NBA betting: Bucks vs. Nets could be great second-round series, with odds strongly favoring Nets

by John Smith

You don’t see too many second-round matchups as juicy as Brooklyn Nets vs. Milwaukee Bucks.
There’s the three Nets stars against the Bucks and back-to-back MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks have faltered in the playoffs the past two seasons but have looked great in taking a 3-0 series lead over the Miami Heat. The Nets are the favorites to win the NBA title and seem unlikely to be challenged by the Boston Celtics in the first round.
It’s a premier matchup for the second round. Though the odds don’t necessarily see it that way.
What would Nets vs. Bucks series odds be?
The Nets and Bucks still need to close out their series before BetMGM would officially post any series odds. But it’s fun to guess what the odds might be.
Jason Scott, vice president of trading at BetMGM, set a line assuming the Bucks and Nets win their respective series in four or five games. Based on the current odds to win the conference, he said a series line would be about Nets -200. That would put the Bucks in the +170 range. That’s a pretty big odds gap between two quality teams that were only two games apart in the regular season.
The odds might be even steeper with the report that Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo will miss the rest of the playoffs with a foot injury. That’s a key loss for the Bucks.
The current odds to win the East at BetMGM are Nets -115 and Bucks +280. The Philadelphia 76ers are third at +300.
Hopefully for basketball fans, and anyone who would bet on the Bucks in the series, the showdown would be much closer than that.
Bucks-Nets could be a great series
The Bucks have been regular season beasts the two seasons previous to this one, but blew a 2-0 lead to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 Eastern Conference finals and were blown out by the Heat in the second round of the playoffs last year. This regular season the Bucks were inconsistent, but have looked like a different team through three games against Miami. They have crushed the Heat two straight games. They look like the type of team that could compete with the Nets.
Of course, the Nets have looked great too. It has been rare that Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Kevin Durant have all been on the floor together this season, and that trio might be unstoppable if they stay healthy in the playoffs. There’s a reason the Nets are a +190 favorite at BetMGM to win it all. They’d also have home-court advantage over the Bucks.
Unless something crazy happens, we’re going to get a heck of a second-round matchup in the East. The odds will favor the Nets, but if the Bucks continue to play like they have against the Heat, it could end up being an epic battle.
Bettors are bullish on the chances of a Nets player winning NBA Finals MVP.
Over 30% of the MVP wagers at BetMGM are on either Kevin Durant or James Harden. Durant has 15.3% of the tickets at the sports book while Harden is close behind at 15.1%. Denver Nuggets C Nikola Jokic — the presumed regular season MVP — is at 13%.
Harden and Durant are also the two players with the most money wagered. Just under 22% of the handle — the total money bet on Finals MVP — is on Harden while Durant is at 18.3% of the cash. The Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic is a distant third at 11.7%. The number of tickets and cash wagered on Harden and Durant make the two players the biggest liability for BetMGM.
The Nets currently lead the Boston Celtics 2-0 in their first-round series and can go up 3-0 with a win on Friday night.
LeBron James isn’t as popular of a bet as you might expect. While James’ odds have gone down to +400 from +450 and he remains the favorite to win the award, just 5.8% of the tickets and 5.9% of the handle is on James. James ranks fifth in the number of MVP wagers behind Durant, Harden, Jokic and Joel Embiid.
The Lakers went up 2-1 over the Phoenix Suns with a 109-95 victory on Thursday night.
Doncic, meanwhile, has taken some big bets. He’s just No. 13 in terms of ticket percentage at 2.6% behind Phoenix Suns G Devin Booker and Stephen Curry, whose Golden State Warriors were eliminated in the play-in tournament.
Bettors are also liking big wagers on Utah Jazz C Rudy Gobert. While just 1.6% of the wagers are on Gobert, 10% of the handle is on the defensive stalwart to win MVP.
Here are the top 12 favorites as of Friday for Finals MVP:
Lebron James, +400
Kevin Durant, +450
Giannis Antetokounmpo, +550
Joel Embiid, +750
James Harden, +800
Donovan Mitchell, +1100
Kyrie Irving, +1200
Luka Doncic, +1600
Anthony Davis, +2200
Nikola Jokic, +2500
Kawhi Leonard, +2500
Rudy Gobert, +3000


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