Knicks vs. Bucks NBA Odds, Preview and Prediction

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Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks is defended by Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP.

The Milwaukee Bucks (30-20) host the New York Knicks (23-26) on ESPN this Friday night. The Bucks had won three in a row before losing 115-99 in Cleveland on Wednesday night. The Knicks are slumping again with losses in five of their last six games, including an 0-2 start to this three-game road trip. But what about the NBA odds?

New York Knicks vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Friday, January 28, 2022 – 10:00 PM EST at Fiserv Forum

The Bucks (21-29 ATS) are a 9-point favorite over the Knicks (24-25 ATS) at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks. Can the Knicks even the season series at 2-2? All three meetings between these teams this season have been decided by at least 12 points.

Season Series: Bucks Lead 2-1

These teams met twice in the same week in early November with the Knicks winning the first game in Milwaukee, 113-98. Julius Randle was dominant for the Knicks, scoring 32 points, a number he has only topped twice all season. Derrick Rose also had 23 points off the bench for New York as the Bucks were missing Khris Middleton in that one.

In the rematch five days later in Madison Square Garden, the Bucks were prolific from three, making 26-of-50 shots from deep in a 112-100 win. It was an odd game as the Bucks only got to the free-throw line nine times, and bench player Pat Connaughton led all scorers with 23 points as only the three-ball worked for Milwaukee that night. Giannis Antetokounmpo was held to 15 points, but he had 15 rebounds and 8 assists. The Bucks again were missing Middleton.

When the teams met a month later, Middleton returned to lead the Bucks with 24 points. Giannis had a triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists. Randle had 8 points and 7 turnovers in another rough outing during what has been a massively disappointing season following his breakout year.

While the Bucks have been all over the map against the Knicks, New York shot 42.7%, 42.7%, and 43.4% from the field in the three meetings against Milwaukee. New York’s consistently poor shooting effort is a good way to lose to the Bucks, who are 20-4 this season when holding opponents under 44.0% shooting. The Bucks are also 22-6 when holding opponents under 110 points. The Knicks, the slowest-paced offense in the league, have not cracked 110 points in 15 of their last 17 games, including six straight games (1-5 record).

The only good news is the Knicks have not allowed Giannis to score more than 25 points in the three meetings as he’s shot under 44% from the field in each game. Giannis only has seven games this season with no more than 25 points and 44% shooting, so three of them coming against the Knicks is good. But if he’s still finding a way to dish out assists and be a dominant rebounder and shot-blocker, then the Bucks still have the best player on the court with Randle’s continuous disappearing act this season.

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Recent Play

Both teams are just 6-7 in January and both offenses are shooting under 45% from the field. Additionally, the Knicks (109.5) are No. 10 in defensive rating in January, and the Bucks (109.6) are right behind them at No. 11. It has not been a strong start to 2022 for either team.

Still, there is much more promise with the Bucks, who have been able to notch wins over the Warriors, Nets, and Grizzlies in recent games. The Bucks just had a lousy second and third quarter in Cleveland on Wednesday in a 16-point road loss. The Bucks shot 9-of-32 (28.1%) from three, some expected regression after shooting 21-of-42 from three against the Kings in a high-scoring win this week. Look for the Bucks to bounce back in a better shooting performance at home.

Over the last six games, the 1-5 Knicks rank 25th in net rating and 28th in offensive rating. The Knicks are a better rebounding team than Milwaukee, and that was key to their one win over the Bucks as they were plus-22 on the boards, their highest game this season. But in the two losses, the Knicks lost the rebound battle by 9 and 12 to Giannis and company. The Knicks have not been able to shoot above 43% in five of their last six games.

Guard Derrick Rose has four games this season with at least 18 points and three of those were against the Bucks, so the Knicks will be without one of their best performers this season as Rose has not played since December 16.

Prediction

Milwaukee has been anything but reliable as a spread bet this season, but it’s mostly been above-average teams that give the Bucks problems. The Bucks are 8-19 ATS against teams ranked in the top 17 in net rating and 13-10 ATS against teams ranked 18th or worse in net rating. The Knicks are the No. 20 team in net rating right now.

While I might bet the under for Giannis’ scoring in this one, I would feel fine with picking the Bucks to cover for your NBA picks this Friday night.

NBA Pick: Bucks -9 (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Bucks -9 (-110)
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