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Bucks Visit Indiana Looking to Stay Perfect Without Giannis

Khris Middleton NBA Basketball Betting Preview Milwaukee Bucks vs Indiana Pacers

Giannis Antetokounmpo might be on his way to a second straight MVP award, but his Bucks are 5-0 without him in the lineup this season. Milwaukee will be without the Greek Freak once again Wednesday when it visits a Pacers squad that has lost six straight.

Milwaukee Bucks vs Indiana Pacers
  • Date/Time: February 12, 7:30 p.m.
  • Arena: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
  • TV Coverage: ESPN, Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Indiana
  • Opening Odds: Bucks -1.5 / O/U 222.5
  • Bucks vs Pacers Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

The point spread has not been a factor in the last three meetings between these teams, with Milwaukee winning each by 19 points or more. The Bucks were 7.5-point favorites when they visited Indiana in November.

Milwaukee News & Notes

Giannis Antetokounmpo missed Monday’s game against the Kings to be with his family for the birth of his son, and he won’t suit up against Indiana in the final game before the all-star break either.

Milwaukee overcame the absence of the NBA’s second-leading scorer to beat Sacramento 123-111 and extend its winning streak to five, although it didn’t come easy. The Bucks trailed the Kings by two points going into the fourth quarter before opening the final frame with a 13-0 run, improving to 4-6 this season when trailing after 36 minutes.

Milwaukee is now 5-0 SU without the reigning MVP this season, shooting 51.1 percent from the field and averaging 124.8 points per game. “Teams may think they might be able to win when (Giannis) isn’t out there. But that’s what motivates us,” said the Bucks’ Khris Middleton, who is averaging nearly 30 points per game when Antetokounmpo isn’t in the lineup.

Middleton scored 28 on Monday while Eric Bledsoe also netted 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting and Brook Lopez posted his second consecutive 20-point outing.

Indiana News & Notes

In the long run, the Pacers will be better with Victor Oladipo in the lineup. But Indiana is feeling some short-term pain as the former Hoosier works his way back from the torn quad tendon injury that cost him the first 47 games of the campaign.

After going 30-17 during that stretch, the Pacers have lost six of seven since Oladipo returned to action — and the lone win came in OT as 8.5-point favorites over the Bulls. They’ve also dropped five straight at home.

“We just have to figure things out,” Oladipo acknowledged Monday after the Pacers’ sixth straight loss, a 106-105 defeat at home against Brooklyn. “I feel like guys were out there thinking too much.” That may include Oladipo, who is likely second-guessing his shot after hitting under 30 percent from the field through his first seven games.

Not that Oladipo is entirely to blame. Indiana missed 23 of its 30 three-point attempts against Brooklyn and has been outrebounded 106-77 in its last two games. The lone bright spot for the Pacers lately has been the play of power forward Domantas Sabonis, who racked up 23 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds Monday for his fourth triple-double in his last 12 outings.

Betting Pick: Bucks -1.5

Milwaukee should bring strong focus as it closes the first half of the season without the defending MVP.

Shark Bites
  • The Bucks are 14-1 SU and 10-5 ATS in their last 15 games.
  • The Pacers are 0-6 SU and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games.
  • The Bucks are 5-1 SU and ATS in their last 6 vs the Pacers.