We have one of the biggest games of the early part of the NBA season Thursday, with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks facing off in a clash of titans.

Let’s look at the game.

Los Angeles Lakers @ Milwaukee Bucks

Tipico Sportsbook Line: Bucks -1.5, 228.5 O/U

These are the two teams that had the shortest odds to win the championship in their respective conferences before the season began. The Lakers currently lead the NBA with 11 wins in 15 games and a 73.3% winning percentage. The Bucks are sitting fifth in the early going with nine wins and five losses, 64.3%. 

Milwaukee has the second-most potent offense in the league, averaging 118.1 points per 100 possessions. The Lakers are not far behind in fourth with 116.2 points per 100 possessions. Both teams are extremely tough to stop on the offensive end. 

Defensively, the Lakers have a clear advantage. They have allowed the fewest points in the league per 100 possessions at just 105.1, a full point better than Utah in second place at over 106 per 100. The Bucks have slid a bit on that end of the floor. They are allowing 109.6 points per 100, the 12th-best mark in the league. 

These two teams met twice last season, each winning at home. The Lakers won the most recent meeting by double digits last March with a game total of 216. The Bucks won the first meeting last season by 7 in a game with 215 total points. Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 35 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists in those contests. LeBron James had 37/8/8 in the Lakers’ win and recorded a 21/12/11 triple-double in the loss. Anthony Davis had 30 points and 9 rebounds in the win and 36/10/5 in the loss. All the stars came to play in these matchups in 2019-2020. 

The Bucks have averaged five more points than the Lakers this season, but also given up about five more per game. The effective field goal percentage for the Bucks is about 2% higher on offense, but the Lakers are about 2% better on the defensive end, so those numbers basically even out. The Bucks do play slightly faster than the Lakers, which probably explains why they score and give up a few more points per game. The Lakers have a slight edge in points in the paint scored, but Milwaukee is better on the defensive end on the interior so that also basically evens out. The Lakers have a slight edge in rebounding and the Bucks have a slight edge in creating turnovers on defense and limiting turnovers on their offensive end. 

This should be a great game between two evenly matched teams. Our numbers at FTNBets indicate the Bucks should be favored here by 2 points, so a slight edge on the number that Tipico is currently offering. Based on the two meetings last season, the total in this game also seems a bit too high. The expected number was more in the 224-225 range, which means we also have a slight edge to the under. 

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