Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks are heavy favorites at home against the New York Knicks Saturday night. (Photo by JB Autissier/Panoramic/Icon Sportswire)
- The New York Knicks are in Milwaukee to take on the Bucks
- This is the third meeting between these two teams, with each owning a blowout win
- Get the latest Knicks vs Bucks odds, betting preview and a pick below
The age-old battle of offense vs defense goes another round Saturday night.
The Milwaukee Bucks are the highest-scoring team in basketball, and they’ll welcome in the New York Knicks, the team that’s allowing the fewest points per game in the NBA.
We know where the sportsbooks’ loyalties lie, as they’ve placed the Bucks as heavy 10-point favorites in this all-East tilt.
Knicks vs Bucks Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|New York Knicks||+10 (-110)||+370||TBD|
|Milwaukee Bucks||-10 (-110)||-480||TBD|
Odds taken on Mar 26. Tip-off is Saturday at 8pm ET
This will be the rubber match of their three-game season series, which have both ended in blowout fashion. New York smacked Milwaukee around 130-110 at the start of the season, the first win in the Tom Thibodeau era. Milwaukee returned the favor earlier this month, in a 134-101 drubbing,
Milwaukee Not at its Finest
The Bucks have rattled off 13 wins in their last 15 games to crash the two-team party at the top of the East with the 76ers and Nets. Their latest, however, was a 122-114 setback against the Boston Celtics Friday night. That put an end to their 8-game win streak.
HIGHLIGHTS: Celtics get revenge against the Bucks, split the series in Milwaukee pic.twitter.com/QJW9qyU6V6
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) March 27, 2021
Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with a quiet 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists. It’s the second straight game he’s scored in the teens (he had 13 in the first of the two-game set with the Celtics). For reference, Giannis had scored at least 21 points in 22 straight games before this mini-funk. He’s failed to lead his team in scoring three straight games, after doing so the previous 21.
Maybe it’s just the Celtics, who find a way to play him tough all the time.
The Bucks have won 13 of their last 14. In that stretch, Giannis is averaging:
30 PTS | 12 REB | 9 AST pic.twitter.com/ufmJ6eco1H
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) March 26, 2021
Still, that’s just a little nitpicking on a team that is leading the league in scoring at a shade under 120 a night, and in rebounding at over 48 per game. The Bucks are also third in three-point shooting at a 39.3% clip, while taking the 6th-most threes in the NBA.
While they rank seventh in defensive rating, Milwaukee has let their offense mask some of their defensive problems, as they are tied for 20th in points allowed per game.
Knicks in the Thick of Things
While Milwaukee sports a breakneck offense, the Knicks share more of an identity to the 90s era of New York basketball: not pretty, but tough and effective. New York leads the NBA in points allowed per game, holding teams to a 104.9 average, with only the Lakers (106.3 )and Suns (107) within range of that figure.
Want proof the Knicks defense is legit? In 2 games vs the Knicks Bradley Beal was held 8pts below his seasons avg on 14-38 shooting or .368 in the 2 games.
— Robert Currence (@Knickstape2005) March 26, 2021
They also hold teams to the lowest 3-point mark in the league (33.4%) and lowest field goal shooting on a nightly basis at 44.3%.
They were at it again Thursday night, as they clamped down on the Wizards, erasing a 17-point second-half deficit for a 106-102 win to sweep their mini set.
Alec Burks led the way with a game-high 27 off the bench, while RJ Barrett was strong with a 24-point, 10-rebound, 5-assist gem. All-star Julius Randle chipped in with 13 points and nine rebounds.
This is when RJ Barrett decided the Knicks were gonna win this game. pic.twitter.com/yqU6pmc3Xf
— MAX (@MaxWildstein) March 26, 2021
In the last 24 games, they’ve surrendered 104 or more points just nine times. but New York is just 14-10 in those games, because they are offensively challenged. New York ranks 28th in scoring at just over 105 points per game, and are 2nd-last at 20.8 assists a game — an indication their offense gets too stagnant and iso heavy.
What’s the Best Bet?
I’m surprised this line is this high: since Feb 1, the Knicks have only lost three games by 10 or more points – with one of them coming against the Bucks. Overall, they’re 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games and 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven overall.
Milwaukee has been a steady bet on back-to-backs, riding a 10-4 mark in 14 previous scenarios. Even if Antetokounmpo breaks out, which we should all expect, I’m thinking defense — and those 10 points — gets you a win.
The pick: Knicks +10 (-110)
Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgeable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric’s work has appeared in local and national publications alike.