The Milwaukee Bucks (5-2) travel to face the Indiana Pacers (5-3) this Thursday (11/9/23). Get Bucks vs. Pacers moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchup below.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers Prediction
Instead of over 243 total points, taking both teams to score over 115.5 points (-135 DK) is the best bet.
Indiana’s plan to surround Tyrese Haliburton’s hyper-elite playmaking with knockdown shooters and rim-runners is working beautifully, as the Pacers quietly lead the NBA in Offensive Rating and assist to turnover ratio (per NBA.com). Indiana loves to play a run-and-gun style and force opponents to adjust to their rhythm – they rank second in pace and fifth in transition frequency.
Due to the off-season departures of Jrue Holiday and Jevon Carter, Milwaukee’s formidable defense has completely crumbled. They boast a non-existent point-of-attack defense, so opposing guards are scorching them with ease. That doesn’t bode well for them here against Tyrese Haliburton, who is a master manipulator. He will bypass Milwaukee’s putrid perimeter defenders and kick it out to the arc once the defense collapses. Myles Turner’s three-point range also drags Lopez out of the paint, which leaves them vulnerable to floaters and lobs. Obi Toppin in particular can feast from the dunker’s spot if Antetokounmpo steps up to contest.
Milwaukee’s defense ranks 29th in opponent transition points per possession and is allowing these opportunities at the fourth highest rate. Because they play fast themselves, Milwaukee isn’t determined to grind games to a halt. However, it will hurt them in this matchup due to Indiana’s lethal transition offense.
On the other end, the Pacers have surrendered the most restricted area field goal attempts per game. Antetokounmpo will slaughter them once he gets downhill, especially in the pick-and-roll where Damian Lillard’s gravity keeps defenders honest. Milwaukee’s three-point shooters can punish a sagging Pacers defense too, so the Bucks should get great shot quality.
Finally, Indiana’s undisciplined defense ranks 26th in opponent free throw attempt rate. Lillard and Antetokounmpo will pile up free throw attempts, which inherently hold a massive expected points per possession.
Overall, this game features a collision between two teams that play at a rapid pace, boast elite offenses, and can’t stop a runny nose on defense. Look for both squads to light up the scoreboard.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers Prediction: Both Teams Over 115.5 Points (-135 DK)
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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers Best Odds
The Milwaukee Bucks are 2.5 point favorites, which is a sign of respect towards Indiana considering the Bucks entered this season with some of the shortest championship odds. For Indiana’s +134 moneyline to hold a positive expected value, they need to win this game about 43 percent of the time.
Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup
Indiana Pacers Starting Lineup
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers Injuries
Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo are questionable, although they are trending more towards probable than doubftul. Meanwhile, Indiana’s injury report is completely clean.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers Key Matchups
Buddy Hield 3PT Shooting
The veteran sharpshooter is a key weapon for Indiana. His elite three-point shot makes him deadly as a transition trailer, and opponents must flawlessly navigate off-ball screens to deter his catch-and-shoot jumper. Overall, Hield provides a massive spark off the bench, and he faces a Bucks defense that ranks 22nd defending threes in terms of opponent shot quality (per ShotQuality). If Hield gets hot from deep, then Indiana has a great chance of clearing 116 points.
Damian Lillard Efficiency
The All-NBA guard has struggled to start the year; he’s averaging 24.3 points on poor 40/29/92 shooting splits. He will have an excellent chance to explode against Indiana’s porous defense, and Milwaukee should thrive if this occurs due to Antetokounmpo, Lopez, Middleton, and Portis already doing heavy lifting. If Lillard struggles from the field, then the Bucks could be in danger of falling short of 116 points.
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