Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Predictions, Starting Lineups (1/24/24)

The rolling Cleveland Cavaliers (26-15) encounter the Milwaukee Bucks (30-13) this Wednesday (1/24/24). Get Cavaliers vs. Bucks moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Milwaukee Bucks Prediction

Cleveland enters this contest on an eight game winning streak and leads the NBA in Defensive Rating over the past 15 games.

They allow the third lowest off-the-dribble three-point frequency and the second fewest above the break attempts per game (via NBA.com). This area forms 93 percent of Damian Lillard’s three-point attempts, so Cleveland has the chops to limit his production. It’s been proven too, as Lillard is a combined 3/11 from deep across two matchups this season.

Meanwhile, Jarrett Allen has been sensational defensively this season. Due to his brilliance, Cleveland surrenders the fifth lowest field goal percentage within eight feet of the basket. Allen’s rim protection will be a nuisance for Giannis Antetokounmpo, who leads the league in field goal attempts per game within eight feet of the basket. Essentially, Cleveland’s defense can somewhat limit Milwaukee’s top scorers and force others to beat them.

On the other end, point guards average the fifth most points per game against the Bucks because of their horrible point-of-attack defense. Enter Donovan Mitchell, who is averaging roughly 28 points and 8 assists since Darius Garland’s injury in mid December. Milwaukee simply has no answer for Mitchell, so Cleveland’s offense will at least be functional at a minimum.

Finally, the Bucks give up the 12th most wide open three-point attempts per game. Cleveland struggles to shoot from deep on contested attempts, but they own a 39 three-point percentage on wide open looks.

Overall, the Cavaliers definitely have the tools to keep this game within seven points. It’s worth noting that they are fifth in Net Rating and 10-7-1 against the spread on the road, so they travel well too.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Milwaukee Bucks Prediction: Cavaliers +7.5

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Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Milwaukee Bucks Best Odds

The Bucks are seven point favorites in this matchup, which is a bit surprising given Cleveland’s recent play, elite defense, and slow pace. Plus, Milwaukee possesses a putrid 8-13-1 record against the spread at home.

Cleveland needs to win this matchup at least 29 percent of the time for their +240 moneyline to hold a positive expected value, thus making it profitable in the long run.

Cleveland Cavaliers Starting Lineup

PG: Donovan Mitchell
SG: Isaac Okoro
SF: Max Strus
PF: Dean Wade
C: Jarrett Allen

Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup

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

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Milwaukee Bucks Injuries

Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Ty Jerome, Tristan Thompson, and Emoni Bates will miss the contest for Cleveland. Additionally, Caris LeVert (16 PPG) is questionable after missing the past two games. On the other hand, former Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo holds a probable tag, and Milwaukee has no other player listed on the injury report. Advantage Bucks.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Milwaukee Bucks Key Matchups

Cleveland’s 3PT Shooting

Winning the three-point battle is one of the easiest ways for an underdog to cover the spread. Therefore, Cleveland’s role players will be crucial in this matchup. Over their past 15 games, Wade, Merrill, and Niang have combined to shoot a 42 three-point percentage on nearly 20 attempts per game. If the trio continues to scorch the net and provide supplementary scoring, then the Cavaliers own an excellent chance of covering.

Jarrett Allen Foul Trouble

Whether it’s his screening, rolling, rebounding, or rim protection, Allen is a vital piece for Cleveland here. Milwaukee ranks third in free throw attempt rate, and Antetokounmpo takes the second most free throw attempts per game across the NBA. If the Bucks tag Allen with a few fouls early, it would be cataclysmic.

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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