Milwaukee (52-32 SU, 39-45 ATS) has covered 11 of its last 12 visits to the United Center, but the defending champions will be without Khris Middleton tonight when they take on the Bulls (47-37, 44-39-1). The UNDER is 5-1 in the last six meetings, including both games so far in this series.
Bucks vs Bulls Odds & Analysis
Middleton’s injury and the series shift to United Center prompted oddsmakers to make a big adjustment to the Sportsbook point spread for Game 3. The Bucks opened as just 3-point favorites in tonight’s matchup, down from the double-digit chalk they were for Games 1 and 2 in Milwaukee. To put that short spread into perspective, the Bucks have been favored by at least 4.5 points in 17 of their last 18 meetings with the Bulls.
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Bucks Have A Losing Record This Season Without Middleton In The Lineup
Middleton might be sidelined for the rest of the series after spraining his MCL late in Game 2. Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton are the top candidates to move into the starting lineup in place of the all-star small forward, who averaged more than 20 points per game during the regular season.
Although the Bucks’ depth could help them overcome Middleton’s absence — all five starters scored at least 10 points on Wednesday, including 33 from Giannis Antetokounmpo and 25 from Brook Lopez — Milwaukee has struggled this season when the veteran has been out of the lineup, going just 7-9 SU.
The Bucks also remain without backup point guard George Hill (abdominal strain), but reserve center Bobby Portis was not listed on the injury report for tonight and should be able to return after leaving Game 2 early with a right eye abrasion.
Improved Shooting, Tenacious Defense Has Bulls Believing They Can Pull Off Upset
After going 3-21 SU during the regular season against teams that qualified for the playoffs, the Bulls weren’t given much of a chance by anyone in this Round 1 matchup against the defending champion Bucks. But belief is building in the Chicago locker room following a pair of competitive efforts in Milwaukee, including a 114-110 win in Game 2.
“It doesn’t matter what you did in the regular season. It’s a brand-new start, brand-new mindset,” DeMar DeRozan told the Associated Press after recording a playoff career-high 41 points on Wednesday. Chicago’s star trio of DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVine combined to hit more than 53 percent of their shots from the field after collectively hitting 29.6 percent of their attempts in the series opener.
As much credit as DeRozan, Vucevic and LaVine deserve for helping Chicago even up the series, the Bulls defense might be the biggest reason this series is competitive. Chicago, which has gone UNDER the total in 17 of its last 25 games, has held Milwaukee’s third-ranked attack to just 101.5 points per game so far. Another UNDER could be a popular Bucks vs Bulls prediction tonight after the total opened two points lower than it did in Game 2.
Bucks vs Bulls Pick & Insights
Bucks: Keys To Cover
Milwaukee may have been guilty of overlooking the Bulls in the first two games, but the Bucks should be completely focused now that the series is tied 1-1 and Middleton is out of the lineup. The Bucks need to make the most of their size advantage in the paint after Antetokounmpo and Lopez combined for 58 points in Game 2.
Bulls: Keys To Cover
Chicago is 23-49 ATS in its last 72 games as a home underdog, but trends like that haven’t seemed to matter so far in the series. If the Bulls can continue to generate turnovers on defense and get another strong shooting night from their top stars, they could be worth a shot on the moneyline in your Bucks vs Bulls prediction.
Odds Shark’s Computer Bucks vs Bulls Prediction: Bucks -2.5
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