Milwaukee Bucks vs. San Antonio Spurs: Predictions, Starting Lineups (1/4/24)

The Milwaukee Bucks (24-10) face the San Antonio Spurs (5-28) this Thursday (1/4/24). Get Bucks vs. Spurs moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. San Antonio Spurs Prediction

For as good as Victor Wembanyama is defensively, he cannot stem the Milwaukee tide. The Bucks rank sixth in three-point percentage and face a Spurs defense allowing the second most wide open three-point attempts per game (via Damian Lillard, Malik Beasley, Khris Middleton, and Brook Lopez will put on a show from deep, and San Antonio must still deal with Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 30.8 points on a 60.6 field goal percentage.

Overall, San Antonio’s (25th in Defensive Rating) does not possess the perimeter defenders to somewhat slow down a motivated Milwaukee squad eager to vent their frustrations after back-to-back losses against Indiana.

Milwaukee is a defensive mess at the moment, but the same could be said of San Antonio’s offense. Their ball handlers outside of Tre Jones routinely miss an open Wembanyama or even look him off. The Spurs are 29th in three-point percentage, so Wembanyama has utterly no spacing to help him operate. To make matters worse, Antetokounmpo is one of the few defenders that can bother Wembanyama’s shot. San Antonio can gain traction against Milwaukee’s defense in transition, but they lack the firepower to goe toe-to-toe with a pissed off Bucks offense.

For this bet to hit, Milwaukee needs to be leading the game by the end of every quarter. They don’t need to individually win every quarter, but rather simply have more total points at the end of every quarter.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. San Antonio Spurs Prediction: Bucks Winning At End Of Every Quarter (-102 FD)

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Milwaukee Bucks vs. San Antonio Spurs Best Odds

The Bucks are massive 10.5 point favorites, which is not surprising considering they have 19 more wins than the Spurs. Milwaukee is 8-7 against the spread on the road, and San Antonio is 6-10 at home.

The Spurs need to win this game roughly 20 percent of the time for their +400 moneyline to hold a positive expected value, which makes it theoretically profitable in the long run.

Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup

PG: Damian Lillard
SG: Malik Beasley
SF: Khris Middleton
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
C: Brook Lopez

San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup

PG: Devin Vassell
SG: Julian Champagnie
SF: Keldon Johnson
PF: Jeremy Sochan
C: Victor Wembanyama

Milwaukee Bucks vs. San Antonio Spurs Injuries

Jae Crowder remains out for the Bucks, while Malaki Branham, Zach Collins, Doug McDermott, and Charles Bassey are sidelined for the Spurs. Advantage Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. San Antonio Spurs Key Matchups

Damian Lillard’s Efficiency

Over his past six games, Lillard is averaging 21.7 points on a 39.2 field goal percentage and 28.8 three-point percentage. However, he meets a Spurs defense that allows the most points per game and fourth most made threes per game to opposing point guards. Given San Antonio’s atrocious three-point defense, Lillard is set for a monster game. If he can break out of his slump, then this matchup will be over quickly. It’s worth noting that he played the Spurs on December 19th and racked up 40 points on 7/12 from three.

Bucks Free Throws

Milwaukee is fourth in free throw attempt rate behind Antetokounmpo and Lillard. Both players rank top six across the NBA in attempts per game, which provides a massive boost to the offense. A trip to the line for a league average free throw shooter (78.6%) produces the same expected points per possession as a three-point attempt by a 52.4 3PT% shooter. If the Spurs constantly foul, then their chances are extremely slim.

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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