Two of the best teams in the league meet up to get the Thursday NBA schedule underway at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Milwaukee Bucks host the Los Angeles Lakers, with high-end star power on display for both teams. The Bucks are 9-5 this season, including a 6-1 mark at home, and they are looking to bounce back from a road loss to the Brooklyn Nets earlier this week. The Lakers are also aiming to avenge a recent loss, and Los Angeles is unbeaten at 7-0 on the road this season. LeBron James (ankle) is officially listed as questionable to play, with Anthony Davis (ankle) listed as probable for Thursday's game.
The latest Lakers vs. Bucks odds from William Hill Sportsbook list Milwaukee as a two-point favorite, up a point from the opener. The over-under for total points expected is set at 228.5. Before making any Bucks vs. Lakers picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it returned over $5,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks last season. The model is up nearly $8,100 over the past two-plus seasons. Dating back to last season, it is also on a stunning 68-39 roll on top-rated picks against the spread, returning almost $2,500 on those selections alone. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Lakers vs. Bucks spread: Bucks -2
- Lakers vs. Bucks over-under: 228.5 points
- Lakers vs. Bucks money line: Bucks -130, Lakers +110
- LAL: The Lakers are 5-2 against the spread in 2020-21 road games
- MIL: The Bucks are 4-3 against the spread in 2020-21 home games
Why the Lakers can cover
Led by top-tier star power, the Lakers are excellent on both ends. Los Angeles leads the NBA in defense, giving up only 104.6 points per 100 possessions, and the Lakers are No. 2 in the NBA in defensive rebound rate (76.7 percent), free throw rate allowed and blocked shots per game (6.5). Frank Vogel's team also lands in the top five in shooting efficiency allowed, and the Lakers contest shots at an elite level.
On the offensive side, the Lakers are scoring almost 1.15 points per possession, a top-five figure in the NBA. Los Angeles also ranks in the top six in both effective field goal percentage (55.8 percent) and true shooting percentage (58.8), with the ability to create efficient looks on a regular basis. The Lakers can also use physicality to create second-chance opportunities, as Los Angeles ranks near the top of the league in grabbing 28.4 percent of their own missed shots on the offensive glass.
Why the Bucks can cover
Milwaukee is in strong form right now, led by a trio of star-quality players. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the reigning NBA MVP, and he is averaging 27.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game this season. Antetokounmpo also anchors the defense alongside Jrue Holiday, with the newly-acquired guard averaging 15.7 points, 5.1 assists and 2.0 steals per game. From there, Khris Middleton is one of the more efficient perimeter scorers in the NBA, averaging 22.1 points per game and shooting 53 percent from the floor and 44 percent from 3-point distance.
Those three players key a team with strongly above-average metrics on both sides of the floor, including the No. 1 offense in the NBA on a per-possession basis. Milwaukee will have its hands full with the reigning champions, but the Bucks have strengths to rely on both offensively and defensively in this game.
How to make Lakers vs. Bucks picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, with the teams projected to combine for 219 points. The model also says one side of the spread has all the value. You can get that pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Bucks vs. Lakers? And which side of the spread has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Bucks vs. Lakers spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks.