It’s the first game between top-seeded Denver and third-place Milwaukee this season. Together, Nikola Jokić and Giannis Antetokounmpo account for the league’s last four MVPs and they’re both making their case to win the award for a third time this season. Jokić leads the all-time head-to-head series against Antetokounmpo, 8–4.
Both players returned from injuries this week to lead their respective teams to victory. Antetokounmpo (knee) missed five games in a row before he returned Monday night for a 150-130 road win in Detroit. And Jokić (hamstring) missed the two games prior to Tuesday night’s game in New Orleans, which Denver won 99-98 on a go-ahead bucket from Jokić.
Bobby Portis (knee) has been ruled out for the Bucks and Michael Porter Jr. (personal) and Bones Hyland (finger) are both questionable for the Nuggets. Given that Milwaukee is such a sizable favorite, there’s certainly a chance additional injury news comes in. Specifically, keep tabs on the status of Jokić as this is a back-to-back and he just returned from an injury absence to play 36 minutes, his most in January.
Denver Nuggets vs. Milwaukee Bucks Odds
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Spread: Nuggets +8.5 (-110) | Bucks -8.5 (-110)
Moneyline: DEN (+260) | MIL (-333)
Total: 232.5 — Over (-110) | Under (-110)
Nuggets Betting Profile
Straight-Up Record: 34–14
Against The Spread Record: 24–23–1
Over/Under Record: 22–26
Points Per Game (Rank): 116.9 (7)
Points Allowed Per Game (Rank): 112.6 (13)
Bucks Betting Profile
Straight-Up Record: 30–17
Against The Spread Record: 25–19–3
Over/Under Record: 24–23
Points Per Game (Rank): 113.2 (18)
Points Allowed Per Game (Rank): 111.8 (7)
Spread Bet: Nuggets +8.5 (-1110)
This is the second-most points Denver has gotten in a game all season and it’s gone 6–3 as an underdog against the spread (ATS) on the year. Milwaukee also hasn’t played its best basketball this month, and a blowout against Detroit doesn’t do much to change that. Granted, Antetokounmpo was out for a stretch but the Bucks are 21st in the league in net rating in January, while the Nuggets are first.
Each team employs one of the most uniquely unguardable superstars in the game right now, so much of this matchup will come down to Jokić vs. Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee’s supporting cast might be a bit shorthanded with Portis out, but Khris Middleton returned Monday, which is good news. Denver could very well have everyone active, but it’s still unknown as of Wednesday morning. Either way, this is a lot of points for a team that’s 13–3 since Christmas.
Over/Under Bet: Over 232.5 (-110)
Bucks’ home games hit the over nearly 70% of the time, the highest rate in the NBA. And even though the under is more common in Nuggets’ games, the over is 12–10 when they’re on the road. That Denver has failed to breach 100 points in back-to-back games is not encouraging for these teams to combine for 233 points or more, but it’s a bit more palatable when you consider Milwaukee has scored 130 twice in its last four games and hit 150 last time out.
The Nuggets are the most efficient three-point shooting team in the NBA and the Bucks are a bit more of a volume play, attempting the fourth-most in the league. Again, keep an eye on the injury report—Denver’s scoring average is down more than eight points per game in six games without Jokić this season.
Prop Bet: Giannis Antetokounmpo Over 12.5 Rebounds (-137)
This is a high total for anyone to clear, even the league’s second-leading rebounder. But there’s reason to believe Antetokounmpo can corral 13 or more rebounds in this matchup, enough so to take this wager at these odds.
He averages 11.9 boards this season and 12.5 so far in January. In his last 10 games, he’s hit this total five times and recorded 20 or more rebounds three times. The Nuggets are sixth in rebounding differential but the Bucks are one of the few teams that are ahead of them. And Milwaukee’s second-leading rebounder, Portis, is out for this contest, so even more responsibility will fall to Antetokounmpo.
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