Two of the NBA’s best teams this season will finish up a season series today as the 11-5 Utah Jazz visit the 13-3 Milwaukee Bucks (8 p.m. ET Monday on NBA TV).
On November 8, the Jazz won a tight 103-100 game thanks to a Bojan Bogdanovic three-pointer as time expired. That was the Bucks’ only loss since the beginning of November. Milwaukee has an 11-1 record in the month, while the Jazz have been also been hot as of late with seven wins in their last nine games.
Both teams could be without key players in this game. Khris Middleton will miss his seventh straight game for the Bucks with a leg injury, while Jazz center Rudy Gobert is questionable to play with a left ankle sprain.
With that information in mind, USAbetting will study the main factors surrounding the game before making our Utah Jazz vs Milwaukee Bucks predictions for the matchup based on the betting lines.
Will Utah Prioritize Protecting the Ball?
There’s a stark contrast between the way these two teams play. The Jazz would much rather keep the pace of the game slow, while the Bucks prefer to run in transition and get lots of points in transition. Not surprisingly, Milwaukee ranks second in fast-break points per game (18.6), while Utah ranks 27th (10.8).
One thing keeping the Jazz from dictating pace as well as they would like is their turnover problems. Utah is turning the ball over on 14.7 percent of offensive possessions, which ranks as the 24th-best turnover rate in the NBA.
Milwaukee is going to tire out the Jazz and take them out of their comfort zone if Utah continues to struggle with making smart passes and drives to the basket. In particular, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe are terrific players in transition on offense who can get easy baskets with their speed and athleticism or kick the ball out to open shooters.
Can the Bucks Ledger Their Size and Athleticism Advantage on the Boards?
Whether or not Rudy Gobert ends up playing, the Bucks do have an advantage in size and athleticism. In the first game between these teams, Utah slightly won the rebound battle, but that was partly due to Milwaukee attempting so many more shots due to the Jazz’s turnover problems.
In this game, there is a chance for the Bucks to use their advantage to win the battle of the boards in a big way. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe, Pat Connaughton, George Hill and D.J. Wilson are all Bucks rotation players who possess above-average length and athleticism for their positions. There are much fewer Jazz players who can say the same.
When combined with the turnover battle, the Bucks just really need to focus on effort in this game to get extra shots, because we know the Jazz defense will be stingy at making initial shot attempts difficult.
Will Mike Conley Win His Matchup Against Eric Bledsoe?
The Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell has been heating up as No. 1 option this season. The 23-year-old rising star had his moments as the leader of the Jazz offense in the past two seasons, but he has truly blossomed in his third year.
What Utah needs is for more players to step up alongside Mitchell in terms of creating offense for the team. Offseason acquisition Bojan Bogdanovic has been fantastic on that end so far, averaging 20.7 points on a 60.4 true-shooting percentage.
Bogdanovic is still more of an off-ball threat who thrives on the creation of others. Mitchell needs help from someone who creates offense for himself and others. Conley has definitely underwhelmed for the Jazz this season, averaging just 15.4 points and 4.4 assists per game on a below-average 51.2 true-shooting percentage.
Utah needs Conley to stay aggressive and confident in his scoring and facilitating against a tough defender in Bledsoe. The Jazz won’t have enough offensive firepower in this contest if Mike Conley plays in a timid manner.
Our Preview’s Utah Jazz vs Milwaukee Bucks Betting Picks & Predictions Verdict
The Jazz are coming into this after a stretch of three games in four nights, all of which were decided by eight points or fewer. Between that and Gobert’s condition, as well as Utah’s drastic home/road splits, I like the Bucks to win this game going away with a barrage of transition points.
While the Jazz did beat the Bucks by three points in Utah a couple weeks ago, there was some outlier three-point shooting in that game. Milwaukee shot very poorly, and Utah shot very well.
- The Bucks are favored by seven points with the best offshore odds setters for Americans in this game between two very strong teams. You should put your money on the Bucks -7pts @ -108 with BetOnline. It is -110 for the same spread with Bovada and Intertops.
- The Bucks will jump on the Jazz with some early transition points, forcing the less athletic Jazz to play a faster tempo than they would prefer. I’ll recommend that you take the over 223 total points to be scored @ -105 with Bovada 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.