- The Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks matchup on January 21st 2021
- LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton are all expected to play
- What are the best player props for Thursday’s big game?
The Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks, the preseason favorites in their respective conferences, matchup for the first time this season on Thursday nigh. The Lakers are one-point favorites at the time of writing – their 11-4 record is joint-top of the West, while the Bucks’ 9-5 puts them just behind the Philadelphia 76ers.
All of the stars are expected to play this one. Anthony Davis appears on the injury report once again, but the All-NBA forward is probable with an ankle issue. Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James and Khris Middleton should all play.
Los Angeles Lakers vs Milwaukee Bucks Player Props
|Player||Points||Rebounds||Assists||Three Pointers Made|
|LeBron James (LAL)||25.5 (O -120 | U -102)||8.5 (O -130 | U +106)||8.5 (O -110 | U -110)||2.5 (O -154 | U +120)|
|Anthony Davis (LAL)||23.5 (O -112 | U -108)||9.5 (O -112 | U -108)||3.5 (O -102 | U -112)||1.5 (O +142 | U -184)|
|Dennis Schroder (LAL)||16.5 (O -110 | U -110)||3.5 (O -144 | U +118)||4.5 (O -124 | U +102)||1.5 (O -142 | U +112)|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)||29.5 (O -108 | U -112)||11.5 (O -122 | U +100)||5.5 (O -106 | U -114)||1.5 (O -146 | U +114)|
|Khris Middleton (MIL)||21.5 (O -116 | U -106)||6.5 (O +114 | U -140)||5.5 (O -114 | U -140)||2.5 (O -113 | U -113)|
|Jrue Holiday (MIL)||15.5 (O -114 | U -108)||4.5 (O +106 | U -130)||4.5 (O -150 | U +112)||1.5 (O -118 | U -108)|
Odds taken on Jan. 21st from FanDuel
Giannis Keeps Scoring
Antetokounmpo scored 66 points across the Bucks’ two regular season matchups with the Lakers in 2019-20. The Lakers might own the best defense in the league, and sit just 16th in pace, but Milwaukee remains one of the quickest playing teams in the league and the Lakers will look to get out and run to avoid facing the Bucks’ impressive half court defense. There will be a lot of possessions in this game. More possessions means more scoring opportunities.
The Lakers have been a brilliant half court team. They lead the league in half court points per possession conceded. In transition, though, their defense has been comparatively underwhelming. They are just 15th in opponent points per 100 transition possessions. In Antetokounmpo, they face one of the most unstoppable transition scorers the game has ever seen. The Greek Freak’s grab-and-go game off rebounds is breath-taking – the Lakers are 24th defending such plays.
Giannis’ scoring is marginally down on last season’s MVP numbers. He’s shooting a couple times less per game. Despite some alarming free throw struggles against the Mavs, Antetokounmpo has still put up 65 points over Milwaukee’s last two games. He’s scored 30 or more in eight of his 15 games this season.
As good as the Lakers have been defensively, there’s plenty of evidence to be confident about Antetokounmpo hitting his points over.
- Pick: Giannis Antetokounmpo over 29.5 points (-108)
Schroder the Playmaker
Dennis Schroder had 7.2 potential assists per game last season. He’s up to 8.6 in that category this year. The former Atlanta Hawk has gone from four to 4.7 assists per game, the sort of increase you’d expect with that improvement in potential assists.
While getting fewer shot attempts per 36 minutes on this Laker team than he was alongside Chris Paul in Oklahoma City, Schroder is still playing a significant role in the offense. He’s passing the ball roughly the same number of times per game and getting plenty of opportunities to run the offense when LeBron James operates off-ball.
Schroder faces arguably his toughest matchup of the season so far on Thursday. Jrue Holiday will probably be his primary defender – Schroder will find it much harder to get into the paint off the dribble than usual. As a result, we could see Schroder settle into passer rather than scorer. When faced with another top-tier perimeter defender in Patrick Beverley on opening night, Schroder recorded eight assists.
While only going over 4.5 in seven of the 15 games so far, Schroder appears a good bet to go for five or more assists against the Bucks. Milwaukee ranks in the bottom ten in the NBA in quantity of opponent three-point attempts and opponent three-point percentage. There will be Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez protecting the rim on the odd occasion Schroder is able to drive, forcing him to kick it out to shooters.
This, as much as Schroder’s passing, is a bet on his teammates’ shooting. The Lakers have enough good shooters to take advantage of the three-point looks the Bucks will give them – Schroder could quickly rack up five assists.
- Pick: Dennis Schroder over 4.5 assists (-124)