Milwaukee Bucks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Predictions and Betting Odds

How to Watch

Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

When: Sunday, January 27th, 6:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): ESPN, Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Oklahoma | WWLS 98.1FM OKC / 930AM (ESP), WTMJ 620 AM/103.3 FM

Milwaukee Bucks (Away)

Head Coach: Mike Budenholzer {All-Time 247-209 | ATL, MIL}

The Milwaukee Bucks are doing as well as they could’ve hoped at this point in the season. Halfway through the year, the Bucks maintain a record of 34-12. Good enough for a tie with the Toronto Raptors for first in the Eastern Conference.

The Bucks have been on fire as of late, going 8-2 in their last ten matches while maintaining a five game winning streak. Considering they haven’t played a plus-.500 team since January 11th, their +10.0 point differential is justified.

The Bucks face their first real test in a couple weeks when they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Not only do they sport former MVP Russell Westbrook, but Paul George has put his name in the debate for defensive player of the year this season with his stellar play. The Bucks will have difficulty getting past the Thunder’s organized defence, it will be a stellar match.

Oklahoma City Thunder (Home)

Head Coach: Billy Donovan {All-Time 180-114 | OKC}

The Oklahoma City Thunder have hit a rough patch as of late. Regardless of recent results, they are ranked third in the Western Conference, however with the Portland Trail Blazers just a game back from over taking them.

The Thunder have gone 5-5 in their last ten matches, with a positive point differential of +4.9. Despite a string of disappointing losses to the Wizards, Timberwolves, and Spurs, they have reeled off a four game winning streak which included wins over the Sixers, Blazers, and Pelicans.

When the Thunder take on the Milwaukee Bucks their vaunted defence will be tested greatly. The combination of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Mike Budenholzer’s stretch offence has been incredible in taking down some of the leagues best teams. While the Thunder’s defence is stout, they will have to key in on the Bucks shooters if they want to stay in the game.

What’s At Stake?

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s relative youth as a franchise means they’ve only met the Milwaukee Bucks 19 times. In the all-time series, the Thunder lead the Milwaukee Bucks 11-8.

A win by the Bucks would separate them from the Raptors and give them sole possession of first in the East.

A win for the Thunder would have them equalling the Nuggets in wins on the season, but keep them in third place due to their higher amount of losses.

Questions to answer

Is Giannis starting to find range?

Is Terrance Ferguson the 3-D wing the Thunder have been looking for?

We are going to compare the Milwaukee Bucks and the Oklahoma City Thunder in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

Giannis has improved his three-point percentage each month

The Greek Freak is certainly not known for his ability from range. He relies on his physical dominance to abuse opponents off the dribble and in the paint. However shooting outside of eight feet has always been his weakness. Whether it be a spot-up or off the dribble, Antetokounmpo’s shooting is the area of his game that needs the most growth.

In October, Antetokounmpo shot 14% (5-35) from three. Now near the end of January, he has shot 29% (6-21) from three. It is a miniscule improvement, but one that is significant if you look into how he is taking those shots. As the primary playmaker, Antetokounmpo is usually creating for others not himself. So shooting threes in Budenholzer’s offence isn’t natural to his role.

At the beginning of the season, Giannis’ usage wasn’t as high as it it to this point. Other players were given the opportunity to run the offence, versus today where his use is up to 33%. His three-point shooting is now coming out of singular isolation opportunities, versus swings seen at the beginning of the season. Considering opponents leave Antetokounmpo a lot of space in order to protect the drive, he usually has relatively open opportunities in one-on-ones. If the Greek Freak can expand further on his shooting ability, he may become truly unstoppable.

Terrance Ferguson’s skills are shining

With a core of Adams, George, and Westbrook, the Thunder have struggled in recent seasons to find players that will fit their lineup. It took time, but their solution seemed to be right under their noses in wing Terrance Ferguson.

In the last ten games, Ferguson has converted on 50% of his three-point attempts on four attempts per game. The Thunder have benefitted as a result of his hot shooting, with a net rating of +10.5 in that span of time.

It has been a coin-flip to see who will end games between Ferguson and Schroeder, but in recent games Ferguson has made his case. He is incredibly quick getting out to shooters and his athleticism has allowed him to recover or switch on the wing in a second. If he can keep up his shooting, Ferguson may be the mainstay the Thunder have been looking for since the departure of Durant, Harden, and Ibaka.

Milwaukee Bucks Roster Notes

The Milwaukee Bucks have no injuries to note.

Oklahoma City Thunder Roster Notes

G-F Andre Roberson – Out (Knee) – Head coach Billy Donovan said Roberson is rehabbing, but is not close to returning to action, according to Brett Dawson of The Athletic. The team is hopeful to have him back this season.

Head-to-Head: George Hill vs Dennis Schroeder

George Hill

Point Guard | 6-3, 188lb (190cm, 85kg) | IUPUI | Exp. 11 Years

7.7 PPG | 2.5 APG | 2.4 RPG | 0.9 SPG | 0.1 BPG | 0.9 TOV | .465 FG% | .342 3P%

Dennis Schroeder

Point Guard | 6-1, 172lb (185cm, 78kg) | Phantoms Braunschwieg/Germany | Exp. 6 Years

15.3 PPG | 4.3 APG | 3.5 RPG | 1.0 SPG | 0.1 BPG | 2.5 TOV | .411 FG% | .335 3P%

In this head-to-head we look at the Milwaukee Bucks’ and Oklahoma City Thunder’s backup point guards. Leading the bench unit will be integral to this matchup of teams captained by some of the NBA’s most capable stars. Hill is a veteran NBA player with diverse experience leading squads in different settings. On the other side, Schroeder is a lightning quick playmaker that can attack the rim and create for others in a flash.

George Hill was acquired by the Bucks earlier in the season to provide an upgrade over Matthew Dellavedova. He is a seasoned guard who will be tasked with leading the Thunder bench unit over the Bucks. While he has regressed offensively in comparison to earlier in his career, Hill is still a stout defender and capable playmaker that can provide steadiness for the less experience Bucks reserve unit.

There are times when German guard Schroeder plays that you might think that he is lightning in a Thunder uniform. Absurdly fast with an eye for dishing the ball, Schroeder is the man off the benchh for the Thunder when Westbrook and George aren’t in play. No stranger to being the first option due to his time in Atlanta, the Thunder made an absolute steal when they acquired Schroeder from the Hawks.

Milwaukee Bucks at Oklahoma City Thunder Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Oklahoma City Thunder favoured over the Milwaukee Bucks by 1, with an Over/Under of 110.