The Milwaukee Bucks (25-10) battle the Houston Rockets (17-16) this Saturday (1/6/24). Get Bucks vs. Rockets moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Houston Rockets Prediction
Milwaukee’s starting lineup is outscoring opponents by 13.3 points per 100 possessions, and they face a depleted Rockets squad without Dillon Brooks or Tari Eason – two defensive forwards that would have been highly useful against Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Without them, Alperen Sengun must elevate his rim protection against Antetokounmpo’s downhill threats; however, it will be difficult to entrench himself in the paint given Brook Lopez’s three-point shooting.
Meanwhile, Houston ranks dead last defending ball screens in terms of derived opponent shot quality (per ShotQuality) because Fred VanVleet and Jalen Green can get caught on screens. As a result, the Rockets give up the fifth largest off-the-dribble three-point frequency, which doesn’t bode well against Damian Lillard, who torched them for 39 points in their December 17th matchup.
Milwaukee’s elite offense should continue to roll here against a Houston team without two of their top defenders.
Defensively, the Rockets will find success against the Bucks’ poor defense. However, Antetokounmpo and Lopez bring serious length against Sengun’s interior scoring, thus raising their defensive ceiling here. Plus, Houston’s weapons are more inconsistent than Milwaukee’s.
Overall, the Bucks boast an excellent starting lineup that has the tools to exploit Houston’s depleted defense. They can also give Sengun tough looks here. Therefore, backing them to win the first quarter by at least two points is the best bet.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Houston Rockets Prediction: 1st Quarter Bucks -1.5 (-120 BMGM)
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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Houston Rockets Best Odds
The Bucks are seven point favorites in this matchup, which is logical given the key injuries for the Rockets. Milwaukee is 8-8 against the spread on the road, and Houston owns a 13-6-1 record against the spread at home.
The Rockets must win this game roughly 31 percent of the time for their +222 moneyline to be theoretically profitable in the long run.
Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup
Houston Rockets Starting Lineup
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Houston Rockets Injuries
Backup forward Jae Crowder remains out for Milwaukee, while Houston will be without Dillon Brooks, Tari Eason, and Victor Oladipo. Advantage Bucks.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Houston Rockets Key Matchups
Jalen Green’s Efficiency
The former second overall pick has struggled mightily through his first three seasons, as he possesses a career 41.8 field goal percentage and 34.2 three-point percentage. Over his past five games though, Green has averaged 22 points on 46/48/61 shooting splits. If he continues his recent shooting versus a Bucks defense that gives up the third most points per game to shooting guards, then the Rockets definitely have a chance to take the first quarter.
Brook Lopez’s Efficiency
The first quarter has not been Lopez’s friend this season. During this frame, he owns a 41.8 field goal percentage and 29.4 three-point percentage. He likely sees decent looks from above the break with Sengun hesitant to step away from Antetokounmpo’s realm, so the Bucks offense should thrive if Lopez hits his shots.