The Milwaukee Bucks (9-4) were the favorites to come out of the East entering the season but will face the trendy new choice to supplant them when they host the Brooklyn Nets (8-6) on Monday. Reigning two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the streaking Bucks have put a slow start behind them and are in search of their fifth consecutive victory. Antetokounmpo will see plenty of star power on the opposing bench after the Nets acquired 2018 MVP James Harden to put alongside standouts Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Irving, however, is expected to sit out at least one more game after missing the last six for personal reasons and health and safety protocols.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET. William Hill Sportsbook lists Milwaukee as a three-point favorite, up one point from the opening Nets vs. Bucks odds, while the over-under is 239.5. Before finalizing any Bucks vs. Nets 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 67-38 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.
- Bucks vs. Nets spread: Milwaukee -3
- Bucks vs. Nets over-under: 239.5 points
- Bucks vs. Nets money line: Milwaukee -150, Brooklyn +130
- MIL: Bucks rank second in NBA in point differential (+10.7)
- BKN: 2-1 this season ATS when listed as the underdog
Why the Nets can cover
The Nets paid a hefty ransom to acquire Harden from Houston as part of a four-team blockbuster trade, giving up four players and a boatload of draft picks for the 2018 NBA MVP. Harden was not even cleared to play until hours before Saturday's game but wasted no time endearing himself to his teammates and Brooklyn's fan base. Running the offense with ease, he finished with 32 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds.
The league's scoring champion in each of the past three seasons, Harden's presence provided plenty of open looks for his teammates. Durant can score at will no matter who is on the floor and he turned in his best performance with Brooklyn, scoring a season-high 42 points on 16-of-26 shooting. Over his past four games, Durant is averaging 34.5 points while shooting a blistering 59 percent.
Why the Bucks can cover
Khris Middleton is providing ample offensive support for Antetokounmpo, averaging a career-best 21.8 points. He has scored at least 20 points in five of his last six games and sparked the Bucks in Friday's narrow victory over Dallas. Middleton scored eight of his 25 points over the final 2 1/2 minutes to go with eight rebounds and six assists -- the third time in four games he had six assists.
Milwaukee has the offense to keep pace with Brooklyn, ranking second in the league in scoring at 120.2 points per game. The Bucks can counter Brooklyn's firepower with the NBA's most efficient offense, which averages 117.9 points per 100 possessions. Milwaukee has dominated the series with the Nets, winning 16 of the last 20 matchups.
How to make Nets vs. Bucks picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, with the teams projected to combine for 235 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits well over 60 percent of the time. You can get that pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Bucks vs. Nets? And which side of the spread hits well over 60 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Bucks vs. Nets spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks.