The Detroit Pistons have lost three straight games and will now host the first-place team in the Central Divison, the Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee won the first two meetings between these teams and will be looking to get back in the win column tonight after losing to the Cavs in their last game. We’ll preview the game before going over my best bet for the action.
After going on a four-game losing skid at the end of December, the Bucks have gone 6-4 over their last ten games. Milwaukee has remained one of the better defensive teams in the league during that span, with a 114 defensive efficiency rating which was 12th in the league.
Over their previous ten games, opponents are shooting 45.4% from the field against the Bucks, the sixth lowest percentage in that span. Arguably the biggest problem recently for the Bucks comes on the offensive end, as over the last ten games, they ranked 21st in offensive efficiency rating and 19th in true shooting percentage.
A recent lack of rebounding on the offensive end has led to fewer second-chance points for Milwaukee. On the season, the Bucks are 8th in the league in offensive rebounding percentage, but over their last ten games, they are 21st in that category. The good news for them tonight is Detroit will be without their second-leading rebounder Isaiah Stewart due to an injury.
In their last ten games, the Pistons have managed to go 3-7, with two of their wins coming against the Timberwolves. During that span, their -8.3 NET rating is the third worst in the league, and their overall lack of offense and issues with turnovers have continued to plague them.
Getting out in transition has been one of the only areas of the Pistons’ offense that has been successful recently, as Detroit has been getting 14.7% of their scoring from fast break points which is the sixth-highest percentage in the league during the previous ten games. That success will be hard to replicate tonight, though, with Milwaukee only allowing an average of 12.5 fast break points per game as of late.
For my best bet in this one, I’ll be targeting the under of the first half-point total, which is set at 117.5. The under in the first half this season is 27-19 in Bucks games, and it is 16-7 when they play on the road. Milwaukee is 29th in the league in second-quarter scoring average this season, as they’ve scored 25 or fewer points in the second quarter in four of their last five games.
On the defensive end, the Bucks have the ability to dominate a Pistons' offense that ranks 27th in first-quarter scoring and 16th in second-quarter scoring. The Bucks have held opponents to a 51.9% effective field goal percentage this season which is the third lowest in the NBA and does not bode well for a Pistons team shooting 45.3% from the field this season.
In the two other games these teams have played against each other this season, they went under the point total by an average of 11.25 points, and tonight’s point total is set 13 points higher than those two games. Detroit has struggled mightily against the Bucks, and I expect that to continue tonight, especially in the first half.
1H Under 117.5 (Would play to 117)