On Tuesday night, the Philadelphia 76ers will host the Milwaukee Bucks. The Sixers lost to the Knicks in Philadelphia last night, snapping a six-game winning streak. The Bucks lost to the Washington Wizards in the District of Columbia on Sunday.
Let’s get into our Sixers vs. Bucks betting pick with player prop predictions, odds, and analysis for this November 9, 2021 matchup.
Sixers vs. Bucks Betting Pick (November 9, 2021)
The asterisk is a real thing, even if you can’t see it, even if it’s not actually there.
The Milwaukee Bucks are the defending NBA champions. That’s what it says on the team’s official website. That’s what ESPN reported when the Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals last season. That’s what it says on basketballreference.com, and elsewhere. The Bucks won it all. It’s tough to quibble with the way it went down, too. The Bucks have the best player in the league, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and he scored 50 (!) points in the clinching game – he also had 14 rebounds and five blocked shots. That’s #elite.
Yeah, but still, that title has an asterisk. The NBA regular season was shortened to 72 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and if that was the only irregularity about last season and the eventual champion, that would be enough. You’d always have to say “well, it was a shortened season.” If you don’t believe me, ask the 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers, who won the title after a 60-game regular season sprint. Or the 2012-2013 Chicago Blackhawks, who only played 48 games after a lockout shortened their season. Or the 1998-1999 San Antonio Spurs, who won their title after a 50-game season caused by (you guessed it) a lockout.
All of these champions earned what they were awarded, and certainly winning a title after a shortened season is better than losing. But it’s not the real thing, you know? You can’t step in the same river twice, and you can’t know what the ability to play fewer regular season games would have meant for a team’s record, playoff positioning, ability to stay healthy, etc. You only know what you saw. So, asterisk.
With the Bucks, the asterisk is more of the 24-point variety. It wasn’t just that the season was shortened, it’s that the regular season –much like this one is turning out – was sort of farcical.
The Sixers played last night with eight players, and if you take away Paul Reed and his five minutes, it was actually seven. Four starters played at least 38 minutes. Why did they do this? Because Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle and Isaiah Joe were all held out due to COVID-19 protocols. The Sixers went from a 4.5 point favorite to a 3.5 point underdog in the span of a few hours, and lost a game they probably would have won.
This kind of nonsense – the league forcing teams to play games woefully shorthanded due to COVID-19 fears – was rampant last season, too. If you ever wondered what the NBA thinks about the importance of the regular season, well, now you know.
So, asterisk. Until this pandemic is over, few if any of the championships won can really be considered legitimate. Unless a Philadelphia team gets one, in which case this conversation never happened.
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Sixers vs. Bucks Odds
Here’s the line for the Sixers and Bucks at FanDuel Sportsbook:
- Spread: Sixers +5.5 (-110), Bucks -5.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: Sixers +198, Bucks -240
- Total: 217.5
Bets We Like With a Sixers Win
Sixers to Win and Under 217.5 Total Points (+448, FanDuel Sportsbook)
Look, the Sixers aren’t winning this game, but if you are committed to the idea that whichever group Doc Rivers puts out on the floor tonight will somehow find a way to keep from losing back-to-back games at home on consecutive nights — if you’re that much of a diehard — then you might as well parlay it with the under and go for a big score. Just maybe don’t overdo it with the stake.
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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Giannis Antetokounmpo Under 28.5 Points (-110, Caesars Sportsbook)
Don’t misunderstand. If Giannis had to get 50 tonight for the league to award the Bucks the win, he’d get 50 or more. Obviously, that’s not how it works. The Bucks don’t even need to cover the 5.5, they just need to win. As noted above, the Sixers played the healthy bodies they had available last night long and hard in an attempt to snatch one of these back-to-back shorthanded games. The Knicks didn’t let them do it. The Sixers project to be a pretty washed group tonight, and as such, it’s just unlikely that Giannis is going to be on the floor long enough to beat this prop.
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Bucks Team Total Points Under 112.5 (-105, FOX Bet)
The Bucks are playing in New York against the Knicks tomorrow night, which will be their third game in four nights and the second half of a road back-to-back. The last thing the Bucks need to do in this game is get into a track meet with the depleted Sixers. Look for the Bucks to establish an early lead, maybe even a commanding lead, and then for the Bucks to control possession and tempo in the second half.
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Jrue Holiday Under 1.5 Three-Point Field Goals Made (-105, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Jrue Holiday’s game is exceptionally well-rounded, and he’s shooting 44.4% from the three-point line this season. It’s not that he can’t make them, it’s that on this team (especially in a game like this) he probably won’t need to. Holiday has made fewer than two three-pointers in six of his last seven games, and in five of those games he didn’t even attempt one.
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Sixers vs. Bucks Prediction
The media asked Doc Rivers whether he planned to run another short bench at the Bucks tonight, and he said no. That’s cool, until you hear the back part of the answer. “Tomorrow we’re going to play 10 guys. We have to. I don’t know who that 10 is, but 10 guys have to play tomorrow.” Let’s put that another way: You’re going to see some Jaden Springer and some Paul Reed for stretches you would not ordinarily see them in against the defending league champions in a nationally televised game. Welcome to the 2021-2022 regular season.
Pick: Bucks to win and under 218 (+180, Barstool Sportsbook)
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