Two of the three titans of the Eastern Conference clash on Thursday night when the Milwaukee Bucks host the Philadelphia 76ers in the first leg of a two-game set.
Despite leading their respective divisions, both clubs come into this contest looking to snap two-game losing skids but it's the Bucks who oddsmakers prefer tonight as a 7-point NBA betting home favorite.
Check out our best free NBA picks and predictions for 76ers vs. Bucks, with tipoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.
76ers vs Bucks odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
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NBA sharp money and line movement reportBy Patrick Everson
As of 4:30 p.m. ET, Milwaukee is out to an 8-point favorite at PointsBet USA, which opened at Bucks -5.5 overnight. However, ticket count and money are both running just shy of 3/1 on the 76ers. The total bounced around a bit, from 226.5 to 227.5 to 225, then to 225.5, with the Over getting 59 percent of tickets and the Under taking 67 percent of money.Check out the full line movement for this game
76ers at Bucks betting preview
76ers: Ben Simmons G (Questionable), Tobias Harris G (Questionable), Seth Curry G (Questionable).
Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo F (Questionable).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Under is 5-0 in the 76ers' last five games playing on 0 days rest. Find more NBA betting trends for 76ers vs. Bucks.
Against the spread (ATS) pick
Both these teams enter tonight's matchup having lost consecutive games, with their most recent losses both against the Phoenix Suns. The Bucks, however, have not played since a 1-point overtime defeat on Monday, while the 76ers are playing on the tail-end of a back-to-back after coming up three points short last night.
In addition to being more rested, Milwaukee is also in much better shape health-wise: Its only player on the injury report is superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is listed as questionable after exiting early in the loss against Phoenix. By all reports, he just left due to a calf cramp and as he has played in three games (without issue) since returning from a knee injury, and is fully expected to suit up after two full days of rest.
Philly, on the other hand, battled hard last night without starters Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and Seth Curry as Joel Embiid displayed why he is an MVP candidate. With everybody and their dog knowing Embiid was going to have to shoulder the offense, the dynamic big man went off for 38 points (on 60.9-percent shooting) with 17 rebounds—including a stretch over the last five minutes of the game where he scored 14 straight points for Philadelphia to keep them in the game.
That said, it could be hard to maintain that energy after such a spirited effort last night, especially if the Sixers remain shorthanded against a Bucks team that is holding opponents to the league's fifth-lowest FG percentage in April.
Philly head coach Doc Rivers said he did not know who would be available for both contests in this two-game Wisconsin set. It's a very real possibility that the Sixers give their injured trio an extra two days to recover — and possibly limit Embiid's minutes playing consecutive nights — as they gear up for the second tilt on Saturday.
The Sixers have also covered in just one of their last six visits to Milwaukee. This line opened at Bucks -5.5 and has already jumped to -8—we're going to side with the money tonight and grab this line before it grows even bigger.
PREDICTION: Milwaukee -8 (-115)
The Under is 10-1 in Philadelphia's last 11 road games, while the Over is 8-1 in Milwaukee's last nine home games. Talk about contrasting trends!
The 113 points Philly scored was its highest output in the last three games, but it took a Herculean effort from Embiid and we're not sure how much gas he'll have left (or be allowed to use) playing on consecutive nights.
The Bucks are 4-2 O/U in their last six games, but three of those contests were against Orlando, Minnesota, and Memphis — Bottom-10 defenses this month — and the Bucks needed overtime to get Over the total against Phoenix.
With all the key injuries, it's hard to envision Philly even matching last night's 113-point output against the Bucks on a back-to-back. The Sixers still are playing great defense, however, holding Golden State and the Clippers under 110 points without Simmons and Harris, so it's not impossible to think they can contain Milwaukee to Under 120.
With the total sitting at 225.5, quickly dropping from the opening 228.5, we're again going to get in on this number now before it plummets any further.
PREDICTION: Under 225.5 (-110)
Player prop pick
The Sixers defense has been stout all year but over the last three contests, they've been burned by some high-scoring guards. Paul George went off for 37 against them (despite Kawhi Leonard sitting out), then Steph Curry torched them for 49 points in a true one-man show, while Chris Paul led the way with 28 points last night.
Philadelphia's Simmons, one of the frontrunners for Defensive Player of the Year, is not likely to be in the lineup. And even if he does suit up we'd expect him to be hounding Giannis all game, so we're instead turning our attention to Milwaukee's high-scoring guard Jrue Holiday.
Holiday is third on the Bucks with 17.4 points per game on the season but is averaging 21 ppg in April and is coming off a 25-point effort against the Suns. He scored 19 in the previous tilt with Philadelphia and we like him to have another solid performance tonight.
PREDICTION: Jrue Holiday Over 18.5 points (-110)
76ers vs Bucks betting card
- Milwaukee -8 (-115)
- Under 225.5 (-110)
- Jrue Holiday Over 18.5 points (-110)
Picks made on 4/22/2021 at 10:22 a.m. ET
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