Milwaukee Bucks vs Brooklyn Nets: Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds (12/23/22)

It’s the last big slate for the NBA before the NBA takes a day off for Christmas Eve. The main event of the night features two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference as the Milwaukee Bucks take on the Brooklyn Nets. With plenty of superstars on both ends, this one shapes up as a fun one for our viewing pleasure in a jam-packed slate. Can the Nets continue their recent dominance after a shaky start to the season?

Milwaukee Bucks vs Brooklyn Nets Betting Odds

Oddsmakers were torn on this at the start, opening the Nets as a slight favorite at -1. Bettors were quick to favor the home team, taking the Nets up to as high as -2.5 in some shops. This is heavily correlated on the injury news of Kyrie Irving and Khris Middleton as Irving is trending to be more likely to play while Middleton’s news has taken a sour turn. Without Middleton, the Nets defense assignment turns easier as they can shift their focus to walling off the paint against Giannis.

Speaking of defensive play, oddsmakers believe points will be scored at a premium as they opened the total at 225.5. Bettors favor the under as well, taking it down to 224.5 as of writing with potential indication of going lower. Without Middleton, the Bucks offense takes a severe blow in scoring diversity which will hamper this long-term success of getting off high quality looks. If Giannis can slow down Kevin Durant, then this under sets up nicely for an easy cash.

Milwaukee Bucks vs Brooklyn Nets Prediction

The Pick: Nets -2

With the return of Kyrie Irving, I will take the Nets at -3.5 or better in what will be an exciting matchup between two high powered Eastern Conference foes. The Nets have drastically improved since their rocky start to the season, now playing as one of the most efficient units in basketball. A level of play that is more than capable of a deep run for the championship. A championship run that would most likely see them matchup up against the Bucks at some point during it.

Their sharp rise back to elite production has come from their increase in scoring production. Kevin Durant has maintained a MVP caliber type of play while Kyrie has done a phenomenal job as his number two. With both of them playing at their elite level, this has given the rest of their offense plenty of room to do damage. Especially from the perimeter, an area that they excel in and will look to bury the Bucks in a hurry from.

While their offense has drastically risen to elite production, it is their defense that has sneakily turned them back into a championship contender. As of writing, the Nets currently rank above average in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.

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Betting Trends

  • Nets are 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a SU win
  • Bucks are 1-4-1 ATS in their last six road games against a team with a home winning percentage over 0.600

Key Matchups

How will the Nets slow down the scoring production of Giannis and the rest of the Bucks roster?

Bucks scoring production vs Nets defense

The Nets improved defensive play will need to be in full effect as the Bucks are a lethal scoring unit behind one of the most dominant players in basketball. Luckily for Brooklyn, they most likely will go against the Bucks without Khris Middleton, one of their go-to scoring options when healthy who is capable of stretching out the perimeter.

Even in the midst of a down year, Middleton commands attention with one of the more lethal mid-range games in the league. Without Middleton, this allows the Nets to stack the paint and dare Giannis and company to shoot over them. If the Nets can shadow Jrue Holiday and limit his secondary scoring production, this puts ample pressure on Giannis to keep the Bucks in scoring pace. A pace that I believe they will not be able to maintain throughout the course of the game.

Verdict

Take the Nets at no higher than -3.5 in what will be a potential Eastern Conference Finals preview.

Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup

PG: Jrue Holiday
SG: Grayson Allen
SF: Pat Connaughton
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
C: Brook Lopez

Brooklyn Nets Starting Lineups

PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Ben Simmons
SF: Royce O’Neale
PF: Kevin Durant
C: Nicolas Claxton

Key Injuries

Milwaukee Bucks Injuries: Giannis Antetokounmpo (P), Khris Middleton (D)

Brooklyn Nets Injuries: Kyrie Irving (P), Yuta Watanabe (Q)

Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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