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Bucks Favored to Take Series Lead in Brooklyn

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks are favored in NBA betting odds to beat the Brooklyn Nets in Game 5 of their playoff series Tuesday night.

My, how the tables have turned. Counted out by many after the first two games of the series, Milwaukee (52-28 SU, 36-44 ATS) can push the Nets (54-27, 45-36) to the brink of elimination with a win tonight in Brooklyn. Kyrie Irving and James Harden have already been ruled out for the Nets, who opened as 2-point underdogs.

Milwaukee Bucks vs Brooklyn Nets
  • Date/Time: June 15, 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Barclays Center
  • TV Coverage: TNT
  • Opening Odds: Bucks -2 | O/U 223.5 (Line History)
  • Bucks vs Nets Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

The Nets are a home underdog for the first time all year, but that hasn’t been enough to entice action on Brooklyn. In fact, early betting has been heavy on Milwaukee, moving the Bucks to 4.5-point favorites at most sportsbooks by the time of writing. Bettors have also pounded the UNDER even though oddsmakers opened the total nearly 20 points lower than it was in Game 1.

Milwaukee News & Notes

The Bucks were the NBA’s top-scoring team during the regular season, but it’s their defense that has helped them rally from a 2-0 hole to square the series. Milwaukee has limited Brooklyn to an average of 89.5 points in the last two games, marking just the fifth and sixth times this year that the Nets didn’t crack the century mark — and the first time they failed to do so in consecutive outings.

Maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised that Milwaukee has been able to tighten the screws defensively when things mattered most. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday accounted for two of the five players named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team on Monday, the only teammates to receive that accolade this season.

Antetokounmpo has also been getting it done on the offensive end in this series, scoring at least 33 points in three of the first four games. Four other Bucks scored in double figures on Sunday, including Khris Middleton (19 points), who has turned things around following some cold shooting in Games 1 and 2. Middleton was 19-for-40 from the field in the two games in Milwaukee after missing 30 of his 43 shots in the series’ first two games.

Brooklyn News & Notes

Being without Harden or Irving for a critical Game 5 is hardly ideal for the Nets, but at least they’ve had plenty of practice playing with a short-handed lineup. Since acquiring Harden from the Rockets in mid-January, Brooklyn has played 15 games with just one of its big three in the lineup, going 9-6 SU in those contests.

That includes a 3-0 SU mark when Durant has played without Harden and Irving, although two of those wins came over non-playoff opponents. KD found things a lot harder against Milwaukee’s defense after Irving went down in Game 4, especially when guarded by the physical P.J. Tucker. Durant missed 16 of his 25 field-goal attempts on Sunday, although he did still finish with 28 points — close to his series average of 29.7 per outing.

What Durant needs most is for another teammate to step up as a secondary scoring threat, something that the Nets didn’t do in Game 4. Irving was the only other Brooklyn player to score more than eight points on Sunday as sharpshooter Joe Harris posted his second straight clunker, contributing just eight points after going 1-for-11 from the field in Game 3. Jeff Green added eight points in his return to the lineup after missing Brooklyn’s previous six games with plantar fasciitis.

Betting Pick: UNDER 217

Every game in this series has gone UNDER by at least 17 points, and there’s not much reason to expect any different without Irving or Harden on the floor.

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Shark Bites
  • Milwaukee is 8-3 SU in its last 11 games at Brooklyn.
  • Brooklyn is 0-4 ATS in its last 4 games as an underdog.
  • The total has gone UNDER in all 4 games of the series.