It’s the penultimate day of the 2020 NBA regular season on Thursday and it looks like a mismatch when the Milwaukee Bucks face the Memphis Grizzlies. However, the East No. 1 Bucks have nothing to play for and the Grizzlies do. The NBA odds will depend on if the Bucks rest their starters.
How to Bet Bucks vs. Grizzlies NBA Odds & TV Info
- When: Thursday, 4 PM ET
- Where: ESPN World Wide of Sports Complex, Orlando
- TV: NBA League Pass
- Stream:com, NBA TV app
- NBA Odds: TBA (on which players rest/suspended)
The Bucks lead 1-0, winning 127-114 in Memphis on Dec. 13. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 17 of his 37 points in the final period to help Milwaukee pull away for its 17th straight victory at the time. The Bucks overcame Jaren Jackson Jr.’s career-high 43 points. He scored 26 in the third quarter, converting 7 of 11 3-pointers in the third alone, to give Memphis a 95-90 lead heading into the fourth. Khris Middleton added 26 points for the Bucks, while Eric Bledsoe finished with 12 before leaving in the third quarter with an injury. Memphis played without star rookie Ja Morant, who took the night off for injury maintenance on a balky back.Overall, the Bucks lead the series 24-22.Why Bet on Milwaukee?
The Bucks have clinched the top regular season record in the NBA for the second consecutive season. Milwaukee’s also on pace to finish the season with the second-best single season win percentage in franchise history. The Bucks have been dominating their opponents this season, outscoring them by a league-high 10.4 points per game. Milwaukee’s point differential not only leads the NBA this season but is in the top 10 for largest point differentials in NBA history.
The Bucks are only 3-4 in the bubble, though, after Tuesday’s 126-113 win over Washington. Brook Lopez led the Bucks with 24 points, three rebounds and hit 9-of-11 shots and 5-of-5 3-pointers.
However, the big news was Giannis being ejected for head butting Moe Wagner in the second quarter. He’s likely in line for a suspension for Thursday’s game against the Grizzlies. He finished Tuesday’s game with 12 points, nine rebounds and a steal in just 10 minutes.
Based on historical precedent, Antetokounmpo is likely to draw a one-game suspension for this headbutt. Hasheem Thabeet (2013) and Kevin Garnett (2015) both headbutted opposing players and were suspended for their team’s next game. In relation to why he reacted that way, the reigning MVP said that he was responding to what he felt was a build-up of emotion over the course of the game.
“Terrible action,” Antetokounmpo said after. “If I could go back and turn back time and go back to that play, I wouldn’t do it. But at the end of the day, we’re all human, we all make mistakes.”Why Bet on Memphis?
Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins spent the previous six seasons under Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer as an assistant coach for the Bucks (2018-19) and Atlanta Hawks (2013-18) before coming to Memphis.
The Grizzlies are a Western Conference-worst 1-6 in the bubble but would earn a spot in the Western Conference play-in game via a few routes. They would earn the No. 8 seed with a win and Portland loss on Thursday and the No. 9 seed with a win or losses by the Suns and Spurs on Thursday.
Memphis comes off a 122-107 loss to Boston on Tuesday. Rookie star Ja Morant hit 7-of-13 shots, a 3-pointer and 11-of-15 free throws for 26 points, four rebounds, 13 assists, a steal and two blocks in 42 minutes. Morant’s 13 dimes marked his best assist total of bubble play as well as his highest scoring total.
Morant just turned 21 and only four players in NBA history have averaged at least 17 points per game and seven assists per game while posting an eFG% of over 50 percent before their age-21 season: Morant, Magic Johnson (1979-80), LeBron James (2003-04) and Luka Dončić (2019-20). Only six other rookies in NBA history have averaged at least 17 points and seven assists per game: Oscar Robertson (1960-61), Magic (1979-80), Isiah Thomas (1981-82), Damon Stoudamire (1995-96), Allen Iverson (1996-97) and Trae Young (2018-19).
Brandon Clarke added 15 points and six boards off the bench on Tuesday and Jonas Valanciunas and Dillon Brooks each scored 14. Valanciunas has played well in the bubble, averaging 13.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, and at least a blocked shot per game.
Morant and his fellow starters will almost assuredly play their normal workload Thursday as they try to sneak into the playoff bracket. The Grizz are without arguably their second-best player, though, in Jaren Jackson Jr. He suffered a torn meniscus last week and is done for the 2019-20 season.Expert PredictionBucks 117, Grizzlies 110