The Bucks were expected to make a jump in 2019 for a host of reasons. Giannis Antetokounmpo was a good bet to jump from All-Star to superstar, newly appointed head coach Mike Budenholzer seemed like a perfect fit for an offense built around 3-point shooting, and the team was aggressive in free agency to put the finishing touches on an East contender.
But no fan of NBA betting could have expected this. They were +3500 to win the 2019 NBA title and oddsmakers set their win total at 46.5, three more than what they had accomplished the previous season. Antetokounmpo, who had increased his scoring and rebounding in each of his first five seasons, was a respectable +400 to win league MVP for a first time.
The Bucks shot out of the gates 7-0, turned the calendar to 2019 with a 25-10 record, entered the All-Star break at 41-13, surpassed their over-under win total on Feb. 27 with 21 games to play, and topped 60 wins for the first time in nearly 40 years.
Along the way, Antetokounmpo became a frontrunner for MVP, Khris Middleton became an All-Star and guys like Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez and Malcolm Brogdon became perfect complementary pieces for the best team in the NBA.
How Bucks' NBA Title Odds Have Tightened
- October: +3500
- Late December: +2000
- Late February: +1100
- Late March: +950
- April 11: +850
- April 17: +550
- April 22: +450
If you want to bet the Bucks’ futures odds before they shrink further, go here.
Oddsmakers must like what they see from the Bucks early in the postseason. They’ve won three straight games against the eighth-seeded Pistons by a combined 72 points and should finish the series Monday night in Detroit. In that short one-week span oddsmakers have shrunk Milwaukee’s title odds from +850 to +450 as one can see on our NBA Odds page.
Milwaukee’s play is certainly a reason for the diminishing odds in NBA Finals betting, but DeMarcus Cousins’ season-ending quad injury in Golden State also makes the Warriors less of a threat in a potential Finals matchup. Also, the Warriors will have to go through a Rockets team in Round 2 that’s playing as well as any team in basketball.
Milwaukee’s path won’t be easy, either, as they’re set for a second-round matchup against a Celtics team that just swept a very good Indiana Pacers group and also knocked off the Bucks in seven games last postseason. But oddsmakers like what they’ve seen from the Bucks, and their title odds will only continue to shrink moving forward.
Why Bucks Remain Good Value Bet
The Warriors remain the favorites to win the 2019 title, with oddsmakers giving them -175 odds despite the Cousins injury. This is still a team with incredible talent, depth, coaching and, most importantly, playoff experience. It’d be a pretty large upset if they didn’t win a third straight championship.
But it’s difficult to consider what the Bucks have done from start to finish this season and not love their odds. Antetokounmpo has made the jump to super-stardom and Budenholzer has everyone playing their role to a T. They ranked top-3 in both offensive and defensive efficiency this season, the first time that’s been done since the 2015 and 2017 Warriors – both of which won titles.
They also match up well with Golden State. And, of course, they have a mental edge after embarrassing the Warriors by 23 points in Oracle Arena in November.
The Bucks would also have home-court advantage in a potential Finals matchup – Golden State has never not had home-court during their four-year Finals run. Milwaukee went 33-8 at home this season, second best behind Denver, and won their first two at home in the postseason.
Expect the Bucks to run through the Eastern Conference – they’re +105 to advance to the Finals – and having done so in much easier fashion than whoever comes out of the West.
Giannis Great Value as Finals MVP
And if the Bucks were to pull off the upset and dethrone the Warriors, Antetokounmpo would be the no-brainer Finals MVP pick. In a potential series, he would be tasked with leading the Bucks in every major category while also defending Kevin Durant, winner of the past two Finals MVPs.
Like the Bucks, Antetokounmpo has excellent value as a Finals MVP winner at +560 with PointsBet.