The Denver Nuggets and Nikola Jokic have a chance to make a statement, and gain some ground in the Western Conference, when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.
With the Minnesota Timberwolves facing the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday, someone has to lose, which could certainly boost Denver’s spot in the standings – with a win, of course.
Milwaukee is going to be playing its first game under new head coach Doc Rivers, and the team is hoping Rivers can improve what has been a terrible defense so far this season.
Still, the Bucks are 32-14 and hold the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
With Denver set as a slight favorite at Ball Arena, how should we bet on this matchup?
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Bucks vs. Nuggets odds, spread and total
Bucks vs. Nuggets how to watch
- Date: Monday, Jan. 29
- Time: 9:00 p.m. EST
- Venue: Ball Arena
- How to watch (TV): Bally Sports, Altitude
- Bucks record: 32-14
- Nuggets record: 32-15
Bucks vs. Nuggets injury reports
Bucks injury report
- Giannis Antetokounmpo – probable
- TyTy Washington – out
Nuggets injury report
- Vlatko Cancar – out
- Braxton Key – out
- Julian Strawther – out
- Collin Gillespie – out
Bucks vs. Nuggets key players to watch
Damian Lillard: The key for the Bucks winning this season? It lies with Lillard. The guard was named an All-Star starter this season, and the bucks are 27-5 in games where he’s scored 20 or more points. They are just 5-9 when he fails to reach that mark. Lillard will have a tough matchup against Nuggets defensive ace Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on Monday.
Jamal Murray: A similar trend to Lillard can be said for Murray, as Denver is 14-2 when the star guard scores 20 or more points. The Bucks’ defense has been a disaster this season, and it’s possible that Murray is able to get going early. Milwaukee allows 26.45 points per game to opposing point guards this season.
Bucks vs. Nuggets prediction and pick
I love the Nuggets at home, where they have dominated straight up this season.
The Bucks are entering a new era with Rivers at the helm, but the team is one of the worst squads in the NBA to bet on when on the road, going just 8-12 against the spread this season.
Milwaukee’s defense is a massive concern when facing an offense like Denver’s, and the Nuggets did dominate the Bucks in Denver last season.
With this spread sitting at just four points, I have a hard time backing the Bucks to cover when Denver is 18-4 straight up at home with an average margin of victory of 9.8 points per game.
Until we see Milwaukee’s defense improve, it’s going to be a team to fade against some of the elite squads in the league.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.