The Milwaukee Bucks move north from LA, jumping to Portland to meet the Trail Blazers in their third straight game throughout the West Coast. Their opponents are in solid shape and are looking to continue the victorious stretch made on the road. Many didn’t notice, but the Trail Blazers really played well over the recent few days, which resulted in them strengthening the position in the playoff zone. This will be a good test to see where Lillard and the boys stand at the moment. After all, back-to-back MVP comes to Moda Center.
Milwaukee Bucks (30-17, -165) defeated the shorthanded Lakers in Los Angeles, putting an end to a three-game losing streak. It wasn’t pleasant for Mike Budenholzer to see his boys losing two in a row at home and especially to be blown away by the LA Clippers at Staples, 129-105.
To be honest, defeating the Lakers isn’t too big of a deal once there is no LBJ and AD. Bucks’ 112-97 win was expected, which is why this match presents a true challenge for one of the title contenders. They are one of the best offenses in the league, but in those three games, that wasn’t seen on the court. Overall, the team that was constantly scoring over 120 points, didn’t go above 114 in the past four games.
There is also one other interesting fact. Giannis was the top scorer in just two of the past six games. Up until that stretch, he wasn’t the top scorer in the same number of games, but in 41 matches played. Against the LAL, Holiday had 28 buckets having a team-high.
Portland Trail Blazers (29-18, +145) have four wins in a row, all of them during their tour through the Eastern Conference, once they defeated the Heat, Magic, Raptors, and finally the Pistons.
In three of these four events, CJ McCollum led the way with 35, 22, and 23 scored points, giving Damian Lillard time to rest and recover a little bit. It is excellent for the Trail Blazers to have their other superstar in good shape now, as they head into the crucial part of the season.
Jusuf Nurkic is back as well, and even though he still isn’t playing anywhere near his potential, the Bosnian Beast will as time goes by, become a huge contributor on both ends of the floor. Norman Powell blended in perfectly, and the small forward will upgrade the already fantastic offense Terry Stotts has.
Head to Head Games
The first game of the year in Milwaukee saw the Bucks smashing the rivals, 134-106. Holiday scored 22 for the hosts, Giannis had 18. Nassir Little dropped for the Blazers.
The line for the total number of points here is 236.5. We will focus on that, not who’s going to win, because it is much safer to avoid such prediction in the situation where we have two solid teams going one after another. What is much safer is to bet on Over here, because of the hosts’ fantastic offensive potential. They are solely focused on offense, which will open a chance for the Bucks to find their own rhythm when attacking and get back on track in that aspect of the game.
Pick: Over 236.5 points
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.