The 30-17 Milwaukee Bucks head to Portland to take on the 29-18 Trail Blazers Friday in my favorite NBA bet of the night. Before we get to my preferred pick between the Bucks and Trail Blazers, let us familiarize ourselves with each team.
Betting sites for bettors in New Jersey
Milwaukee Bucks: Strong Balance on Both Ends
My preferred way to dig into how offenses and defenses stack up around the league is to average out the rankings for the following categories:
- Points per game
- Effective field goal percentage
I find this gives a clearer look into how well each unit has been performing. The Bucks are one of just five teams in the NBA to be in the top 10 for both offense and defense.
This balance makes them one of the best teams in the league, and it helps they’re led by two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo leads Milwaukee in all major categories, averaging 28.3 points, 11.4 rebounds and 6.3 assists. He also chips in 1.1 steals and 1.3 blocks to solidify himself as one of the league’s premier players.
The Bucks’ offense is extremely high-paced, ranking third in field goals attempted per game and first in field goals made per game. They shoot at will and rebound well (second-most rebounds per game in the NBA).
We’ll touch on how important that is in a minute.
Portland Trail Blazers: Letting Threes Fly, Struggling on Defense
Portland, led by star Damian Lillard, is squarely in the mix of a loaded Western Conference – currently sitting as the sixth seed. The Trail Blazers’ offense is a top 10 unit and is particularly adept from long-range.
The Blazers are second in both threes attempted and made per game. The offense also holds onto the ball, turning it over the least in the league.
Center Enes Kanter has helped power one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the league, fueling second-chance points for Lillard, CJ McCollum and trade deadline acquisition Norman Powell.
When calculating pace of play, which includes possessions per game and field goals attempted per game, Portland plays fast: 12th in the NBA.
The downfall of this Blazers team will likely be their defense, which comes in second to last in the NBA. Teams shoot particularly well against this Portland defense, with an effective field goal percentage of 55.5%, 28th in the league.
Favorite Bet: Expect Points
The clear target in this game is to take the over. This matchup checks most boxes you’d want when taking the points: two top 10 offenses, a dreadful defense, and two teams that play a fast brand of basketball.
This is shaping up to be a back-and-forth battle.
For all the Bucks do well on defense, they are generous towards the three-pointer, ranking 20th in opponents’ three-point percentage. This shapes up nicely for a Portland squad chucking up threes at a mammoth clip.
Milwaukee’s top offense should have no issues against the porous Trail Blazers defense. The Bucks are likely to come out on top in this one simply because of their balance – but it would not surprise me if these Portland guards caught fire from deep. Consider taking Portland, which should be a home dog when lines are posted.
Betting options for Indiana
Recent Performance and Trends
- Record: 30-17
- ATS: 21-26
- O/U: 28-18-1
- Last 10: 7-3
- Current streak: W1
Portland Trail Blazers
- Record: 29-18
- ATS: 24-23
- O/U: 27-20
- Last 10: 7-3
- Current streak: W4