Los Angeles Lakers vs Milwaukee Bucks Preview: Lakers Look to Start Road Trip With Win in Milwaukee

By | November 17, 2021

The two most recent NBA champions face off tonight in Milwaukee as the Bucks welcome the Lakers to Fiserv Forum. Both teams are off to disappointing starts, which can be partially attributed to the absence of key players. The Bucks get their missing asset back tonight, while the Lakers could get theirs back on Friday.

The Bucks have been without guard Khris Middleton for the last eight games. In that time, the reigning champs have gone just 3-5. Tonight’s game marks Middleton’s return to action, and it also marks a return home following a five-game road trip. That should be a positive prospect, but the Bucks have not fared well at Fiserv early on.

The Lakers have been without LeBron James for their last seven games and nine games overall this season. In this current stretch without LeBron, the Lakers are 3-4. LeBron isn’t back tonight, but he could be back on Friday when the Lakers lock horns with the Celtics.

Neither team is covering themselves in glory on the defensive end so far. Should we expect a high-scoring game tonight in Milwaukee?

Los Angeles Lakers (8-7) vs Milwaukee Bucks (6-8), ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET

Los Angeles Lakers vs Milwaukee Bucks NBA Betting Odds

Spread

  • Los Angeles Lakers +9 (-110)
  • Milwaukee Bucks -9 (-110)

Total

  • OVER 222.5 (-110)
  • UNDER 222.5 (-110)

Moneyline

  • Los Angeles Lakers +330
  • Milwaukee Bucks -420

Los Angeles Lakers vs Milwaukee Bucks betting odds are via FanDuel Sportsbook as of Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 3:15 p.m. ET. To compare NBA betting odds from several top online sportsbooks, check out our NBA odds.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Milwaukee Bucks NBA Betting Picks

Check out our Los Angeles Lakers vs Milwaukee Bucks NBA betting picks, betting stats, and other matchup info here: Los Angeles Lakers vs Milwaukee Bucks Matchup: NBA Betting Picks, Odds, Stats and More

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Los Angeles Lakers vs Milwaukee Bucks Preview

Lakers Continue Inconsistent Results Without LeBron

This five-game road trip is the Lakers’ first extended stretch away from Staples Center (which I will be calling Staples Center even after its impending name change). That may not be a bad thing, due to the mediocre results of their early mass of home games. With or without LeBron, 7-5 at home isn’t ideal.

Prior to taking to the skies for this swing, the Lakers finished up a 3-2 homestand with a 121-103 loss to the Chicago Bulls. They were playing catch-up from the opening minutes, and after closing within six early in the third, any hopes of a comeback were extinguished by a 16-5 run.

The Lakers had no answer for DeMar Derozan and Zach LaVine, who combined for 64 points. But few teams so far have had an answer for that duo, if that is any consolation. Former Laker Lonzo Ball helped take the game away from his former team in the second half, scoring 21 of his 27 points in the final two quarters.

If there was a bright spot to take from the loss, it’s the play of Talen Horton-Tucker. THT had 17 in his season debut on Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs, and he followed that with a career-high 28 points in Monday’s loss. He was the only Laker to have any success from the perimeter, making four of nine from deep.

Talen Horton-Tucker NBA Betting Props vs Milwaukee Bucks

  • Points: OVER 15.5 (-106), UNDER 15.5 (-116)
  • To Score 20 Points: +245
  • Points + Rebounds: OVER 19.5 (-118), UNDER 19.5 (-108)

Speaking of the three, the Lakers could do with more consistency in that area. Monday was the sixth time already this season that they were under 30 percent from three. Last season, it took them 27 games to hit that number.

Scoring without LeBron on the court has not been the same issue that it was last season when the Lakers were without him, Anthony Davis, or both. But efficiency is a concern. The Lakers are second in the NBA in pace (102.3 possessions per 48 minutes), but they are 24th in offensive rating (points per 100 possessions).

It would help if Carmelo Anthony could break a mini-slump. He’s certainly been counted on more than might have been expected initially, and on the whole, he is off to a fine start. But over the last four games, he has made only 20 percent (4 of 20) of his threes and has a high of 15 points. In his first 11 games, he averaged 17.6 points per game, but he’s at 9.8 per game over his last four games.

Defense continues to be a big issue. The Lakers are 27th in the NBA in scoring defense (112.5 points allowed per game), and Monday’s loss was the ninth time that they have allowed 115 or more. When scoring is down across the league, that is a rather glaring issue for an expected title contender. Last season, it took 32 games for them to allow 115 or more nine times.

Will Middleton’s Return Bring Immediate Benefits for the Bucks?

The Bucks are similarly struggling on the defensive end, as they rank 22nd in the NBA in scoring defense (109.8 points allowed per game). They return to the friendly confines after allowing 120+ points to the Boston Celtics (in overtime) and Atlanta Hawks in losses on Friday and Sunday.

Being at home should be a boost, but the Bucks haven’t exactly lit it up there so far. In their five home games, they have been held under 100 points three times. They are 1-4 at Fiserv, with losses to the Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Middleton’s return should help that. Prior to being ruled out due to COVID, Middleton was struggling with his shot, shooting only 25.7 percent (9 of 35) in six games. But his shot will come around, just as it is starting to come around for Damian Lillard.

If it does, we should see the Bucks look more like themselves soon enough. Middleton’s return gives the Bucks their #2 scoring option behind Giannis, so that is an obvious boost. And with the distraction of another dangerous shooter on the court, it should theoretically free up Grayson Allen to continue his hot start. Allen has nailed four or more threes in each of his last four games and eight times this season.

Grayson Allen NBA Betting Props vs Los Angeles Lakers

  • Points: OVER 13.5 (-106), UNDER 13.5 (-116)
  • Made Threes: OVER 2.5 (-142), UNDER 2.5 (+112)
  • OVER 3.5 Made Threes: +182
  • Four or More Made Threes: +184
  • OVER 4.5 Made Threes: +410

The Lakers are in the bottom half of the league in defending the three, and they also rank in the bottom half of the league in perimeter attempts allowed per game. Ball (7 for 10), LaVine (6 for 13), and DeRozan (2 for 5) combined to torch them from deep on Monday. Middleton might have some rust to shake off tonight after his layoff, but the optimistic outlook is that he and Allen should have every chance to do similar damage.

I got burned last night on the Warriors vs Nets over thanks to the Nets going cold in the second half and things petering out with the game well in hand in the fourth quarter. But we’re going back to the well tonight in Milwaukee. It may feel a bit on the higher side, but both teams will do their part to get it over the line.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Milwaukee Bucks Best Bet: OVER 222.5

The post Los Angeles Lakers vs Milwaukee Bucks Preview: Lakers Look to Start Road Trip With Win in Milwaukee first appeared on Betting News.

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