When the Milwaukee Bucks head to Washington to take on the Wizards Friday night, they’ll do so with a potentially very shorthanded roster. Although the Bucks were understandably big favorites early against their Eastern Conference foe, the status of Giannis Antetokounmpo has moved the betting line drastically.
As Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington revealed, Antetokounmpo is now listed as doubtful for this game. It comes due to a hip injury, and he was originally listed as probable.
Entering this game, the Bucks boast a league-best 29-11 record but have gone 10-7 away from home this year. As for the Wizards, after a slow start to the season, they sit at 17-25 while attempting to overcome the loss of point guard John Wall due to injury. Milwaukee has currently won seven of their last eight while the Wizards have taken two of three, both of which were quality victories.
Let’s take a look at the betting line and odds on this matchup with the Giannis news, and also offer up a prediction on the game.
Bucks vs. Wizards Betting Line & Projected Total
- Milwaukee Bucks: -1 (-111), opened at -8
- Over/Under: 226 (-115), opened at 231
Not surprisingly, the fact Antetokounmpo was downgraded to doubtful for this game led to the betting line dropping in a big way. The consensus pick has remained on the Bucks, as they’re getting 60 percent of the love currently, according to Odds Shark. As far as the projected total goes, there’s an even split on picks for the over and under.
One aspect that’s tough to ignore is how solid the Bucks have been against the spread this year, going 23-15-2 while the Wizards are just 17-25. Although Milwaukee is 15-7-1 ATS on their home floor, they’ve been a modest 8-8-1 when playing road games.
Bucks vs. Wizards Prediction
These two teams haven’t met during the 2018-19 season yet, so this marks the first matchup after they split the season series last year. Of course, the Wizards not having Wall in the lineup is a tough blow and this is a new-look group across the board. If Antetokounmpo sits out Friday night, which seems likely, the matchup gets even tougher to call.
While the Wizards have posted a solid 12-7 record at home, it’s apparent the road games are their big issue. Milwaukee is also coming off a tough win against James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, while the Wizards rolled past the Philadelphia 76ers that same night.
There’s a lot to like about the Wizards getting a point in this game, but something to note is how the Bucks have fared with Giannis out of the lineup. This season they’ve gone 2-0 with a 15-point win over the Toronto Raptors and a 16-point win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. For good measure, Milwaukee went 5-2 without their star last season also.
I’m backing the Khris Middleton-led Bucks here, but it’s worth noting that Eric Bledsoe being listed as questionable could result in the line moving even more in favor of Washington. If that happens, you could wait and get the Bucks with a decent number of points.
Pick: Milwaukee Bucks -1