The eighth-seeded Orlando Magic will look to take a commanding 2-0 series lead against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks when they meet on Thursday in an Eastern Conference first-round game. Since the restart, the Bucks have struggled, going 3-6 in the bubble, including a 122-110 loss in Game 1. Milwaukee is averaging 117.9 points since July 31, nearly a point less per game from its season average, while allowing 119.8, which is more than 11 points than it’s allowed all season. Orlando scored an average of 107.3 points per game this year.
This 2020 NBA Playoffs matchup from HP Field House in Orlando, Fla., is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET. Milwaukee is favored by 12.5 points at William Hill, unchanged from the opening Magic vs. Bucks odds. The over-under for total points expected is 226.5, down a point from the opener. Before making any Bucks vs. Magic picks, check out the NBA predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it’s already returned well over $4,700 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks this season. It entered the week on a blistering 58-32 run on top-rated NBA spread picks, returning almost $2,300 on those picks alone. Amazingly, it hasn’t missed a single top-rated pick (5-0) since the NBA’s restart in July. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Bucks vs. Magic spread: Bucks -12.5
- Bucks vs. Magic over-under: 226.5 points
- Bucks vs. Magic money line: Bucks -1100, Magic +700
- MIL: Was the top-scoring team in the NBA during the regular season at 118.7 ppg
- ORL: Nikola Vucevic had 35 points and 13 rebounds in Game 1
Why the Bucks can cover
Despite being surprised in the opener, Milwaukee is playoff tested and is in the postseason for the fourth season in a row. The Bucks also know how to come back from bad opening series losses, having done so in last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals against the Boston Celtics. After losing Game 1 112-90, Milwaukee rebounded with a 123-102 triumph and went on to win the series 4-1. The Bucks are the top seed in the East and NBA for the second straight year after posting a league-best 56-17 record during the regular season.
The Bucks will also look for a boost from guard Eric Bledsoe, who averaged 14.9 points and 5.4 assists this season. He is coming off a 15-point performance in Game 1, despite hitting just one of five 3-pointers. He has been fairly quiet since the restart, averaging just 10.2 points in six games since coming back after testing positive for coronavirus. In three games against the Magic this season, Bledsoe is averaging 14 points, 7.3 assists and six rebounds. He has similar numbers in 19 career games vs. Orlando, scoring 14.5 points, dishing out 5.8 assists and grabbing 5.4 rebounds.
Why the Magic can cover
Orlando has won two in a row and is averaging 127.5 points, while allowing 118.5 in that span. Vucevic has been a force and recorded six double-doubles since the restart, including in Tuesday’s victory over Milwaukee. He has scored 22 or more points in seven of the last nine games, and is averaging 22 in that span. In three games against the Bucks this season, he is averaging 18.7 points and 9.7 rebounds.
Evan Fournier is also poised to make an impact on Thursday. He was second in scoring (18.5) for the Magic this season, but missed 11 days with an illness before being called on to start Game 1 on Tuesday. Prior to being out, he had scored in double-figures in three of five outings, including 24 points against Brooklyn on July 31. He played 35 minutes in the opener against the Bucks and chipped in nine points and five assists. In four regular-season meetings, Fournier averaged 20.5 points against Milwaukee.
How to make Bucks vs. Magic picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning under the total, with Fournier and George Hill projected to fall short of their scoring averages. It has also generated an against-the-spread pick that has all the value. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Bucks vs. Magic? And which side of the spread has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Magic vs. Bucks spread to jump on Thursday, all from the advanced model that is up over $4,700 on its top-rated NBA picks this season, and find out.