Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks welcome LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers to Wisconsin on Thursday in a matchup of 24-4 squads with NBA title aspirations. Much of the attention paid to the game before tip-off will be on the status of Anthony Davis, who is questionable with an ankle injury. Regardless, this is a matchup between two of the top teams in the NBA and the game will take place in a prime national television slot.
Tip-off is at 8 p.m. ET at Fiserv Forum. Sportsbooks list the Bucks as four-point home favorites, down half a point from the opening line, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 225 in the latest Lakers vs. Bucks odds. Before you make any Bucks vs. Lakers picks or NBA predictions, see what SportsLine's advanced computer model has to say.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and last season it returned a whopping $4,280 on its top-rated NBA spread and money line picks. It's already returned almost $800 in profit on all its top-rated NBA picks during the 2019-20 season and entered Week 8 on a blistering 16-7 run on all top-rated NBA against the spread picks. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Lakers vs. Bucks spread: Milwaukee -4
- Lakers vs. Bucks over-under: 225 points
- Lakers vs. Bucks money line: Milwaukee -195, Los Angeles +160
- LAL: Los Angeles has covered the spread in 5 of the last 7 games
- MIL: Milwaukee has covered the spread in 7 of the last 9 games
Why the Lakers can cover
The model knows that, while the Lakers' extended road winning streak came to an end earlier this week, Los Angeles has been potent away from Staples Center. Some of that undoubtedly emanates from the presence of James, who is still operating as one of the game's best players. James helps to engineer a top-five offense at the point of attack and he is flanked by competent role players and a cohesive system.
Davis is the team's second superstar and a handful on his own but, if he is not able to play as a result of his ankle injury, the Lakers can take solace in having James and a strong defensive game plan. Los Angeles employs defense-first role players and they should be able to close possessions with strong defensive rebounding. Considering the offensive glass is a weakness for the Bucks overall, that is an advantage for the Lakers that can be exploited.
Why the Bucks can cover
The model knows that the Bucks, at full strength, are perhaps the best team in the NBA and everything begins with Antetokounmpo. The reigning NBA MVP is providing a proper encore to his performance last season, averaging 31.7 points, 12.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game for the Bucks. Antetokounmpo is also a terror defensively and, even in a game that features James and the potential for Davis, Milwaukee shouldn't be overwhelmed from a talent standpoint.
Beyond that, the Bucks are the only team in the NBA with top-three units on both ends of the floor, scoring with high-end efficiency and stifling opponents with an elite defense. The absence of Eric Bledsoe (fibula) is noteworthy but, with the Lakers also short-handed, the Bucks are in prime position to pick up their 25th victory of the season if they can perform up to their normal baseline.
How to make Lakers vs. Bucks picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, and it also says one side of the spread hits in over 50 percent of simulations.
So who wins Lakers vs. Bucks? And which side of the spread hits in over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Bucks vs. Lakers spread you need to jump on Thursday, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks, and find out.