NBA Odds: Bucks a tasty +350 price to win the East
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 49 against the Brooklyn Nets to show he's at the top of his game
20:55 Monday 10th May 2021 - 3 minute read
Are the Milwaukee Bucks more of a contender than pretender in the NBA? Our man Zach Rainey is starting to reassess the situation...
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a piece about how I thought the Brooklyn Nets were slated to win the NBA Finals and are still the favorite at +200.
But over the last week, we’ve seen the Milwaukee Bucks take Brooklyn’s best shot twice and still came out victorious.
In the first of the two games the teams would play against each other, Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant was as advertised. He scored 42 points on 16-of-33 from the field with 10 rebounds. But it wasn’t enough, as Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 49 points on 12-for-36 shooting.
What was perhaps the most shocking about the two games between the Eastern Conference front runners was that Giannis shot 40 percent from three over those two games.
There’s been times in his career where Giannis looked closer to Ben Simmons in terms of his long-range shooting than anything resembling a 40 percent 3-point shooter. His eight 3-pointers attempted were the most since literally the first game of the season, before hoisting 12 of them the following game, a season-high.
After the first game, Giannis took to Instagram to post the body he caught on Durant on a weakside lob.
Perhaps even more impressive than the dunk was the fact that Giannis was able to block Durant’s shot and force him into heavily contested shots. Durant is known for people not being able to block his shot. I think Giannis enjoys it and wants a series where he has the chance to go at the superstar.
Giannis has taken home the Most Valuable Player award, so I don’t think it’s something that he’s trying to prove to outsiders, I think it’s something he wants to prove to himself, and those are the scariest competitors.
The Bucks are currently +350 to win the Eastern Conference. I realize that the Nets were without key playmaker James Harden and that will be one more heavy scorer that the Bucks will have to match up with when the time comes, but I like this Bucks team.
Jrue Holiday knows how frustrating it can be going against a super team. When the New Orleans Pelicans upset the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs back in 2018 and went on to face the Golden State Warriors in the following round, Holiday was tasked with guarding Durant in crucial moments. Only problem was that Durant was able to shoot over Holiday with ease with his turn around jumper.
But now, Giannis will be able to guard Durant, and from what I’ve seen, do it well. Durant is a star and is still going to get his points. But if you have a guy like Giannis in the crucial moments to step up and dig in and get a stop on Durant, that has the ability to change a game, and we saw that in both games.
Holiday will now likely be slated to guard Kyrie Irving and Khris Middleton likely on Harden when he returns. On paper, the Nets are clearly the more talented and superior team. But like when the Miami Heat lost to the less-talented Dallas Mavericks in LeBron James’ first year in South Beach, we’ve seen that even an elite collection of talent can take a year to fully mesh with each other.
I still like the Nets chances at winning, but a hedge with Bucks +350 to win the east is a play I’m more than happy making.