Free NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors vs Milwaukee Bucks 12-07-18
This is a big game, for both teams. Almost exactly a month ago these teams faced off and Milwaukee put on a massacre showing, 134-111 on the defending champs. Prior to that game, Golden State was pretty much on their victory lap after having won the NBA Championship last June. The Warriors were 10-1, 6-0 at home, and had won eight consecutive. Then Stephen Curry went out with an injury late into the third quarter of that game and missed the rest of November. Entering Decmeber, Curry’s returned. Return might be an understatement as he’s scored 27, 30, then 42 in the teams’ first three December games. The team is 2-1 since he’s been active. It’s no secret they’re one of the highest scoring teams and have managed to still be at 116.7 points per game even as Curry’s missed a substantial chunk of the season. The most revealing stat, however, is their record during his injury as they were 5-6 since facing Milwaukee. Teammate Draymond Green has also been hurt and only appeared in two games since the Milwaukee contest. Green was sorely missed in that Bucks game and the team’s suffered defensively since his injury. However, they’re second in the league in blocks per game (5.6) and seventh in opponents three-point field goal percentage (33.4). The Warriors are getting back to health in spite of some of their mishaps while Green is projected to return within the next coulple weeks.
Milwaukee, meanwhile, is on a tear this year and, many believe have a legit shot at contending for a championship as they’re second in the eastern conference standings. They’re first in the league in scoring at 121.09 points per game and do not seem to be regressing. In fact, they’ve scored under 110 only three times, which is a telling stat when you consider their record against the spread when their opponents score over 110 (see below). Another telling stat is the scoring margin (+10.7) over their opponents, best in the association. Key to this is their second half scoring margin as the team turns it on outscoring their opponents by a +5.6 point differential. The Bucks are also third in field goal percentage shooting at a 48 percent clip and lead the NBA in rebounds grabbing 50.7 a game. Giannis Antetokounmpo is putting up worthy MVP numbers this year at the small forward position. He’s third in field goals made per game at 10.23 per game (Kevin Durant leads the NBA) and is thirteenth in shooting percentage at 57.5 percent. The twelve players ahead of him all play the power forward and center positions. Defensively, they take care of the glass (40.5) and are second in opponents field goal percentage (44.0).
Golden State is 3-7 ATS in the last 10 games versus Milwaukee
Golden State is 7-3 SU in the last 10 games versus Milwaukee
The Warriors are 5-2 ATS while playing on the road versus eastern conference opponents
Total has gone OVER in 6 of 7 games when playing away versus East opponents
Milwaukee is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games
12-2 SU at home
9-4-1 ATS at home
2-9-1 ATS when opponents score over 110 points
My Pick: Milwaukee -1.5, UNDER 239.5
Milwaukee came to play in their last matchup with the Warriors. Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe and the rest of the Bucks played with pace and efficiency. They also played aggressively in that game, out-rebounding their opponent, 46-38. Golden State played without a lot of energy in the head-to-head, giving up 105 points through three quarters in front of their roaring Oracle arena crowd. I think the Warriors, knowing how poorly they played at home, will come into this game with a mission and hope to flip the script. Durant, Curry and Klay Thompson will not want a repeat performance. However, this game is likely to go over 110 for each team and I believe Milwaukee will cover the spread by a few points. It won’t be a blowout again, but Milwaukee will hold serve comfortably throughout while Golden State comes up short in the end.