Dec 10, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) celebrates his dunk with Milwaukee Bucks center Bobby Portis (9) and guard Pat Connaughton (24) against the Houston Rockets in the second half at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
The 12-14 New York Knicks host the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday, December, 12th
Milwaukee is on an 11-2 run, and owns the fourth-best net rating in the Association
Read below for the latest odds, betting preview and a pick
Only four losses separate the Knicks and Bucks in the Eastern Conference standings ahead of their Sunday, December, 12th matchup at Madison Square Garden.
As of Saturday, though, Milwaukee is nine places ahead of their hosts. The reigning champions are unsurprisingly favored for this contest.
This is the third of four meetings between the two teams this season. The season series is 1-1 thus far.
It’s worth noting, however, that Milwaukee was massively depleted in their loss, and the Knicks have made some seismic changes to their rotation since the teams last met on November, 10th.
Bucks vs Knicks Odds
Ov 217 (-105)
New York Knicks
Ov 217 (-115)
Odds as of Dec 11 a DraftKings
Milwaukee owns a 10-11 record against the spread as favorites this year, while New York is just 4-5 ATS as an underdog.
Brook Lopez is sidelined for the foreseeable future after back surgery. Lopez has only appeared in one game this season. The Bucks have favored using Giannis Antetokounmpo at center in Lopez’s absence, and there has been an increase in Bobby Portis’ minutes, but this game could represent an opportunity for DeMarcus Cousins given the size of the Knicks.
Milwaukee also remains without Donte DiVincenzo and Semi Ojeleye, while George Hill was ruled out of Friday’s win over the Rockets due to a knee issue. If the veteran guard is once again unavailable, Wesley Matthews and Rodney Hood should be in for plenty of minutes.
The Knicks’ clean bill of health right now is a bit of an anomaly. Where other franchises are missing numerous rotation players, Tom Thibodeau has a full roster to choose from. Thibodeau has tweaked his lineups of late, mixing up his center usage with Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson seemingly taking turns to start.
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Clash of Styles
Milwaukee’s offense is built for Giannis Antetokounmpo to get to the basket and to generate open three-point shots. The Knicks are second-best in the league at opponent efficiency in the restricted area.
New York ranks in the top 10 in the portion of their shots that are above-the-break threes, and they hit them at an elite rate. They are also top 10 in getting shots at the rim, which is exactly what Milwaukee looks to take away.
The Bucks are happy to give up non-corner outside shots, but they are top eight when it comes to stopping teams getting to the rim and rank in a similar spot in opponent field goal percentage in the restricted area.
Thibodeau will pack his lineups with length to prevent Giannis getting to the rim. They have kept the two-time MVP relatively quiet in their two previous meetings, but the Bucks’ role players got a lot of good looks and shot over 50% from three on November 10th.
Khris Middleton’s mid-range game will be important for Milwaukee’s offense if New York is able to build a wall to stop Giannis. For the Knicks, they are very dependent on their shooters catching fire, which doesn’t bode particularly well for a team which is shooting 33.9% from three over the last five.
Bucks vs Knicks Prediction
The Bucks are the team to back in this one. The defending champions are a juggernaut with their big three together, owning a +18.3 net rating in the 205 minutes they have shared the court.
Since beating the Lakers on November 17th, many of their wins have been comfortable. Of their 11 wins in that spell, 10 have been by seven or more points.
Another historic block for GIannis.
This one makes him the franchise leader with 805 blocks. pic.twitter.com/tk1kbCf0Kn
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) December 11, 2021
While they have suffered a couple of surprise losses in that run, another loss is very unlikely against a Knicks team on a 6-10 slump.
Milwaukee hasn’t exactly been dominant against the spread so far, but they’re worth backing up to eight or nine on Sunday.
Pick: Bucks -4.5 (-110)