Day Two of the NBA Playoffs has four series openers. The heavily favored Milwaukee Bucks are taking on the overmatched Orlando Magic. The eighth-seed Magic have their work cut out in the opening round. The Bucks finished the regular season with the NBA’s best record which earned them the overall No. 1 seed. Tune into TNT to catch Game 1 of the best-of-seven game series set to air at 1:30 p.m. ET. But first, check out our NBA sportsbook page and make this, and other NBA series more interesting with some fun bets.
Milwaukee enters the playoffs as favorites to win the NBA Finals. Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, the frontrunner to repeat as the league’s MVP and a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year award, says he is keeping his focus on daily tasks. The Bucks are poised to make a deep run and first must get past the Magic. Check out more stories like this on our NBA home page.
Also check on these NBA betting lines.
First Round Series Schedule
|Game 1: Tuesday, Aug. 18||Bucks vs Magic||1:30 p.m. ET||TNT|
|Game 2: Thursday, Aug. 20||Bucks vs Magic||6:00 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|Game 3: Saturday, Aug. 22||Magic vs Buck||1:00 p.m. ET||TNT|
|Game 4: Monday, Aug. 24||Magic vs Bucks||1:30 p.m. ET||NBATV|
|Game 5*: Wednesday, Aug 26||Bucks vs Magic||TBD||TBD|
|Game 6*: Friday, Aug 28||Magic vs Bucks||TBD||TBD|
|Game7*: Sunday, Aug 30||Bucks vs Magic||TBD||TBD|
Bucks vs Magic Head-to-Head
The Milwaukee Bucks swept the regular-season series 4-0 with their Southeast Division rivals Orlando Magic. You can check out how these teams compare in those four games in more at our matchup tab on the sportsbook.
The last time these teams played was on Feb. 8 in Orlando. The Bucks were 8.5-point favorites and won, 112-95, which was under the over/under of 221.5. They played two games in December. The last coming on Dec. 28 in Milwaukee. The Bucks covered the 6.5-point spread, 111-100. Once again the final score was under the O/U of 216.5. On Dec. 9, Milwaukee won at home, 110-101. The Bucks did not cover the 13-point spread and the teams fell short of the 217.5 O/U. The first game of the series took place in Orlando on Nov. 1 with the Magic getting 4.5 points. The Bucks won 123-91 which tied the O/U set at 214.
In the Bubble
Milwaukee finished their eight seeding games with a record of 3-5. Granted, the Bucks did not have much to prove once the action started in the bubble. They did not quite look like the same team that was dominating the regular season up until March. They lost four of their last five games before the shutdown and opened up in the bubble losing four out of their first six games. Two of their three bubble wins were against playoff rivals Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. Now with the season on the line will we see the true Bucks, or are they a thing of the past?
Orlando also ended their eight seeding games with a 3-5 record. The Magic got off to a hot start winning their first two games. Then the below-average defense caught up to them resulting in a five-game losing streak. This ultimately put the seventh seed out of reach. Orlando has been dealing with injuries (F Jonathan Isaac tore his ACL) and SF Terrance Ross had to leave the bubble for personal reasons. This found Ross back into quarantine for the last two games, but barring any setbacks he should be ready for Tuesday.
Will Milwaukee get back on track? Before the NBA hiatus, the Bucks ranked first in net rating posting a score of 10.7. In their eight games in the bubble, the Bucks averaged 0.8 net ratings. That is a huge difference. Even with not much to play for, the Bucks cannot be satisfied with their performance since the restart. Their opening series with the Magic will give them so much room for error as they figure it out.
Giannis free-throw and 3-point shooting percentage: Breaking news! The Magic are going to foul the bleep out of Giannis if he goes to the basket. First, they will try and sag off of him to bait him into “3s.” Giannis shot 34.1% from “3” in games the Bucks won. He shot 16.4% from behind the arc in the Bucks’ 17 losses. Orlando can allow him to take “3s” and hope for the best. If the reigning MVP passes up these shots and gets near the basket, Orlando needs to foul him. The “Greek Freak” shot a career-worst 63.3% from the free-throw line. That is a lot worse than the probability he may miss a dunk or layup.
Can Markelle Fultz take his game to the next level? The Magic need everyone on their team to play at their highest level. Former overall No. 1 draft pick Markelle Fultz is the player who has the most potential to make a leap in the playoffs. A personal issue slowed Fultz’s progression when the team came back together in July. With the season on the line and the eight games behind them, there is no better time than now for Fultz to show why he was a No. 1 overall draft choice.
Aaron Gordon keeping up with Giannis. Orlando’s F Aaron Gordon has done well when guarding the “Greek Freak.” According to Second Spectrum tracking data, Gordon has held Antetokounmpo to a 43% shooting percentage in the 44 shots he has contested. That is nearly 13% lower than Antetokounmpo’s season average. Orlando needs Gordan to continue this trend while providing solid offense at the other end of the floor.
Can Orlando shoot better from behind the arc? Orlando shot 32.2% in the regular-season series against the Bucks. The Bucks allowed a league-high 14 3-point makes on 39.3 attempts per game. The Magic will have to shoot a higher percentage than 32% to make this series last longer than four games.
Bucks vs Magic NBA Championship Odds
Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks are the current favorite to win it all. Their odds have not changed much all year as they were one of the preseason favorites. They have been consistently good, and now the real journey starts.
Preseason championship odds +550 (3rd best)
Current championship odds +260 (1st)
Orlando Magic: Orlando did not have many people talking about a championship before the year started. They still don’t. The Magic made the playoffs for two straight years now after a six-year hiatus. They still need a few pieces to compete with the league’s best.
Preseason championship odds +20000 (19th)
Current championship odds +24000 (16th/tied for last)
Bucks vs Magic To Win the Series Odds
Not many people are giving the Magic any chance in this one. The best odds are for it to end in 4. It would be one of the biggest upsets in recent sports history if they could win the seven-game series.
- Orlando Magic: +2500
- Milwaukee Bucks: -10000
- When will the series finish odds:
- Four games: -155
- Five games: +175
- Six games: +475
- Seven game: +1400
Prediction: Bucks in 5
The series sweep seems likely as the Magic seem outmatched on both ends of the floor. It also seems possible the Magic may be able to get hot one game and steal one. Let’s see.