Nets vs. Bucks NBA Opening Night Picks and Predictions

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Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrates. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images/AFP.

The Milwaukee Bucks kick off their season defending their championship against their fierce rivals, the Brooklyn Nets. Which team should you bet on tonight to make the right NBA pick?

Brooklyn Nets vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 – 07:30 PM EDT at Fiserv Forum

Brooklyn Nets

The Nets have their share of offseason drama as Kyrie Irving is unable to play in home games due to being unvaccinated. Irving is eligible to play in road games, but the Nets decided against him being a part-time player. He will not participate in team activities until he receives the vaccine.

For most teams losing an All-Star caliber player would definitely dampen their chances of a title, but with James Harden and Kevin Durant, the Nets are still a solid favorite to win the NBA championship.

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets cheers from the bench. (Photo by KEVORK DJANSEZIAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

Durant and Harden are two fearsome offensive forces and the Nets have tried to build their supporting cast better this season. LaMarcus Aldridge will return after a heart condition sidelined him from the playoffs last season. The Nets drafted Cam Thomas, who is a nice scorer and will help with shot creation at guard during Kyrie's absence.

The biggest offseason acquisition has to be Patty Mills. Mills is a veteran point guard with scoring potential, but most importantly he knows how to set the pace for the team. This will be important in the minutes where Durant or Harden are resting.

Mills will be asked to keep the pace of the team during these minutes and if he simply is able to keep a lead rather than build a lead, his job will be considered a success.

When teams add stars usually they are successful, but they need the solid glue type of veteran role players in order to win a championship. Patty Mills is this type of acquisition.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks are coming off a championship season and return the key core that won the title for them.

Giannis Antetokounmpo appears to have worked on his outside shooting during the offseason, which is the final piece of the puzzle for Giannis all-around dominating game. If Giannis is able to sink outside shots, particularly 3-pointers with somewhat regularity, he will definitely be a top contender for his third MVP title.

Khris Middleton’s shooting was the reason the Bucks won the title. Middleton is adept at mid-range shooting, can create his own shot, and has the nerve to knock down big shots in crunch time. With last season's success to build upon, there is no reason to expect that Middleton will be anything but improved from his All-Star form last season.

Jrue Holiday was the piece that moved the needle for the Bucks defensively. Many NBA fans on Twitter decried Holiday's poor shooting, but those truly watching the game understood the amount of effort he was giving on defense. His ability to shut down opposing teams at the point of attack was worth much more than a high shooting percentage.

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

In my eyes, Holiday is completely absolved of his shooting woes for the effort, intensity, and success he displayed on the defensive end of the court. With Giannis’ elite athleticism and work ethic, Middleton's clutch shooting, and Holiday's dogged defense at the point of attack, the Bucks are ready to defend their title.

Key Matchup

Bucks center Brook Lopez versus the Nets bigs. The series against the Nets was won by Milwaukee on the glass. The Bucks' superior rebounding allowed them to score more points while shooting at a much lower percentage, due to the increased amount of attempts and opportunities they had.

Nothing crushes the spirit of a defense to lock down for 23 seconds, force a miss from your opponent, and then watch him grab the rebound. This compels the defense to reset for at least 14 more seconds of intense defense.

Brooklyn will have to be better in the rebounding category against Lopez and the other assorted Bucks big men if they want to have a chance to steal this season-opening game in Milwaukee.

Best Bet

Although the Nets will probably finish with more wins this season, and might even be the better team, home-court advantage means so much in this matchup. The Bucks play so much better at home, particularly the shooting of Holiday and Middleton.

The Bucks title has been dismissed by some observers as a result of opponents’ injuries, so they should be a motivated team, even coming off all their championship plaudits. Fiserv Forum will be rocking! While it is tough to bet against Kevin Durant, I'm betting on the defending champs at one of BMR's best sportsbooks.

NBA Pick: Milwaukee Bucks ML (+102) at BookMaker (visit our BookMaker Review)

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Milwaukee Bucks ML (+102)
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