Can Chicago Stop the Spiral
The Chicago Bulls have limped their way into the playoffs and will have a tough time steadying the ship as they head to Milwaukee for Game 1 against the Bucks at the Fiserv Forum.
The home team has slowly begun to look like the side that delivered a championship banner last season and with everyone fully healthy the expectations are high for this team.
Bucks Primed to Start Strong
The Milwaukee Bucks have achieved their primary goal heading into the playoffs; ensuring all of their stars are rested and healthy to take the floor for Game 1.
The Bucks closed out the regular season winning five of their last eight games – all those wins featured an almost fully healthy starting lineup and only one of those losses came against a team that featured their key trio of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday.
The decision to rest the starters for the final game and ultimately drop to the three seed has certainly worked out in regards to giving them arguably the best possible opening-round matchup that could in turn lead to extended rest between series.
The Bucks have completely dominated the Bulls recently, and their season sweep was reflective of the dominance within each game where the expected points based on shot quality attempts showed an average expected winning margin of 11.7 points.
The biggest question marks around the Bucks in the postseason will be how they adapt to a team with a strong, reliable defensive presence – the Bulls simply do not possess that and so this NBA betting expert is strongly of the belief the Bucks roll through this game and series.
Bulls Running Lost
Chicago enters the playoffs as arguably the most out-of-form team from either conference.
The Bulls went 8-16 straight up to close the regular season and an equally concerning 7-17 against-the-spread (ATS). As underdogs, they went both 2-12 straight up and ATS.
The biggest drop-off for Chicago since the early parts of the season has come on the defensive end of the floor. Injuries have certainly played their part, with their three best players at that end of the floor – Patrick Williams, Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball – all missing significant time this season through injury.
While Caruso and Williams have returned to the rotations neither has been able to replicate the impact they had to start the year, with Williams, in particular, struggling to find confidence or form after missing almost the entire regular season with a broken wrist.
With Ball still unavailable the team simply lacks the spacing and playmaking he offers at the guard position, but more so his ability to disrupt the opponents’ offensive sets with his length and size.
In 12 of their last 14 outings they’ve given up 112 points or more and the team simply doesn’t seem to show the signs that would suggest we get any improvement from them at that end of the floor in this series.
Bulls vs Bucks Head-to-Head
The Milwaukee Bucks have quite frankly dominated this series, both this season and in recent years.
The Bucks went 4-0 straight up and 3-1 ATS against the Bulls this season, with all three of those covers coming after the All-Star break.
Their most recent meeting at this venue ended in a 126-98 win for Milwaukee, which closed as 6½-point favorites that night.
Milwaukee has also won 15 of the last 16 meetings between these two teams.
Bulls vs Bucks Game Information
- Game: Bulls (46-36) vs Bucks (51-31)
- Location: Fiserv Forum
- Day/Time: Sunday, April 17th, 6:30 p.m. EST
- Bulls vs Bucks Live stream: NBA Game Pass
Take a Look at the Other 2 NBA Eastern Conference Matchups
Bulls vs Bucks Betting Lines
The Milwaukee Bucks are -550 according to our NBA Lines. This means that if you wager $100 you have the chance to win $18. On the other side the Chicago Bulls are +425 according to the Vegas NBA Lines. This means that if you wager $100 you have the chance to win $425
The implied probability for these two teams attached to the betting lines have the Chicago Bulls at a 19.05% chance of winning the game, meanwhile the Bucks have 84.62% probability of finishing the game with the W.
Bulls vs Bucks Prediction
The Milwaukee Bucks are expected to breeze through this series and it’s hard to make a case for any other outcome.
That said, the betting markets are an entirely different story and the number being hung here is extremely inflated as a result of the dominance shown by Milwaukee.
Their two most recent meetings finished within a bucket of the final spread and the climb to the current market price represents a value on a Chicago team who can keep this somewhat respectable with a decent offensive showing.
Antetokounmpo is naturally the biggest mismatch on the floor most nights. His offensive arsenal is one that Chicago simply does not have the bodies to deal with and that in itself is the starting point for those looking to bet online in this one.
Despite that being the case, I’d expect a somewhat cautious approach from Mike Budenholzer here in how he plays his superstars and that’ll allow some runs to be made by Chicago as a result.
The over adjustment by sportsbook numbers gives us value on the Bulls in this spot.