The Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks don’t look like the last two NBA championship-winning teams.
Milwaukee is 6-8 after losing consecutive games to Boston and Atlanta. Los Angeles is 8-7 after losing to Chicago and is struggling with LeBron James off the court.
There is still a long way to go, but desperation could start to seep in. NBA betting markets expect the Bucks to be the more desperate team as a -9 favorite.
Lakers Under Pressure
If you thought the Bucks were under pressure to perform, it’s tenfold for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Without James on the court, they don’t appear to have any chance of making the playoffs, let alone winning the NBA title.
We don’t have much faith in Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook taking this team on their shoulders, so the longer James is out, the worse it becomes for the Lakers.
We could go on all day about why Westbrook isn’t a good fit, but it has become glaringly obvious to NBA bettors. The Lakers are 5-10 against the spread, so loyal bettors aren’t happy.
They have been an awful bet so far, which is why betting online markets have them as underdogs. Making matters worse, Davis picked up a thumb injury in the loss to the Bulls, but he is expected to play through the pain.
Defense is a reason why the Lakers are struggling. They rank 19th or worse in points allowed, field goal percentage and three-point percentage. They are also 26th in rebounds per game, which is surprising with Westbrook on the floor.
The offensive numbers are good enough, but scoring only 103 points against a suspect Bulls defense isn’t a good betting guide.
The Bucks and Lakers have played 10 times since 2017 and the favorite has covered the betting spread in seven of those games.
That should be music to the ears of Milwaukee fans, who haven’t had much to cheer about. The Bucks showed some life when beating the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers, but they quickly came back down to earth with losses to Boston and Atlanta.
Returning to the Fiserv Forum should be a positive despite their 1-4 record at home . The Bucks are still without Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, but going up against a Lakers team without James is ideal.
This guy cant stop posing for us now. 🤣 pic.twitter.com/AslN3kepIB
Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) November 17, 2021
Giannis Antetokounmpo should have success in the paint, especially if Davis gets into early foul trouble. Westbrook can’t cover him, and the Greek Freak is the Bucks’ best chance to win.
Some critics have said he is underperforming, but with 26.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and six assists per game, we’re not sure what more he could do.
Antetokounmpo is playing without his two primary scorers, which has caught up with him. If the Bucks are to be successful, Lopez and Middleton need to return. However, Antetokounmpo can carry this team on his shoulders against the Lakers.
His decision to stay with the Bucks wasn’t easy, but that’s what makes him so admirable.
“I chose to stay here even with all the pressure because it’s easier to leave. That’s the easy thing to do. It’s easy to leave,” Antetokounmpo told GQ.com.
The sportsbook has the Bucks at -9 against the Lakers. It’s a big line considering their respective records, but the Bucks could have a breakout game.
Lakers vs Bucks Pick
There isn’t much trust with the Lakers without James on the floor. Therefore, we’re going with the Bucks to score an emphatic victory.
It’s much-needed after back-to-back losses, but with the benefit of the home crowd, they should get it done.
Milwaukee is good at getting off to a fast start, so it could establish a big first-quarter lead and cruise home.