The second day of a Game 2 quadruple-header for the first round of the NBA playoffs is slated for Thursday. Each conference’s 1-seeds try to bounce back from stunning Game 1 losses when the Milwaukee Bucks meet the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers play the Portland Trail Blazers.
Under Nikola Vučević 22.5 points (-129)
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that something is a little off with the Milwaukee Bucks. They got routed in Game 1 by the 8-seed Magic, 122-110. A big reason why Orlando pulled off the upset is because of the work their big man Nikola Vučević put in.
He scored 35 points (a personal-high against Milwaukee) on 15-24 shooting and 5 of 8 from behind the arc. Essentially the Bucks dared Vučević to shoot and he made them pay.
Vučević having his best scoring performance of 2019-20 led to an overreaction from BetMGM. We are getting close to three points of cushion compared to his season average of 19.6 PPG.
Also, we should expect regression from the five threes Vučević sank in Game 1, because he averaged 1.7 threes per game in the regular season and the Bucks’ bigs should close out on him more in Game 2.
Even though the Bucks averaged the most points per game in the regular season, their defense is what will carry them to a title. Milwaukee is ranked first in defensive efficiency this season.
The Bucks allow opponents to shoot the most threes per game in the NBA but that’s by design because opponents score the least amount of points in the paint per game. Vučević averaged the ninth-most paint touches and 11th-most field goal attempts in the paint in the NBA.
In 24 career starts against the Bucks, Vučević has eclipsed 22.5 points in just three games and he’s averaging 16.7 points per game against Milwaukee. Expect a motivated Bucks team, and both Lopez brothers, to focus on shutting down Vučević.
New to sports betting? A $129 bet on Under Nikola Vučević 22.5 points (-129) pays out a $100 profit if the Bucks hold him to 22 or fewer points.
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