Chicago (46-37 SU, 43-39-1 ATS) hit less than a third of its shots in Game 1 and still had a chance to upset the defending champion Bucks (52-31, 39-44). The Bulls hope an improved shooting performance can help them square the series when the teams meet again in Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
Bulls vs Bucks Odds & Analysis
Oddsmakers haven’t made much of an adjustment to the point spread following Game 1, opening the Bucks just a half-point shorter than they closed for the series opener. The same can’t be said about the total, which opened 5 points lower after the teams went UNDER the total by 51 points on Sunday.
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DeRozan Vows Improvement After Chicago’s Offensive Struggles Continue In Game 1
Poor shooting doomed the Bulls’ hopes of a Game 1 upset as Chicago hit just 32.3 percent of its field-goal attempts and was a dismal 7-for-37 from three-point territory. DeMar DeRozan was just 6-for-25 on the evening while Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVine also struggled from the field, combining to hit 15 of 46 shots.
Offense has been an issue lately for Chicago, which has been held below its 111.6-point season average in 13 of its last 17 games and has scored 107 or less in six of its last 10. Still, DeRozan is expecting different results tonight.
“I guarantee me or Zach or Vooch aren’t going to miss that many shots again,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “Most of the shots I took were wide open. Wide open.”
Despite the loss, there were plenty of positives for the Bulls to take out of Game 1. They forced 21 turnovers, were the first team in nearly three months to hold Milwaukee under 100 points, and were within a single possession in the final minute after trailing by 16 points in the first half. The point spread cover was just the Bulls’ seventh in their last 26 games as an underdog and third in their last 12 as a road dog.
Lopez’s Presence In Paint A Big Key For Milwaukee In Series Opener
The Bucks’ success this spring will largely hinge on their star trio of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, but Brook Lopez’s recent return from injury could also be pivotal to Milwaukee’s hopes of a championship repeat. The seven-foot center wreaked havoc at both ends of the floor in Game 1, scoring 18 points in 32 minutes while helping the Bucks defense allow a season-low 86 points.
“We feel like we have an advantage in our size and we could take advantage of that in the paint,” Lopez, who missed nearly the entire regular season due to back surgery, told the Associated Press following the contest. His presence was especially valuable when Antetokounmpo was on the bench in the fourth quarter with foul trouble.
Giannis still led the way offensively for Milwaukee on Sunday, scoring 27 points on 10-of-19 shooting and adding 16 rebounds. Middleton and Holiday were quiet, however, combining for just 26 points as the Bucks went UNDER the total for the first time in their last seven games.
Bulls vs Bucks Pick & Insights
Bulls: Keys To Cover
Many of the Bulls got their first taste of postseason experience in Game 1, so Chicago might be able to get off to a faster start with less early jitters. The Bulls also aren’t likely to shoot the ball as badly as they did in the series opener, especially DeRozan, Vucevic and LaVine.
Bucks: Keys To Cover
Milwaukee has historically been a slow starter in playoff series, losing five of its previous six Game 1s before eking out Sunday’s victory over Chicago. The last seven times the Bucks have been held under 100 points, they’ve scored at least 114 in their following game — and 123 or more in four of them — so the OVER is a Bulls vs Bucks prediction worth considering.
Odds Shark’s Computer Bulls vs Bucks Prediction: Bucks -10
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