Nets vs Bucks Preview & Free Pick [October 19th 2021]

Brooklyn (0-0) at Milwaukee (0-0)
When: Tuesday, October 19th, 2021
Where: Fiserv Forum,
Milwaukee, WI
Time: 7:30 ET | TV: TNT
Opening Odds: Pickem/240.5

The 2021-22 NBA season is upon us and it begins where it ended on July 20th – Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A Championship banner and rings will be handed out when the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks host the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night. These teams have played 10 times this calendar year with the home team winning every time – until No. 10. The Bucks eliminated the Nets in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals and went onto claim their first title in 50 years when they took care of the Phoenix Suns in six games. Milwaukee’s roster remains relatively unchanged as they go for back-to-back championships this season.

Standing in their way on opening night are the betting favorites. Brooklyn brings back their three-headed monster of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, who rarely played together due to various injury and Covid issues. This year will start the same way with Irving not playing because he refuses to get vaccinated. New York City regulations stipulate Irving must be vaccinated to play home games. He could still play on the road, but the team doesn’t want him being a part-time player. The Nets lost all fives games played in Milwaukee last season but are 1.5-point favorites on opening night with a total of 237.5.

During last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, Durant averaged 35.4 points including 48 in Game 7 and a triple-double in Game 5 to extend the series. Irving missed the final three games of the series because of an ankle injury and that’s when Durant took over. Harden also missed three games with a hamstring injury and was limited when he did play. Without Irving to start the season, the Nets will probably let Harden run the point much like he did in Houston. Free-agent addition Patty Mills can also help fill Irving’s roll. Mills averaged 10.8 points, 2.4 assists and shot 37.5 percent from 3-point range for the San Antonio Spurs. The Nets also picked up Paul Millsap in free agency, and retained Blake Griffin along with Bruce Brown, who will replace Irving in the starting lineup.

Donte DiVincenzo, who missed the playoff run during the summer, is back healthy once again. The only offseason loss from their playoff rotation is P.J. Tucker, who signed with the Miami Heat. Back are the core of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. Antetokounmpo averaged 35.2 points and 13.2 rebounds while shooting 61.8 percent from the field in the Finals after missing two games in the Eastern Conference finals with a hyperextended left knee. Against the Nets, he averaged 31.9 points and 12.9 rebounds on 57.4 percent shooting including 40 points in the Game 7 loss. The Bucks next game will be Thursday at the Miami Heat.

There will be a lot of emotion in the building tonight and the Bucks are ready to defend their title against their stiffest competition. I’m a little surprised that the Nets are favored in this game, so I’m going the other way with the Bucks on opening night.

Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free NBA Picks page for today.

Pick: Bucks +1.5