The Mavs and the Bucks will square off tonight in Dallas, with the Bucks sweating over the fitness of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Dallas (28-22, 12-10 home) suffered a shocking loss to the Rockets last night, but you have to consider that to be “just one of those games”. The Mavs have been in deadly form recently, recovering after a poor start to the season and climbing up to the 7th spot in the West. They had a 5 game winning streak prior to their surprising loss in Houston.
The Bucks (32-18, 14-11 away) have missed two time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in their last two games, and it showed. They played two thrillers against inferior teams, both decided by one point: a win vs the Kings and a loss to the Warriors. Giannis is listed as doubtful tonight, which means that he’s likely to miss a third straight game.
Injury report: The Mavs will be without Cauley-Stein, while Kleber, Reddick and Burke are questionable. The expectation is that Kleber will play and the other two won’t, which would be a win for the Mavs. The Bucks only have Tucker questionable aside from the issue with Giannis, but the potential absence of Giannis would be a game changer on its own.
Listen, the current odds are clearly impacted by the uncertainty over Giannis, but it’s probable that he will miss the game, a case in which odds on Dallas would drop. If Giannis is out, betting on Dallas now is a clear value bet, and they should win if the Bucks don’t have him. We’re talking about the two time reigning MVP, and Milwaukee is not the same team without him, as we could see recently.
If this gamble doesn’t pay off and Giannis ends up playing, value would be lost, but the Mavs would still be in with a shot. At home, their chances against the Bucks would hover around 50%. These are two of the top teams in the league.
Dallas did play last night and it was a road game (although Houston is close), so that will work against them, but they are a young team and can handle back to backs. Also, given the atrocious performance last night, they will be eager to bounce back – and the law of average says they should have a good game. For example, Richardson can’t be 0-9 from the floor again, right?
I’m taking Dallas here with the expectation that Giannis will not play, which would make me very happy with my bet. I think that the potential for value here is really high, so I’m going to risk
10/10 9/10 stakes. If Giannis does play, I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope I luck out in what should then be pretty much a 50-50 game. Prediction: Dallas Mavericks – Milwaukee Bucks 124 – 114.