Pelicans vs. Bucks Prediction: Giannis Sits for Milwaukee

Milwaukee Bucks Giannis

Getty Images Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Milwaukee Bucks will be without the MVP when they host the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night. Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss his first game of the season due to a quad injury as his team goes for their 16th straight win. Milwaukee’s 21-3 record is tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the top mark in the NBA. Meanwhile, the Pelicans have been in free fall of late, losing by 46 against the Mavs on Sunday followed up by a buzzer-beating defeat at the hands of Derrick Rose and the Pistons on Monday.

Giannis is coming off a 32-point, 15-rebound, 8-assist performance in a 110-101 win over the Magic on Monday. Antetokounmpo has been dominant this season and is ranked second in the NBA averaging 30.9 points per game and fifth with 13.2 rebounds per game.

ESPN’s FPI gives the Bucks a 93.0% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Wednesday’s matchup between the Pelicans and Bucks.

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Pelicans vs. Bucks Game Details

Date: Wednesday, December 11
Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
Location: Fiserv Forum (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Bucks -9.5
Total: 232.5

*All lines, odds, and trends are courtesy of Covers & The Action Network

Line Movement

This line opened at Bucks -13.5 and has been bet down to Bucks -9.5 with the majority of the bets and money coming in on the home team. While this appears to be reverse line movement favoring the Pelicans, the news that Giannis Antetokounmpo will sit out the game has affected the action.

Betting Trends

  • Pelicans are 6-18 SU and 9-15 ATS this season
  • Bucks are 21-3 SU and 12-12 ATS this season

Analysis & Picks

This line has moved significantly since news of Giannis’ absence was confirmed. I’m not sure if a four-point move is a correct shift for not having a player of Giannis’ caliber in the lineup, but we will find out. Even without Giannis, the Bucks provide a tough challenge for a struggling Pelicans team. New Orleans shooters have made just 11-of-70 3-pointers in their last two games and now have to go on the road and face the best team in the Eastern Conference, albeit without their best player. Regardless, I’m fading the Pelicans who have lost nine in a row and are crumbling at the seams under head coach Alvin Gentry. Wait as long as you can to see if this line drifts any lower as news of Giannis’ absence continues to saturate the market.

PICK: Bucks -9.5

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Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith