It’s the time of year when the NBA regular-season games matter a bit more, and the 76ers-Bucks odds for Thursday night make that very clear. The Philadelphia 76ers, currently a half-game ahead of the Brooklyn Nets for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, face off against a Milwaukee Bucks team sitting just 3.5 games out of first place. But few teams need to monitor their player minutes as much as the 76ers do, which makes betting on Philly down the stretch an interesting conundrum. Who will sit and who will play? That’s the primary talking point when looking at the 76ers-Bucks odds at BetRivers.com.
Longtime basketball writer Rob Dauster, the co-founder of The Field of 68 Podcast Network is here to break down the 76ers-Bucks odds, with added analysis on lineup concerns and the best bets worth a wager.
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76ers-Bucks Odds & Predictions
Philadelphia 76ers (39-19) at Milwaukee Bucks (35-22), 7:10 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Bucks -360 ML, 76ers +285 ML
SPREAD: Bucks -8.5
OVER/UNDER: 225.5 (-108/-113)
Click here for the full list of 76ers-Bucks odds.
As has become the trend in the NBA in 2021, there are five key players whose status will likely be up in the air as we head into one of the more enticing matchups in the Eastern Conference this month.
The 76ers, despite losing to Phoenix on Wednesday night, currently sit in first place in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee is in third just 3.5 games back, and the two teams play a pair of games in Milwaukee in the next three days. If the Bucks want to have a real chance at winning the East, they probably need a sweep.
Those chances were dampened a bit when Giannis left Monday’s loss to Phoenix early with leg cramps. That comes on the heels of the two-time reigning MVP missing some time due to knee soreness. I think he will be playing on Thursday, but that will be something to monitor, as will the status of like half of Philly’s roster: Joel Embiid is always banged up but he returned to action on Wednesday night, while Tobias Harris, Seth Curry and Ben Simmons all missed the game against the Suns.
Let’s assume that everyone plays. At the current number (-7), I like the 76ers. The key to being able to beat the Bucks is to build a wall around the rim to prevent Giannis from doing Giannis things, and there aren’t many defenders that are better suited to doing that than the combination of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Tobias Harris, and to a certain extent Seth Curry, are the guys that create the space offensively for the 76ers, and while Khris Middleton is having a terrific season, I’m not sure it’s enough to make up for the fact that this number is so large.
This line is already moving towards Milwaukee. It opened at (-6) at BetRivers.com. Keep an eye on the status of these players. I like Philly at this number if Embiid and Harris play, or if Giannis is out. If everyone is healthy, I like the 76ers down to (-4).
If everyone is out, I think that the Under is worth taking a look at. I do think that this game is going to have the cagey feel of an early round playoff matchup, as these two teams try and feel each other out without putting too much on film. Plus, if the two-time reigning MVP is out and the guy that is one of the favorites to win the MVP this year is out, logic suggests the scoring will take a hit.