Don’t look now, but the Milwaukee Bucks are red-hot, having won six of their past seven games ahead of Sunday’s bout against Portland. Continue reading below for our Milwaukee Bucks vs. Portland Trail Blazers predictions, as well as the starting lineups and updated betting odds.
Portland Trail Blazers Vs. Milwaukee Bucks Prediction
Before their most recent win at home against the Utah Jazz, the Portland Trail Blazers had dropped eight consecutive games by an average of 15 points; they had a shooting split of 43/33/76 during that stretch while committing nearly 16 turnovers per game. Portland’s 101 points per game in that span were by far the lowest of any team.
Meanwhile, after a shaky start to the 2023-24 campaign, the Milwaukee Bucks have since turned things around, winning six of their past seven games. Milwaukee has the second-highest net rating in the NBA during that stretch and its only loss was by three points on the road against the Boston Celtics (12-4, first in the Eastern Conference.)
Even though Milwaukee will be without Khris Middleton (Achilles injury), this is nothing short of a nightmare matchup for the Blazers. Over the past few weeks, Portland has had by far the worst offense in the league, while Milwaukee has been the best by a wide margin. Further, the Blazers rank dead-last in the NBA in 3P% and Milwaukee stands at sixth. This is a huge advantage for a Bucks team that would rather opponents challenge them in the paint, with Giannis and Lopez anchoring.
It has been a small sigh of relief to watch the dynamic duo of Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo find its form, too. Lillard has averaged close to 29 points, nine assists, and five rebounds on a 47/40/90 shooting split, while Giannis has posted close to 31 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists in the aforementioned time frame.
Those two superstars were destined to figure out how to mesh with one another eventually, but what has been the most shocking aspect of Milwaukee’s recent play is easily Brook Lopez. Lopez has posted 28 and 39 points in his past two outings on outrageous efficiency; his play has aged like fine wine due to his ability to stretch the floor at 7-foot-1 and also be a phenomenal drop coverage defender and rim protector on the other end.
It is always challenging to lay down 12.5 points in a league where every player is so talented that some straightforward nights result in massive upsets. However, this is one of the few times where we feel confident laying double-digit points simply due to this fact: Milwaukee has had the best offense recently, and Portland has had the worst.
If you can’t hit three-pointers at a high clip, you have little chance of staying anywhere near Milwaukee by the end of the game. With Anfernee Simons still unable to return and Toumani Camara somehow logging starts, this is not likely to change.
Portland Trail Blazers Vs. Milwaukee Bucks Prediction: Bucks -12.5 (-110)
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Portland Trail Blazers Vs. Milwaukee Bucks Best Odds
Milwaukee is a massive 12.5-point home favorite on Sunday afternoon against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Bucks are -750 to win outright against Portland (+525), while the point total is at 231. The Over and Under on the point total each hold odds of -110.
Portland Trail Blazers Starting Lineup
Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup
Portland Trail Blazers Vs. Milwaukee Bucks Injuries
Portland has had some tough luck with injuries so far this season; it will continue to miss Robert Williams III (knee), Ish Wainright (knee), and Anfernee Simons (thumb.) Despite missing the last game, Deandre Ayton can suit up on Sunday, while Justin Minaya (illness) is day-to-day.
Meanwhile, the Bucks will be without Jae Crowder (abdominal tear) and Khris Middleton (Achilles), two key players in their rotation. Giannis Antetokounmpo is listed as probable ahead of Sunday’s matchup.
Portland Trail Blazers Vs. Milwaukee Bucks Key Matchups
In a game that appears increasingly likely to be a blowout, the key matchup will be between Brook Lopez and Deandre Ayton. See why their play could be the deciding factor in the closeness, or lack thereof, of this game!
Brook Lopez vs. Deandre Ayton
As discussed above, Brook Lopez has been playing some of his best basketball ever in the past two outings, posting just shy of 34 points, seven rebounds, and four “stocks” (steals plus blocks) per game on a 74/50/90 shooting split. Sure, that is an extremely small sample size, but it is shocking (and impressive), to say the least.
Further, Lopez has been playing better for the past few weeks, in general. While his last two performances are undoubtedly outliers, he has still posted double-digit points in seven straight games. With Khris Middleton set to miss some time, Lopez will be leaned on a bit heavier offensively.
Meanwhile, Deandre Ayton has been quite inconsistent all season, as he is averaging 12.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game; his scoring output is pacing to be well below any of his previous seasons, including his rookie year in the NBA.
There have been moments where Ayton has appeared engaged in what is going on and has flashed the talent we saw the first few seasons in Phoenix; however, all things considered, he is not much of a threat individually and in this atrocious offense. Advantage: Lopez.