Milwaukee Bucks vs. Denver Nuggets NBA Preview

bucks nuggetsNBA Odds: Bucks (even)

The Milwaukee Bucks (30-23) take on the visiting Denver Nuggets (20-33) at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The game gets underway at 8:30 pm ET on Friday, Feb. 20 and will air on Altitude2 and FSN-WI.

The Bucks beat the Kings 111-103 the last time they played. O.J. Mayo led all scorers with 21 points on 6-for-14 shooting. The Nuggets, meanwhile, are coming off a 106-96 win over the Lakers in their last outing. Ty Lawson played well and claimed his 22nd double-double of the season, accumulating 32 points and 16 assists.

Over the last five games, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been playing at a high level for the Bucks. During that stretch, he has averaged 18.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.2 blocks. Lawson has also been on a tear in the same span, averaging 20.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, 11.2 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.6 three-pointers while leading the Nuggets.

Oddsmakers have deemed this game an even matchup and the Over/Under (O/U) is unavailable at the moment. The Bucks are attempting to build on their records of 30-23 Straight Up (SU) and 34-19 Against The Spread (ATS). They have gone 10-10 SU and 12-8 ATS against teams from the Western Conference. The Bucks are an impressive shooting team with a .466 field-goal percentage, one of the highest marks in the NBA. Turning to the defensive side, teams routinely struggle to score points against the Bucks, who allow only 95.7 points per home game. Opposing offenses have been stifled by the Bucks, allowing a field goal percentage of only .435. Something to watch out for is if Milwaukee can force its opponents into turnovers and convert them into baskets. They’ve done an excellent job of that all year with an average of 19.1 points off turnovers per game. Denver has a habit of getting in foul trouble (23.1 fouls per game), so expect the Bucks to get a number of opportunities from the free throw line.

Across the court, Denver has a SU record of 20-33 and an ATS record of 20-30-3. In Eastern Conference games, Denver has gone 7-15 SU and 8-13-1 ATS. Denver is one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the NBA. The Nuggets average 12.0 offensive rebounds per game, making them the fifth-best team in the league for that category. Denver may be taking trips to the free throw line early and often with the Bucks averaging 22.3 fouls per game, one of the highest marks in the NBA.

The Bucks and the Nuggets will be facing off in their first head-to-head contest of the season. When they last met the Nuggets were winners, moving their SU record against the Bucks to 8-2 in their last 10 head-to-head meetings. Additionally, with a 6-4 record, the Nuggets have the advantage ATS. When it comes to field goals, rebounds, and three-pointers, Milwaukee and Denver each held the edge in all three of these categories once in the last 10 meetings.

Predictions: SU Winner – DEN, ATS Winner – DEN

Notes

Milwaukee ranks 19th in points per game with 99.2, while Denver ranks 26th in points allowed with an average of 104.1 given up.

On average, Milwaukee scores 98.9 points per home game (ranked 21st). Denver ranks 25th in points allowed per road game with 104.7.

When allowing fewer than 100 points, the Bucks are 22-6 on the season. When the Nuggets score fewer than 100, they are an abysmal 4-17.

When Milwaukee gives up at least 100 points, the team has a losing 8-17 record this season. The Nuggets are at 0.500 when they hit the century mark (16-16).

The Nuggets have a defensive rating of 104.6 (ranked 22nd). The Bucks rank 18th for their offensive rating of 101.8.

Milwaukee averages fewer possessions per game than Denver, with 97.4 compared to 99.6. However, the Bucks score an average of 1.018 points per possession, more than the 1.011 that the Nuggets score.

Milwaukee is among the top-ranked teams based on its average effective field goal percentage of 51.0% (ranked seventh in the NBA). Denver is an abysmal 2-20 when opponents have a similar or higher effective field goal percentage.

Milwaukee makes an average of 23.7 assists per game (ranked seventh), while Denver makes 21.6 assists per game (ranked 15th).

The Milwaukee Bucks average 4.8 blocks per game for a rank of 12th. The Denver Nuggets rank lower (13th), earning 4.7 blocks each game.

Milwaukee is ranked 25th when it comes to offensive rebounding. Denver ranks 10th in defensive rebounds.

Milwaukee averages 9.6 steals per game, ranking third in the league. Denver is a subpar 4-12 when it gives up at least 9 steals.

Aaron Ryan

Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.