Bucks vs. Cavaliers NBA Odds, Preview and Pick

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Darius Garland #10 of the Cleveland Cavaliers hits a free throw. Mark Blinch/Getty Images/AFP

Milwaukee travels to Cleveland for a one-game road stand. Milwaukee and Cleveland have both been winning games but repeatedly failing to cover the spread. Their tendency to win makes this a high-profile matchup. For reasons that I will explain, you should play the total for this game. Let’s go ahead and take a look at the NBA odds.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers 

Wednesday, January 26, 2022 – 7:00 PM EST at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

Three-Pointers for Milwaukee 

Three-pointers mean a lot to the Buck offense. Milwaukee attempts the fourth-most threes per game. This propensity to attempt threes is something that Milwaukee wanted to further facilitate by acquiring high-volume three-point shooter Grayson Allen.

It is true that Allen will not play in tonight's game. The efficient, 39.1-percent three-point shooter is serving a one-game suspension for the flagrant foul and injury that he inflicted upon Chicago's Alex Caruso.

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But the Bucks do not need Allen to be heavily devoted to shooting threes. For example, Allen sat out Milwaukee's last game due to his injured hip. In that game, without Allen, the Bucks attempted 42 three-pointers.

Even without Allen, Milwaukee has the personnel with which to attempt a lot of threes. Pat Connaughton, Khris Middleton, and other Buck players are all inclined to shoot many threes.
While Milwaukee's floor-spacing potential was limited by starting center Brook Lopez's injury, his replacement Bobby Portis is stepping up to attempt more threes per game than he ever has before in his NBA career.

Besides, Giannis Antetokounmpo is healthy enough to play -- he was just upgraded to 'probable' for tonight's game, which offers a solid indication that he will start tonight even if he isn't ideally fit. With Giannis, the Bucks love to execute the drive-and-kick. Especially a driving Giannis commands a lot of attention on his path to the basket, which leaves potential shooters open behind the arc.

Cleveland's Perimeter Defense 

It is crucial to know that Milwaukee wants primarily to shoot threes because this piece of knowledge yields strong insight into Cleveland's defensive chances in this game. The Cavaliers match up excellently against Milwaukee because they boast a stout perimeter defense. 

They allow the seventh-fewest three-pointers per game. Moreover, they concede open three-point attempts with the lowest frequency. These stats indicate that Cleveland is excellent at running opposing potential shooters off of the three-point line and that it ably impedes opponents from procuring propitious three-point attempts.

One reason why the Cavaliers' perimeter defense is so successful is that it has stout on-ball defenders. Having guys who can lock down an opposing potential scorer one-on-one is crucial against a team like Milwaukee that wants to spread out an opponent because spreading out an opponent reduces the probability of its help defense succeeding.

Recent top-five draft pick Isaac Okoro ably limits opposing field goal efficiency on both two- and three-pointers. Okoro's combination of strength, athleticism, and footwork, all of which keep opposing players from creating good angles for themselves in their endeavor to get past Okoro, enables him to keep opponents in front of him.

His versatility -- he can guard multiple positions -- maximizes his usefulness to the Cavaliers' defense. Jarrett Allen is another crucial piece to the Cavaliers' defense, another example of why it defends the perimeter so well.

He is a highly effective rim protector. Advanced stats show his value on a per-possession basis and his ability to limit opposing efficiency close to the basket. Having Allen behind them allows perimeter defenders to be more aggressive and thus more able to run opponents off the three-point line. Keep defenders like Allen and Okoro in mind for your best bets.

Milwaukee's 'Overs' 

The Bucks' 'overs' have been rather sparse since a ridiculous streak of offensive magnificence ended on January 1. Milwaukee's games have gone 'over' when they faced a high-tempo team like Sacramento and Memphis or in games where the three-point shooting was ridiculous.

When the Atlanta and Toronto games went 'over', both Milwaukee and its respective opponent converted well over 40 percent of their three-point opportunities. But the Cavs do not like to play at a fast tempo -- they rank 22nd in average pace.

They are, furthermore, not a good shooting team: they rank in the bottom half in a three-point percentage. For reasons that I explained above, the Bucks will struggle tonight from behind the arc. Expect, therefore, a slower-paced game that stays 'under' because of the tempo and the low efficacy from behind the arc.

NBA Pick: Under 217.5 (-110) with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Under 217.5 (-110)
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