The Milwaukee Bucks are one of the NBA betting line favorites (+250, according to bet365) to win the 2019-20 NBA Championship. Led by reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, the Bucks have dominated the Eastern Conference all season long and are a virtual lock to finish with the best record not only in the East, but in the entire NBA. It’s safe to say Milwaukee owns a deep-enough roster to top what they did last season and lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time since the 1970-71 campaign.
First, let’s examine what the franchise has done during the regular season this term. Milwaukee posted a 53-12 record through 65 games, good for the best mark in the East by a wide margin — when the league stopped in March 11, Milwaukee held a 6.5-game lead over the second-placed, Toronto Raptors. They need just two wins to secure home-field advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs, something that could be huge considering they went a league-best 28-3 at Fiserv Forum. The Bucks have even been one of the top NBA picks against the spread this season winning 55% of their games against the line (36-29).
The playoffs are a completely different thing, though. You need experience. You need reliable playmakers. You need depth, a competent head coach and a few players that can carry your team when things get complicated. Luckily for the Bucks, they have all those things and a few more. Antetokounmpo is the league’s reigning MVP and, despite LeBron James’ incredible season, “The Greek Freak” shouldn’t have problems to win this award for the second straight year. During the 2019-20 season, Antetokounmpo averaged 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.0 block in only 30.9 minutes per game. The points and rebounds per game were career-best marks for him, while the minutes per game were a career-low for him since he became a full-time starter in 2014-15.
The supporting cast has everything you would need within a Championship team. A second star player in Khris Middleton (who averages a career-best 21.1 points per game while 41.8 percent from three-point range), experienced veterans (George Hill, Marvin Williams, the Lopez brothers), three-point specialists (Middleton, Hill, Kyle Korver) and, most importantly, balance. The Bucks could easily floor a rotation of nine to 10 players during the playoffs without sacrificing their quality. That kind of depth could prove to be very valuable come postseason time.
The odds are clearly in Milwaukee’s favor, both in terms of NBA public betting as well as their realistic chances of going all the way. If Antetokounmpo stays as dominant as he was during the regular season, if the supporting cast holds up under pressure and if a few breaks go their way during the playoffs, then it’s hard to imagine any team in the league stopping the Bucks on their way towards the franchise’s second title.
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