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Reeling Nuggets Brace For Visit From Bucks

Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.

Denver (9-9 SU, 7-11 ATS) will try to snap an 0-5 SU and ATS skid when it hosts the defending champion Bucks (11-8, 8-11). Milwaukee has won five straight and opened as a 3.5-point favorite over the injury-raved Nuggets.

Milwaukee Bucks at Denver Nuggets
  • Date/Time: November 26, 9:00 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Ball Arena
  • TV Coverage: NBA TV
  • Opening Odds: Bucks -3.5 | O/U 212.5 (Line History)
  • Bucks vs Nuggets Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Many sports betting sites weren’t offering a line yet on this game as of Friday morning, awaiting news about the status of Nikola Jokic. Those who did post a line seemed to think Jokic was going to play, offering the Nuggets as 3.5-point underdogs. Denver was a double-digit dog in its previous two games without Jokic in the lineup, losing those contests by a combined margin of 48 points.

Milwaukee News & Notes

After missing several of their to players due to injury at the start of the year, the Bucks are getting healthy again — and it shows. Milwaukee completed a 5-0 homestand Wednesday with a 114-93 blowout of the Pistons, opening the game on a 14-0 run and never looking back. In the Bucks’ previous game, they led Orlando by 39 points at half.

Four of Milwaukee’s starters — Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and Bobby Portis — combined to score 94 of the Bucks’ 114 points Wednesday as Milwaukee remained unbeaten this season with Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Holiday in the lineup. “I think the starters are coming out with a focus. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but I just like the way they’ve been,” coach Mike Budenholzer told the Associated Press.

Portis has been a pleasant surprise at the offensive end, scoring 28 points against Detroit and recording double-doubles in four straight, but Milwaukee’s defense has also been key to the recent surge. The Bucks have gone UNDER the total in five of their last six games and 13 of their last 16.

Denver News & Notes

Jokic was listed as questionable at the time of writing, but several reports indicated the reigning MVP might be able to return tonight after missing Denver’s previous three games with a wrist injury. The Nuggets remain without Michael Porter Jr., however, as the young forward continues to deal with nerve issues in his back that might require season-ending surgery.

P.J. Dozier’s season is already over after the combo guard tore his ACL in Tuesday’s 119-100 loss at Portland. Dozier is averaging just 5.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, but his absence will still hurt the Nuggets’ rotation as they wait for Jamal Murray to return in the spring. Dozier had played at least 21 minutes in eight of his last nine appearances.

All of those injury woes have been an obvious factor in the Nuggets’ current 0-5 SU and ATS skid, but coach Michael Malone doesn’t want to hear any excuses. “We can’t wait for Jamal, Michael and Nikola to come back,” Malone told CBS Sports. “We have to fix it. We can only do that by staying together and having a positive mindset.

How Milwaukee Will Cover

The Bucks have gotten off to fast starts in each of their last four games, holding double-digit leads after the opening quarter in three of them. Another strong start could be enough to break the spirit of the struggling Nuggets, who don’t have the depth to come back.

How Denver Will Cover

With so many key players either out of the lineup or hampered by injuries, the Nuggets can’t afford to beat themselves. Expect Denver to slow the pace and emphasize taking care of the ball after committing 19 turnovers in Tuesday’s blowout loss at Portland. 

Computer Pick: Bucks -3.5

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Shark Bites
  • The UNDER is 13-3 in MIL's last 16 games.
  • Milwaukee is 5-0 SU in its last five games.
  • Denver is 0-5 SU and ATS in its last five games.