The In-Season Tournament arrives in Las Vegas on Thursday with an array of headline acts — and all eyes will be on Giannis Antetokounmpo's NBA player props markets in the first semifinal as the Milwaukee Bucks take on the Indiana Pacers.
Despite taking down the Boston Celtics in the last round, the Pacers are underdogs here in the latest NBA odds — partly due to the Giannis factor — as he and Damian Lillard chase their first trophy as a duo.
Finally, we've also isolated some excellent Pacers vs. Bucks props to round out the slate.
Giannis Antetokounmpo NBA prop picks
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Giannis Antetokounmpo NBA prop pick
Over 32.5 points (-110)
With the level of scrutiny being thrown at the Milwaukee Bucks this season, you might think they were off to a .500 start. But they’re sitting at 15-6 while still only scratching the surface of the Giannis-Lillard offensive threat.
The Vegas spotlight should be a perfect fit for Antetokounmpo, who’s coming off a 35-point, 10-assist night against the New York Knicks in the quarterfinals and is looking more and more comfortable with the rejigged roster around him.
There’s a lot to like with the Giannis odds for this marquee matchup, but I’m drawn to the points prop. He’s had 33 points or more in three of his past five contests, and I expect a slight uptick in his minutes tonight with a place in the final on the line. He’s already torched Indiana last month with a 54-point scoring clinic on 19-for-25 shooting.
The Indiana Pacers only really know one way to play with the current roster — and that’s an up-tempo, shootout style. They lead the NBA with an offense that’s putting up 128.4 points per game and they’re dead last defensively, giving up 125 points a night.
If this game is played on Indiana’s terms, there’s every chance both teams get close to 120 points, and that just adds to the appeal of this Giannis prop.
Myles Turner is likely to be the Pacers’ best option against Antetokounmpo, but the alternatives are slim beyond him. Giannis should be able to feast both in the paint and in transition, so I'm taking the Over.
Prop: Giannis Antetokounmpo Over 32.5 points (-110 at bet365)
Giannis Antetokounmpo NBA same-game parlay
I’m sticking with Giannis for the second leg of my SGP. Antetokounmpo has had back-to-back outings with 10 assists and a fast pace in today’s contest should help again here.
The Bucks have enjoyed success surrounding him with capable shooters — from Lillard and Khris Middleton to Brook Lopez and Malik Beasley — and they can all expect good looks as Giannis draws extra help.
I see Antetokounmpo sharing the rock in this semifinal and blowing past the 5.5-assists line for the third straight game, especially if the Pacers resort to double-teaming him when he catches the ball in the post.
With the line jacked up to 254.5 for this showdown, the Under is also an attractive pick. Yes, there’s next-level offensive talent on both teams, and Tyrese Haliburton is a playmaking maestro, but I see the intensity of the occasion serving up more of a playoff feel.
That should translate to a more committed defensive effort from both teams, and it’s worth remembering the Celtics and Pacers only combined for 234 points in their quarterfinal this week in a knockout environment.
The presence of Giannis and Lopez around the rim should chip away at some of Indiana’s easy buckets too. Meanwhile, I don’t see Milwaukee repeating its 146-point fireworks from Tuesday night.
Make no mistake, this isn’t going to be a scrappy, rock fight, but the Over/Under line feels too high.
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