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Bucks Host Lakers In Potential Finals Preview

Expect playoff intensity tonight as Los Angeles (11-4 SU, 8-7 ATS) and Milwaukee (9-5, 6-8) both look to bounce back from disappointing losses on Monday. The Lakers beat the Bucks 113-103 last March for their first win in the last seven meetings.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Milwaukee Bucks
  • Date/Time: January 21, 8 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Fiserv Forum
  • TV Coverage: TNT
  • Opening Odds: Bucks -2.5 | O/U 229.5 (Line History)
  • Lakers vs Bucks Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

It’s been nearly two calendar years since the Bucks were underdogs on their own court, but we might see that tonight. After opening as 2.5-point dogs, the Lakers had been bet up to as high as 1.5-point chalk at some books by Thursday morning.

Los Angeles News & Notes

The Lakers’ defense let them down in Monday’s 115-113 loss to Golden State, when LA let an early 19-point lead slip away. The Warriors scorched LA for 67 points in the second half and shot 60.9 percent from the field in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Lakers 34-21 in the final frame.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis were both quiet offensively against the Dubs, combining to score just 36 points on 12-for-32 shooting. It marked just the fifth time that neither James nor Davis scored at least 20 points in a game they both started. Their subpar performance also wasted a 25-point evening from Dennis Schroder and a 15-point, 10-rebound showing from Kyle Kuzma, his second consecutive double-double.

It all sets up well for a strong bounce-back effort from James, Davis and the Lakers, especially as they open a seven-game road trip. LA is 7-0 SU on the highway this season, compared to just 4-4 at the Staples Center.

The Lakers are also 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight games following a SU loss and should relish the chance to face an elite opponent after seeing nothing but the Warriors, Pelicans, Thunder, Rockets, Bulls, Spurs and Grizzlies since late December.

Milwaukee News & Notes

The Bucks are in a bounce-back spot themselves after Monday’s 125-123 loss to the Nets that snapped a four-game winning streak. Milwaukee has surprisingly already allowed 125 points or more in three games this season, but the Bucks have rebounded strongly following those previous two losses – beating the Heat 144-97 and the Cavaliers 100-90. Going back to last season, Milwaukee is a sizzling 37-17 ATS in its last 54 games following a SU defeat.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton couldn’t be faulted for Monday’s loss, at least not at the offensive end. Milwaukee’s top two scorers combined for 59 points as Antetokounmpo hit 13 of his 26 field-goal attempts and also knocked down six of eight from the free-throw line, three days after going 1-for-10 from the charity stripe against the Bulls.

However, Milwaukee needs to get more from its supporting cast than it has over its past two games. Brook Lopez and Jrue Holiday were the only other Bucks to crack double digits in scoring against the Nets and Mavericks.

Betting Pick: UNDER 229

These teams were two of the NBA’s top four in defensive efficiency last year and should each bring a strong focus at that end of the floor following subpar performances Monday.

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Shark Bites
  • The UNDER has hit in 10 of the Lakers’ last 13 games.
  • Milwaukee is 37-17 ATS in its last 54 games after a SU loss.
  • Milwaukee is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games vs LA.