Giannis and the full Bucks roster return on Monday. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)
- The third-placed teams in each conference matchup on March 29th
- Bucks and Clippers meet for the second time this season after Milwaukee won on February 28th
- Get the latest betting odds, preview and a pick below
The Los Angeles Clippers are narrowly favored over the Milwaukee Bucks for their March 29th meeting.
Milwaukee got the better of the Clips when the two teams met on February 28th, and welcomes back Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton and Donte DiVincenzo for Monday’s marquee NBA matchup.
The Clips are without Rajon Rondo after the deadline day trade. Serge Ibaka and Patrick Beverley are set to miss out, too.
Bucks vs Clippers Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total Points at FanDuel|
|Milwaukee Bucks||+2.5 (-106)||+120||Over 232 (-110)|
|Los Angeles Clippers||-2.5 (-114)||-142||Under 232 (-110)|
Odds taken on March 29th
Bucks Welcome Back Stars
Milwaukee was without the majority of its rotation for the second night of a back-to-back against the Knicks. It’s fair to assume most of that was load management. P.J. Tucker and Bobby Portis are the only notable absentees on Monday. The Bucks have gone under the radar at times this season, and unfairly so.
Their five-man group of Antetokounmpo, DiVincenzo, Brook Lopez, Holiday and Middleton is among the league’s best lineups. This group ranks in the 72nd percentile or better at both ends.
Their defense has improved throughout the season after some difficulties early on. Only the Lakers and Sixers have a better defensive rating since the break.
Just the Clippers and Sixers have a better net rating since the All-Star festivities. Milwaukee has once again been a two-way juggernaut, though the experimentation on both ends has led to more losses than previous seasons. Little can be read into the loss to the Knicks. Losing to the Celtics was perhaps a surprise, but there’s little they could do against Boston hitting almost 50% from three.
A similar risk is present against the Clippers, who lead the league in three-point percentage. Los Angeles is without some key players on Monday night, however.
2021 NBA MVP Award Odds Tracker
Absences Hurt Clips
In contrast to the Bucks, the Clippers are missing two key rotation players in Ibaka and Beverley. While having Paul George and Kawhi Leonard available is obviously the headline news, the Clippers are a worse team without Ibaka and Beverley. It gives Ty Lue less lineup flexibility, and it markedly harms their defense.
The Clippers’ defensive rating is almost 116 when there’s no Ibaka or Beverley on the court. This would put them 25th in the NBA. The line-up featuring the veteran pair, the two stars and Nicolas Batum has the best points per possession allowed of any line-up used on over 250 possessions. Only two other qualifying line-ups have a better point differential.
Most wins by 10+ points this season:
Jazz – 26
Clippers – 19
Bucks – 19
Nuggets – 17
Suns – 16
Most wins by 20+ points:
Clippers – 10
Bucks – 10
Jazz – 9
Sixers – 7
Warriors – 7
— Shane Young (@YoungNBA) March 27, 2021
Being without Beverley and Ibaka doesn’t rule the Clippers out. This is still a strong roster with two elite players. They have won five in a row without that duo, but against a team who matches up well with them in the Bucks, they could feel their absence. A lot of pressure falls on Ivica Zubac without Ibaka.
Back the Bucks
Recent results suggest a Clippers win. After a short slump, Lue’s team have turned it around to win five in a row. George and Leonard are available.
Glazed or sprinkles?
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) March 28, 2021
Milwaukee has had time to rest, though. Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Holiday are all fresh for this game.
Their defense has been good of late, and they rank second in fouls committed on the season. The Clippers struggle getting to the line as it is, but there’s going to be very few free points on offer. The Clips will have to work for it, leaning heavily on hot shooting.
Perhaps the Clippers are lights out from deep and it doesn’t matter. The Clips’ defense is a concern without Ibaka and Beverley, however, which will make it difficult to outscore this Bucks team.
- Pick: Milwaukee Bucks moneyline (+120)
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.