Milwaukee (0-0) at Houston (0-0)
When: Thursday, October 24th, 2019
Where: Toyota Center,
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: TNT
Opening Odds: Houston -2.5/229.5
The Milwaukee Bucks had the best record in the NBA last season and went into the postseason as the favorites in the Eastern Conference. Well, Kawahi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors had different ideas and the Bucks bowed-out in the conference finals and come into 2019-20 very hungry. After going 5-0 in the preseason, the Bucks get a big test right off the bat with a visit to the Houston Rockets as part of Thursday night’s TNT double-header. League MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is back and ready to lead his Milwaukee teammates to the next level. The Rockets were one of several teams to make a big splash in the offseason, shipping away veteran point guard Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook. The former MVP will team with another MVP in James Harden to form the most feared backcourt in the league. The Rockets season ended last year with yet another playoff loss to the Golden State Warriors and they believe the move to get Westbrook will ultimately put them atop of the Western Conference. Milwaukee took both meetings last season with Antetokounmpo averaging 23 points and 17.5 rebounds.
Milwaukee brings back four of the five starters from last year’s squad including swingman Khris Middleton, who signed a five-year, $178 million contract. Key reserves Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez are also back, but the former is dealing with a rib injury and is questionable for Thursday’s opener. Milwaukee’s offseason additions include Lopez’s brother, Robin, and veteran guards Kyle Korver and Wesley Matthews. Korver and Matthews will help the Bucks on what they were lacking in last year’s playoffs – long range shooting.
With two former MVPs on the court at the same time, and both used to having the ball most of the time, the trick for head coach Mike D’Antoni will be to keep them both happy. Shooting guard Eric Gordon should get some better looks with defenses now having to concentrate on Harden and Westbrook. Gordon finished last season with his second-worst shooting percentage of his career (40.9) but still averaged 16.2 points per game. Veterans PJ Tucker, Nene, Tyson Chandler and Clint Capela give the Rockets a solid frontcourt and defensive presence. Shooting guard Gerald Green, who averaged 20.2 minutes per contest in 73 games last season, could miss the season due to a Lisfranc injury.
Harden and Westbrook are terrific – no doubt – but they might need a little time to build chemistry with each other and the rest of the team. Milwaukee, however, is ready to get back to the playoffs and beyond. I’ll take the Bucks here.
Pick: Bucks +2
Bucks are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up win.
Bucks are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS win.
Bucks are 24-8-1 ATS in their last 33 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points.
Bucks are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. Western Conference.
Bucks are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 Thursday games.
Bucks are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. NBA Southwest.
Bucks are 18-8 ATS in their last 26 road games.
Bucks are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
Bucks are 6-14-1 ATS in their last 21 games playing on 3 or more days rest.
Bucks are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
Bucks are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
Rockets are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points.
Rockets are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. Eastern Conference.
Rockets are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games following a straight up win.
Rockets are 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 home games.
Rockets are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
Rockets are 13-5 ATS in their last 18 games overall.
Rockets are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games following a ATS win.
Rockets are 18-37-1 ATS in their last 56 games after scoring more than 125 points in their previous game.
Rockets are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 vs. NBA Central.
Rockets are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 125 points in their previous game.
Under is 6-0 in Bucks last 6 games playing on 3 or more days rest.
Over is 8-2 in Bucks last 10 road games.
Over is 9-3 in Bucks last 12 vs. Western Conference.
Over is 11-4 in Bucks last 15 games following a straight up win.
Over is 13-5 in Bucks last 18 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
Under is 5-2 in Bucks last 7 Thursday games.
Over is 12-5 in Bucks last 17 vs. NBA Southwest.
Over is 9-4 in Bucks last 13 games following a ATS win.
Under is 4-0-1 in Rockets last 5 games following a straight up win.
Under is 5-1-1 in Rockets last 7 vs. Eastern Conference.
Over is 3-1-1 in Rockets last 5 overall.
Under is 3-1-2 in Rockets last 6 games after scoring more than 125 points in their previous game.
Under is 9-3 in Rockets last 12 games playing on 3 or more days rest.
Under is 12-4 in Rockets last 16 Thursday games.
Over is 3-1-1 in Rockets last 5 home games.
Over is 3-1-1 in Rockets last 5 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
Over is 6-2 in Rockets last 8 vs. NBA Central.
Over is 3-1-1 in Rockets last 5 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
Under is 18-7-2 in Rockets last 27 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
Bucks are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.