Will Milwaukee Bucks Win 70 Games? How Bettors Should Lean
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The Milwaukee Bucks clinched a playoff berth on Sunday, the earliest an NBA team has done so. At 50-8, the Bucks not only hold an eight-game lead in the Eastern Conference, they’re five games ahead of the Lakers for the best overall mark.
Eclipsing the 73-9 all-time best regular season record set by the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors seems highly unlikely. Of course, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Co. would likely sacrifice regular-season glory for postseason success, where those Warriors infamously fell short in the NBA Finals.
Just two teams have ever reached the 70-win plateau — Steph Curry’s 2016 Warriors and Michael Jordan’s 1996 Bulls (72-10). Will the Greek Freak lead a third team to that hallowed benchmark? Bookies.com breaks it down.
Milwaukee winning this spares us two weeks of unbearable Giannis-2021 commentary. Instead we'll just go back to ignoring one of the greatest team seasons in NBA history.— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) February 26, 2020
To get to 70 wins, the Bucks would need to go 20-4 the rest of the way, after Tuesday’s impressive 108-97 road win at Toronto, the No. 2 team in the East.
That comes out to an .833 winning percentage the rest of the way. But through 58 games, Milwaukee has been running at an .862 clip.
The Bucks are the +240 NBA futures betting favorites to win the NBA championship, and -162 to win the Eastern Conference.
Antetokounmpo is the huge NBA Most Valuable Player betting favorite at -455. He is averaging 29.7 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists, while playing a modest 30.9 minutes per game.
But there’s another All-Star on the team in Khris Middleton (21.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.2 apg) and Milwaukee might be the deepest team in the league. Nobody averages 31 minutes per game and eight players average 7.2 ppg or more.
Over the past 10 games Middleton is averaging 24.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game while shooting 51.7% from the field.
From here on out, the Milwaukee Bucks schedule is tough. The Bucks play the Thunder on Friday before heading to Charlotte on Sunday.
After that comes matchups with the contending Heat and Pacers — Indiana was the last team to beat Milwaukee — then a West Coast trip that includes stops at the Lakers and Nuggets before the Bucks return home to face Boston.
They begin April with a home showdown with the Raptors, then play three straight on the road against Toronto, Boston and Philadelphia.
Of their 24 remaining games, 14 are against teams currently in playoff positioning. It’s a gauntlet to end the year. But of course, it should be noted that since Nov. 10, the Bucks have lost just six games.
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The Bucks are on a path to clinch homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs all the way to the NBA Finals. They’re not going to slow down until they achieve that goal.
But what happens after they do? Do the coaches rest Antetokounmpo, maybe fellow All-Star Middleton? The answer is probably yes.
The notion of backing the Bucks to close out strong with nothing on the line and no Antetokounmpo might seem questionable. But when its MVP hasn’t played this season, Milwaukee is 5-1, with all five wins by double figures.
The Bucks started the season 2-2 and were 6-3, but since Nov. 10 they’re 44-5. Their last loss that Antetokounmpo played in was Jan. 31 against the Nuggets.
But there are too many variables to take the Over right now. The schedule has a pair of brutal stretches and overall it’s very tough, full of motivated teams.
And we’re not sure how motivated Milwaukee will even be in the final two weeks of the season. If the Bucks have to choose between winning 70 games and being 100% healthy for the postseason, that’s an easy one.
Go with the Milwaukee Bucks finishing Under 69.5 wins.