The Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks will square off for the first time in 2020-21 season. To many, this will be viewed as a potential NBA Finals matchup. As it should, these are two teams many of us figured would be facing each other back in October in the NBA bubble. Instead, we’ll have to wait until this Summer for a potential series between LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, between Anthony Davis and Khris Middleton. The difference between this season and last is these two teams don’t appear to be on a collision course as of now.
After starting the season 2-3, the Bucks have won seven of nine games. They aren’t demolishing teams like we saw last season, however. Plus, three of those wins are against the Detroit Pistons, one against the Cleveland Cavaliers, another against the Orlando Magic. These aren’t exactly quality wins. So this will be a good test for the Bucks if LeBron James plays.
That’s the big question mark heading into Thursday night: Will James play? He’s almost always questionable heading into every game, so the initial thought is James will suit up on national TV against the reigning MVP. The Lakers are on a similar path as the Bucks, going 2-2 to start the season and winning 9-of-11 games since. Let’s take a look at the spread and make a few picks.
Check out all the NBA odds for Thursday night’s games over on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 7:30 p.m. ET TNT
Pick ATS: Lakers +1
As I alluded to above, the Bucks aren’t really playing tough competition and aren’t demolishing teams like last season. The Lakers on the other hand, are getting much more convincing wins over better teams while their superstars (apparently) deal with nagging injuries. L.A. has much more depth than Milwaukee and it doesn’t appear any of that depth will be tested with James and Anthony Davis likely to play.
The Lakers are a clean 7-0 on the road this season and haven’t dropped back-to-back games. Again, James is questionable, but as long as he ends up playing, the Lakers should be able to win this game. I imagine once that news is announced, the line could shift from the Lakers getting a point to possibly giving some points. Last season, you’d almost always have to take the Lakers getting points. In a toss up, same thing stands.
Player prop: Anthony Davis O36.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-121)
Last season, the Bucks played the Lakers twice in the regular season. Davis went over 30 points in each game and really dominated. This was while going up against the reigning MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. This game should be competitive given the spread and also could be low scoring. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If it’s close, you’d expected AD and LeBron to play heavier workloads. There’s also the off-chance James is ruled out and Davis props become very appealing. So getting in on some of these lines now makes some sense. You can just hedge a bit if James plays; I don’t think you need to, AD should be fine with or without him.
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