The Chicago Bulls surprisingly got a road split of their Eastern Conference playoff series at the heavily favored Milwaukee Bucks in the first two games, and the series shifts to the Windy City on Friday night for Game 3 with the Bucks as short favorites on the NBA odds and without All-Star Khris Middleton.

How to Bet Bucks at Bulls NBA Odds & TV Info

  • When: Friday, 8:30 PM ET
  • Where: United Center
  • TV: ABC
  • Stream: ESPN app
  • Radio: Tunein.com
  • NBA Odds: Bucks -2.5 (total 223)

Why Bet on Milwaukee?

The Bucks were pushed hard in Game 1 but pulled away but they simply were the lesser team in Game 2, a 114-110 home upset loss to Chicago and apparently have lost All-Star guard Khris Middleton for 3-4 weeks due to an MCL sprain.

Middleton slipped on a drive to the basket about midway through the fourth quarter, completing a pass to Brook Lopez as he fell to the ground. Middleton immediately began favoring his left leg, attempting to stretch and flex his leg on the sidelines before he headed to the locker room. Middleton finished with 18 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds in 33 minutes for the Bucks.

Over the past two seasons, the Bucks are 86-34 (.717) when Giannis Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Jrue Holiday are all on the floor together, including the playoffs. However, Milwaukee did outscore opponents by 7.8 points per 100 possessions when Antetokounmpo and Holiday played without Middleton on the floor.

If Middleton misses any time with that injury, it’ll be a significant blow to a Bucks team that doesn’t have a great deal of depth. It’ll mean more will be asked from Antetokounmpo and Holiday on offense, while role players like Wes Matthews and Pat Connaughton will need to start hitting shots at a consistent rate.

Giannis was very good in Game 2 in hitting 11-of-20 shots but only 11-of-18 free throws for 33 points, 18 rebounds, nine assists, one steal and two blocks in 40 minutes. Giannis’ missed free throws took their toll as the Bucks overcame an 18-point deficit to cut it to three points late in the third quarter. But the Bulls went on a 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter and were able to hang on the rest of the way.

Antetokounmpo became the Bucks new all-time leader in playoff scoring and blocks. He needed only 11 points to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,692) as the franchise’s playoff scoring leader and needed two blocks to pass Alton Lister (91) as the team’s playoff blocks leader. Antetokounmpo is now the Bucks regular season and playoff leader in both categories.

Brook Lopez hit 9-of-16 shots 4-of-4 free throws for 25 points and six rebounds. Lopez got some extra minutes tonight when Bobby Portis departed after just six minutes with a right eye abrasion. Coach Mike Budenholzer said Portis’ right eye “should be fine with some time.” He will play Friday. Backup point guard George Hill remains out.

Dating to the 2016-17 season, the Bucks have won 11 of their last 12 games against the Bulls at the United Center. This includes a 2-0 mark this season and a 7-1 record over the last four seasons under head coach Mike Budenholzer

Why Bet on Chicago?

After struggling with his shot in Game 1, Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan hit 16-of-31 shots and 9-of-9 free throws on his way to a playoff career-high 41 points, seven rebounds, four assists, a steal and two blocks in Wednesday’s 114-110 win. DeRozan put the icing on the cake in this one with a driving layup against Giannis Antetokounmpo in the closing minute for two of the game’s final three points. The Bucks had won 11 of their last 12 home playoff games.

Zach LaVine chipped in 20 points. The veteran guard shot 7-for-13 from the field in the win, which was a significant improvement over his 6-for-19 mark in Game 1. LaVine wasn’t as effective on the boards, however, grabbing just one rebound Wednesday after 10 in Game 1.

Nikola Vucevic finished with 24 points and 13 rebound. Vucevic made a major impact on the game as both a scorer and rebounder, finishing with his second straight double-double in the first-round series. The big man also led the Bulls with four three-pointers and shot an efficient 10-for-18 from the field overall. He is averaging 24 points and 15 boards in the first two games.

The Bulls dominated from a 9-0 start, led pretty much all game and as much as 18 in the third quarter, and then never flinched as the Bucks made one, last effort late.

“Go to game 3,” said Alex Caruso. “We have to win three more times, they have to try to win three more times. Lot more games to play.”

Caruso had nine points and 10 assists but his impact went well beyond the box score numbers. Caruso flummoxed Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton into another harried game, four more turnovers to make it eleven in the two games before Middleton left with an injury. Caruso had the team best plus/minus for his time on the court at plus-16.

The Bulls, losers of 15 of their last 23 games since All-Star break and swept 4-0 by the Bucks this season in losing 16 of the last 17 between the teams, now have home-court advantage in the series.

Game Trends

  • Bucks are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games as a road favorite.
  • Bucks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games.
  • Bucks are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up loss.
  • Bulls are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
  • Bulls are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
  • Bulls are 5-15 ATS in their last 20 games as an underdog.
  • Bucks are 11-1 ATS in the last 12 meetings in Chicago.

Expert Prediction

 


 

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