Two of the top six teams in the NBA’s Eastern Conference will square off in Detroit today as the 19-9 Milwaukee Bucks visit the 14-13 Detroit Pistons (7 p.m. ET Monday).
The Bucks have had their struggles since a 7-0 start, but they are still chugging along with the NBA’s best point differential (plus-9.0 per game). Milwaukee is both an elite offense and defense due to its star power, shooting and versatility.
The Pistons started 13-7 before losing six games in a row behind a declining defense. However, they halted the Boston Celtics’ eight-game winning streak on Saturday with a 113-104 win to break free from their own losing streak.
Did the Celtics win put the Pistons on a winning track? Or are the Bucks too well-rounded for Detroit? We will see this evening. After we preview the game’s storylines, we’ll make some decisions on how to bet on the game with our picks and Milwaukee Bucks vs Detroit Pistons predictions.
Can Pistons Limit Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Free-Throw Attempts?
The Pistons are a good defensive team according to most metrics, but they do a terrible job keeping opponents off the free-throw line. Detroit opponents average 0.239 free throws per field-goal attempt, which is the highest mark in the NBA.
The Bucks have my personal favorite for MVP at this point in the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo, on their roster. The Greek Freak is a 6’11” wing with insane length and athleticism who ranks third in the NBA in free-throw attempts per game (9.2). In his most recent game, he had 44 points and went 16-of-21 from the line.
It’s unclear who exactly on the Pistons roster might be able to guard Antetokounmpo for significant stretches of time. Whoever guards him will need to stay disciplined and not get baited into silly fouls. Detroit does not have the wing depth to survive significant foul trouble.
Can Bucks’ Big Men Defend Blake Griffin & Andre Drummond Without Double Teaming?
The Pistons’ general gameplan this season has been letting Griffin and Drummond dominate inside and letting them find open shooters and cutters when opponents double team them.
Milwaukee isn’t the best team at defending the interior. Starting center Brook Lopez is a decent rim protector, but the team plays a lot of smaller lineups that don’t feature as much strength or size. The big men who guard Griffin and Drummond will need to bring their best effort on defense to help stop the Pistons’ big man-oriented offense.
If those Bucks big men can stand their ground and not need help from teammates, the Pistons’ shooters (most notably Reggie Bullock, Luke Kennard, Langston Galloway and Reggie Jackson) won’t be able to get in rhythm with open looks.
What Can Bucks Get From Khris Middleton & Malcolm Brogdon?
Milwaukee was without two very important players in their Friday win against the Cavaliers: Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon. Middleton, a fringe All-Star type player, is dealing with a finger injury and Brogdon has had hamstring tightness.
These issues don’t seem to be serious, as both guys have played through these injuries to some degree already. Against a poor team like the Cavs, though, the Bucks could afford to sit both of them and still win.
Middleton and Brogdon have been announced as probable to play today. These two players both usually get a lot of minutes and can be key to the Bucks’ advantage in wing depth over the Pistons if they play and are able to perform to their normal standards.
Middleton, in particular, has been shooting poorly from the field in his last several games, possibly because of the finger injury. If he is feeling better for this Monday night NBA game, that will be huge for his Bucks.
Our Preview’s Milwaukee Bucks vs. Detroit Pistons Betting Picks & Predictions Verdict
I see the Pistons’ win as more of a one-game anomaly than the new normal for them. The Celtics entered that game tired from a lot of recent travel and were playing on a back-to-back.
Milwaukee will come into this game rested with a deep squad that is faster and more athletic than Detroit’s. The Pistons’ home-court advantage will be a factor, but their play over the past two weeks has been too underwhelming for me to pick them to cover the spread here. This how our Milwaukee Bucks vs Detroit Pistons predictions for this preview shape up:
- The Bucks are considered a 4-point favorite by most of the United States’ offshore betting outlets. We recommend taking the Bucks -3.5pts @ -117 odds with BetOnline. If you want the better betting odds then you need to give away an extra half point: It is -4pts @ -110 with Bovada or Intertops.
- Even though I think the plan will ultimately fall, the Pistons will probably see their size as an advantage against Milwaukee and will do their best to slow the game down and take advantage on rebounds. With the Bucks’ ailing players, they also might not want to play this game too quickly. I advise betting the under 225 total points to be scored @ -110 with Bovada, Intertops or BetOnline.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.