Milwaukee’s ATS Record Shows How Much Oddsmakers Respect Them

They've lost 16 more games against the spread than they have straight-up

Wikimedia Commons
  • After 57 games, the Milwaukee Bucks have already secured a playoff berth, breaking the Golden State Warriors’ record for fastest record to clinch a playoff spot.

  • Despite the Bucks currently holding the best record in the NBA at 49-8, they’ve gone 33-24 against the spread and 17-12 ATS as a home favorite.

  • DraftKings Sportsbook currently has the Bucks at +240 to win the NBA Championship and -150 to win the Eastern Conference.

  • Even with the best record in the NBA, the Bucks leading scorer, Giannis Antetokoumpo is 74th in the league in minutes per game, showing that “load management” has been in play for Milwaukee all season. 

BY THE NUMBERS

It’s been a remarkable season for the Eastern Conference leading Milwaukee Bucks. They lead the NBA in wins, winning percentage, and point differential at +12.4. On February 23rd, they became the fastest team in NBA history to secure a spot in the NBA playoffs with 26 games left to go! As a result, the betting public has taken notice and jumped on board for the ride, leading sportsbooks to have to adjust the betting lines to attempt to collect as evenly as possible. Despite a 49-8 record straight up this year, Milwaukee has gone 33-24 (as of Tuesday, February 24th) against the spread, and 17-12 at Fiserv Forum, where they’ve been a favorite in all 29 contests. Even crazier is that the Bucks have only played two games this season where they’ve been an underdog all season long, finishing 1-1-0 in those games.

HOW THIS IMPACTS THE MARKET

What we know is that oddsmakers have all the respect in the world for not just the Bucks’ current success, but their projected future as well. According to Draftkings, the Bucks are currently listed at +240 to take home the NBA Championship, ahead of both the Los Angeles Lakers (+300) and Clippers (+330), and Milwaukee is the clear-cut victory to win the Eastern Conference at -150. But how will a guaranteed playoff spot and a current 6.5-game lead over second place Toronto with 25 games left to go impact the Bucks betting market? The likely answer is: not much.

If you’ve been following the Bucks all season, you’ll notice that their top players are not even playing close to league average minutes for stars in the NBA. Antetokoumpo is averaging just under 31 minutes a game to lead the Bucks this year. That number is only tied for 74th in the NBA for minutes per contest. Their second leading scorer, Kris Middleton, is averaging 29.7 min/game, good for 96th. While many competing teams will be faced with the decision of load management vs playing extra minutes to compete for playoff positioning, the one constant throughout the season is the Bucks haven’t had to worry about that issue and have still built up the largest division and conference lead in the league.

LOOKING AHEAD

Bucks backers should continue to feel confident in the team’s ability to cover the spread at nearly a 60% clip, at least until they’ve secured the overall number one spot in the East. After all, the Bucks have only lost ATS twice in the month of February. Ultimately, until more teams dictate that they can start to consistently beat the Bucks and cover the spread, the right side will continue to be Milwaukee’s side. It will be fascinating to see if they take their feet off the gas once they lock up the No. 1 seed, but until then, they’re a fantastic team to bet on every time they step on the floor.