency.

Eventually, teams like the Bucks will return to full strength (we hope), and those who were best equipped to weather the storm can make a stronger late-season push, having already put together a good record when others faltered.

Bucks vs. Mavericks Free Pick Prediction

There are many ways to look at this nonconference clash between these teams for NBA picks. Off the top, Dallas would seem to have the upper hand, having won 3 of 4 SU and riding a 4-0 ATS streak, along with a 16-7 SU home record long term. And Milwaukee won at Houston by 20 last night, yet is 2-4 and 1-5 ATS with no rest.

However, the Mavs as noted are extremely thin, and can you count on them to make enough shots to keep this contest close?

While we will lean with Dallas, our actual choice against the top-rated sportsbooks will be the total. Though the sample size is small, the Bucks have only averaged 101.7 PPG playing in the second of two straight games.

With Giannis unlikely to play at last look, Milwaukee has shot under 44% in three straight games and probably won’t score their average of 110. Plus, Dallas is not likely to score a lot of points with so few true scoring options. With the Mavs 13-4 Under as a home underdog, we’re backing the lower score for our pick tonight.

NBA Pick: Under 215 (-110) at Bookmaker

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Under 215 (-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.