After the Bulls surprisingly gave the Bucks all they could handle to open the series, Giannis & Co. could at least take comfort in knowing they did what matters most on the court, win. If they can do that again in Game 2, Milwaukee may begin to breathe easier in this series, despite Chicago’s apparent peskiness.
Here are our free NBA picks and predictions for Bulls vs. Bucks on Wednesday, April 20.
Bulls vs Bucks odds
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Shortly after their Game 1 tilt ended on Sunday, the Bucks opened as 10-point favorites at nearly every book, with at least one sticking to 9.5 instead. As of Wednesday’s Eastern sunrise, that line has not budged. The total has seen just as little movement, opening at 225.0 and remaining at that number into Wednesday.
Bulls vs Bucks predictions
Predictions made on 4/20/2022 at 6:55 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Bulls vs Bucks game info
• Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
• Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2022
• Tip-off: 9:30 p.m. ET
• TV: TNT
Bulls vs Bucks series odds
Bulls vs Bucks betting preview
Bulls: Matt Thomas SG (Out), Lonzo Ball PG (Out).
Bucks: Bobby Portis PF (Probable), Jordan Nwora PF (Probable), George Hill PG (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Under is 5-1 in Chicago’s last six road games against a team with a winning home record. Find more NBA betting trends for Bulls vs. Bucks.
Bulls vs Bucks picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
The Bulls caught the Bucks by surprise on Sunday. More accurately, Chicago caught everyone by surprise on Sunday. Milwaukee was favored by just as much then as tonight, yet the Bucks trailed with as little as 5:04 to go.
Given the final score of 93-86, clearly neither offense excelled, but Milwaukee’s struggles were quite unexpected. For that matter, they were the kinds of struggles that the Bulls cannot bank on replicating. The Bucks will make more than 65.2% of their free throws moving forward and well more than 26.3% of their threes. Shooting 40.5% from the field was also woeful, not to mention committing 21 turnovers.
Compare those rates to Milwaukee’s regular season: The Bucks made 77.6% of their free throws, 36.6% of their attempts from deep and 46.8% of their field goals while committing just 13.4 turnovers per game.
Of course, Chicago deserves some credit for how Milwaukee shot on Sunday, but for the most part, that was just a showing of bad variance for the Bucks.
Given the 14 points off turnovers that the Bulls benefited from, their own poor shooting variance cannot be banked on as strongly. As those fall with Milwaukee’s expected renewed discipline, making a few more threes will lose its effect.
Furthermore, any additional threes would most likely come from Zach LaVine, who went 2-of-10 from deep on Sunday. In seven games against Milwaukee over the last three seasons, LaVine has made 2.9 shots per game from beyond the arc while taking 7.7 of them. That 37.0% would have yielded him only one or two more made buckets on his high-volume shooting this weekend.
If that is the impact of the expected positive regression to the mean for Chicago, it should be far less than the Bucks enjoy.
Prediction: Bucks -9.5 (-115 at BetMGM)
As much as regression to the mean should suggest both these teams will find their offenses tonight, the doldrums of Sunday’s scoring scare off any Over dreams. The two combined for 179 points, a whopping 50 points below their pregame total.
Some of that was poor shooting variance. Some of it was also defense. As the former improves tonight, that does not mean the latter will fall by the wayside.
As Khris Middleton (11 points on 4-of-13 shooting) and Pat Connaughton (3 points on 1-of-7 shooting) notch a few more buckets tonight, and Alex Caruso (7 points on 3-of-7 shooting) and DeMar DeRozan (18 points on 6-of-25 shooting) do the same, they may still not add 50 points to Sunday’s total.
If all four of them were to respond by reaching their season averages tonight, that would add only 26.3 points to the game’s tally. Which would still put the output well Under this total.
Prediction: Under 225.0 (-108 at WynnBet)
This handicapper got a good amount wrong on Sunday. The Bucks clearly did not cover the 10-point spread, and avoiding the Under because a Bucks rout might find the Over was foolhardy in every regard.
But one thing was right: Doubting the Bulls’ offense with conviction. Chicago has not kept up with a quality opposing offense in a game that mattered since Feb. 24. While the Bulls’ defense could conceivably still lead to the game’s Under being spoiled, their offense will offer no such contributions.
Milwaukee should be worried by its offense on Sunday, but it should also know that will not matter in this series. The Bucks’ defense will be enough, particularly against this paltry Chicago offense. Fading it once again could not feel more prudent.
Pick: Bulls team total Under 107.5 (-112 at FanDuel)
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