This has hardly been a textbook title defense so far from the Golden State Warriors, but they appear to be weathering the storm as they prepare to face the Milwaukee Bucks tonight.
The Warriors (14-13) have been surprisingly poor on their travels this season, losing 11 of their 13 road games, but a statement win at home over the high-flying Celtics on Saturday was a timely reminder of the team’s greatness.
It feels like a lock that the Bucks (19-7) will grab one of the top seeds in the East, yet Khris Middleton’s absence at the start of the season means we’ve still only had glimpses of the full-strength Milwaukee roster.
Get the lowdown ahead of tonight’s matchup with our NBA picks and predictions for Warriors vs Bucks below.
Warriors vs Bucks best odds
Warriors vs Bucks picks and predictions
Mark it down – we may look back on Saturday’s 123-107 victory over the Celtics as a major turning point in Golden State’s season. In an NBA Finals rematch, the Warriors looked like the Warriors again as Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 66 points and 10 threes. Tonight’s matchup may yet be a preview of the 2023 Finals.
With Andrew Wiggins injured, Steve Kerr has turned to a three-guard starting lineup, putting Jordan Poole alongside the Splash Brothers and challenging opponents to figure out those defensive assignments. That’ll mean some adjustments for the Bucks, who rely heavily on bigger lineups.
Despite Golden State’s well-chronicled road struggles, the visitors are catching Milwaukee in a vulnerable moment, with Middleton nursing an ankle sprain, Jrue Holiday dealing with an illness, and the Bucks coming off a subpar outing in Sunday’s 97-92 loss to the lowly Rockets.
But none of that will slow down Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is coming off a rare poor shooting night (7-for-17 from the field) where he still ended up with 16 points and 18 rebounds. That was his first sub-25-point game since mid-November, so expect a ruthless response here, especially without Wiggins to help the Warriors defensively.
Even so, I liked what I saw from Curry and Thompson at the weekend and I’m leaning towards pairing the Golden State moneyline with a productive scoring night for Giannis in this marquee matchup.
My best bet: Warriors moneyline + Antetokounmpo Over 31.5 points (+400 at bet365)
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Warriors vs Bucks spread analysis
With Middleton expected to shake off an ankle scare and be available for Mike Budenholzer tonight, NBA odds installed the Bucks as 4-point favorites. But the Warriors’ backcourt can get hot in a hurry – and there’s real value with Golden State, both for the ML and ATS.
There’s only so much optimism you can take from a single game, but Golden State’s win over Boston felt meaningful, particularly after losses to the Indiana Pacers and Utah Jazz earlier that week. This is the start of a six-game road trip for the Warriors and presents an ideal opportunity to rectify the team’s rough form away from Oracle Arena.
Curry, the man who Giannis himself labelled as “the best player in the world”, will have a big say in all of this. Playing at an MVP level, he’s averaging 30 points per game on 50% shooting, while throwing in seven assists a night for good measure.
There are other promising signs too for Kerr’s men. Jonathan Kuminga has had back-to-back good games off the bench – and the Warriors’ ceiling rises a little higher if the second-year man nails down a 20-minute role with the second unit.
Warriors vs Bucks Over/Under analysis
Tonight’s battle may come down to Milwaukee’s stingy defense (only the Cleveland Cavaliers are allowing fewer points per game) against Golden State’s humming offense (117.6 points a game, fourth highest in the NBA).
The Bucks have been ruthless at Fiserv Forum against opponents with a losing road record, cashing in the Over in the last four games. But those are typically average-to-bad teams without the level of defense that Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, and the rest of this Warriors core brings. That Golden State defense held Jayson Tatum to 6-for-21 shooting at the weekend.
With Middleton settling back into Milwaukee’s starting line-up, the rest of the rotation is also resetting. That may be part of the reason for the Under hitting in four of the Bucks’ last five games. The hosts have reached 110 points only once over that stretch.
Take a close look at the Under here, which is 5-1 in the Warriors’ last six games playing on two days’ rest and 6-2 in the last eight meetings in Milwaukee.
Warriors vs Bucks betting trend to know
Golden State has trended more toward tight, playoff-type scorelines against fellow Finals contenders. The Under is 6-1 in the Warriors’ last seven games against opponents with a winning mark above .600. Find more NBA betting trends for Warriors vs. Bucks.
Warriors vs Bucks game info
|Location:||Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI|
|Date:||Tuesday, December 13, 2022|
|Tip-off:||7:30 p.m. ET|