The long offseason is now behind us, as the new NBA season tips off Tuesday night in Milwaukee.
The lead-off for tonight's double-header is the much-anticipated rematch between the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks, after the pair squared off in an epic second round series during Milwaukee's title run.
Find out if Brooklyn can ruin Milwaukee's ring and banner night with our free NBA betting picks and predictions for Nets vs. Bucks on October 19.
Nets vs Bucks odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
This spread opened at Brooklyn -1 and was bet up to -1.5 before falling back to the opening line. The total opened way high at 240.5 and was steadily bet down to 235.5. Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until tip-off and be sure to check out the full NBA odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.
Nets vs Bucks predictions
- Prediction: Brooklyn -1 (-110)
- Prediction: Over 235.5 (-110)
- Best bet: Kevin Durant Over 42.5 points+rebounds+assists (-120)
Predictions made on 10/19/2021 at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Nets vs Bucks game info
• Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
• Date: Tuesday, October 19, 2021
• Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. ET
• TV: TNT
Nets vs Bucks betting preview
Nets: Kyrie Irving PG (Out)
Bucks: Donte DiVincenzo G (Out), Bobby Portis F/C (Out), Rodney Hood SF (Out), Semi Ojeleye SF (Out)
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
Nets are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games as a favorite. Find more NBA betting trends for Nets vs. Bucks.
Nets vs Bucks picks and predictions
Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.
So, as you've probably heard by now, Brooklyn was literally inches away from upending Milwaukee's title bid last season — with only one of its superstars fully operational. The thought of the Nets unleashing a healthy squad had this season's outcome decided in the minds of many.
Well, as you've also undoubtedly heard, Kyrie Irving has decided (for now at least) that martyring himself for a socio-political issue is more important than helping his team win a championship. So, until he gets vaccinated, he'll have nothing to do with the Nets.
We're likely about to get a large-sample study on what the effects are lineup-wise, but keep in mind that Brooklyn blitzed the NBA last year, with at least one of its stars injured virtually the entire time.
Milwaukee, meanwhile, gets to coast into the new season with a banner in the rafters and a silverback gorilla-sized monkey off its back. Instead of playing with trepidation and hesitancy, the Bucks have the confidence boost of knowing they're the ones to beat.
Except, the one team that knows they can beat them just happens to be Brooklyn. The Nets return a deeper and more versatile roster than in 2020-21, with endless over-qualified veterans flanking Kevin Durant and James Harden. They have size and length to match Milwaukee going either big or small, and plenty of insurance against foul trouble in case Hack-a-Giannis is still a viable strategy.
The Bucks, for their part, let P.J. Tucker walk – to much scrutiny – coughing up arguably their best means of containing Durant. There's been hope that signing former Celtic Semi Ojeleye, a player of very similar makeup, could help clot that hole. But Ojeleye's sidelined with a calf injury for this one, so Durant may be less impeded unless Mike Budenholzer wants to play the Giannis card way too early.
The Bucks are also going to be without Bobby Portis, Rodney Hood, and still, Donte DiVincenzo, leaving them pretty shallow for the opener. There also could be a bit of a championship hangover at first, even against such a pivotal opponent.
But that opponent is going to come in hungry as hell, healthier and deeper than last time, and with points to prove to everyone — from the Bucks themselves to the legions of BK haters... and even their own point guard.
Take the Nets to cover.
Prediction: Brooklyn -1 (-110)
These were the two highest-scoring teams in the NBA last year, and at least one of them (Brooklyn) has no other gear with which to win games.
While the Bucks buckled down in the playoffs and re-introduced themselves as the NBA's best defensive team (as they'd been the season prior), it's tough to assume that will be their M.O. out of the gate with Tucker gone and a bunch of fresh faces.
The question is whether Brooklyn's attempt at solid playoff defense will manifest itself again, especially after Milwaukee appeared to overcome its halfcourt malaise that aided the Nets' efforts.
The Bucks also played at a Top-2 pace, with the Nets just inches from the Top 10 in that category, suggesting they'll enable each other's tendencies.
This is opening night, where discipline can run blind, and the regular season is little more than a laboratory for either of these teams at this point. When you consider how long they've been itching to face each other, this feels far more likely to be a shootout than a defense-first contest.
The total may be high, but if there are two teams capable of pushing each other Over it, take these guys.
Prediction: Over 235.5 (-110)
Durant has had this game circled on his calendar since the second the NBA released this season's schedule and should be counted on for a massive night.
Durant looks every bit the part of the best player in the world right now, and he will be eager to make a statement to the Bucks and the rest of the NBA that, even without Irving, the Nets aren't to be messed with.
Durant's points+rebounds+assists market for tonight sits at 42.5, a hair above the 40.7 he averaged in 2020-21, but we feel there's still plenty of reason to hammer the Over.
For starters, Durant was still largely feeling himself out last season after missing all of 2019-20 with a torn Achilles. Then, he kicked those averages up to a combined 52.4 in the slower-paced playoffs, of which more than half his games came against Milwaukee. And, as mentioned above, the Bucks don't currently have a great cover for Durant, unless they want to toss Giannis on him. It may happen for stretches, but we feel the much safer bet is having Durant go off tonight.
Pick: Kevin Durant Over 42.5 points+rebounds+assists (-120)
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