Game: Chicago Bulls @ Milwaukee Bucks
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Bulls +12, Bucks -12
Things have not been going well for the Chicago Bulls in their first-round playoff series with the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks. In three losses to Milwaukee, Chicago has averaged just 87.3 points per game. Now, the Bulls will head into Game 5 without one of their leading scorers – Zach LaVine – and face elimination on the Bucks’ home court. That could be a recipe for disaster.
LaVine tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss tonight’s game, which could be the Bulls’ last one of the season. LaVine averages 24.4 points per game for Chicago, but not having him might not make that much of a difference for Chicago. Milwaukee has beaten the Bulls in consecutive games and held Chicago to just 95 and 81 points.
Milwaukee is well known for its offense. The Bucks score over 115 points per game which ranks fourth in the NBA. The defense, which is giving up an average of 94 points per game for the series, is an added bonus. For the most part, the Bucks have shut down LaVine and leading scorer DeMar DeRozan. Aside from DeRozan going off for 41 points in Game 2, he hasn’t done much. He came right back in Game 3 to score a measly 11 points.
It was the Bulls that were one of the better defensive teams in the league until injuries to Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso. Ball was eventually ruled out for the season and Caruso has gotten back into the Chicago lineup, but it hasn’t really made a difference. Chicago has now lost seven of its last nine games and besides a 93-86 loss in Game 1 of this playoff series, Chicago has given up over 122 points a game during that stretch.
The Bulls have always had a hard time with Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks’ leading scorer has put up 27, 33, 18, and 32 points in the four games so far. In the Bucks’ Game 3 blowout win, Antetokounmpo played just 29 minutes which is why he had only 18 points. It’s highly unlikely that the Bulls will suddenly figure out how to slow down the NBA’s No. 2 scorer (29.9 ppg).
The Bucks have now won 19 of the last 21 games they have played against Chicago. Milwaukee is 6-2 SU in its last eight games and 28-15 SU at home this season. While they win a lot of games, the Bucks are not that great against the number. In fact, in 43 home games, the Bucks are 16-27 ATS and they haven’t covered in each of the last five games at the Fiserv Forum.
The Bulls aren’t much better. Chicago is 2-7 SU and 3-6 ATS in its last nine games. In the last seven against Milwaukee, the Bulls are 2-5 ATS, but they are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games. All four games in the series have gone Under the total. Tonight’s total will again be the lowest of the series at 218. Only one of the four games has produced more than 214 points. The Bulls have only scored over 100 points once in the series.