Giannis dunks the ball.
BetOnline favors Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo to repeat as MVP of the NBA. Photo by Keith Allison (flickr) [CC License].
  • Milwaukee Bucks open their schedule in Houston on Thursday as 2-point underdogs
  • Bucks owned a league-leading 57-36-4 ATS record last season
  • Rockets favored despite losing outright in two meetings with Milwaukee last season

A clash between NBA championship contenders highlights the Thursday night NBA schedule as the Milwaukee Bucks visit the Houston Rockets to open up both their seasons as 2-point underdogs in the Bucks vs Rockets odds at BetOnline.

Milwaukee Bucks vs Houston Rockets Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total at BetOnline
Milwaukee Bucks +2 (-113) +105 Ov 231.5 (-110)
Houston Rockets -2 (-107) -125 Un 231.5 (-110)

Odds taken Oct. 24th

Rockets, Bucks Among Championship Favorites

Both these teams open the season among the favorites in the NBA Championship odds, deadlocked at +600 going into Thursday night’s matchup at Toyota Center.

The Bucks also return to action pegged as +165 to win the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee finished last season with a 60-22 record, their best campaign in four decades, but saw their playoff march halted by a loss to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals.

With last season’s core returning largely intact, the Bucks are poised to build on last season’s disappointing finish.

 

Milwaukee emerged as the beast of the sportsbooks last season, racking up a league-best 57-36-4 ATS record. But the Bucks struggled to reward bettors down the stretch, particularly on the road, going 4-5 SU and 5-4 ATS in their final nine regular-season outings.

Milwaukee also turned in middling results against Western Conference opponents, going 20-10 SU but posting ATS wins in just 15 of those contests.

Bucks Dominated Houston Last Season

Those struggles against the West did not apply to dates with Houston. The Bucks claimed SU and ATS wins in a pair of meetings, including a decisive 116-109 win in Houston as 1.5-point favorites that marked the club’s first road victory over the Rockets in six meetings since February 2013.

Indeed, wins in Houston have been exceedingly rare for the Bucks, who have 6-25 SU in 31 road dates with the Rockets since 1987.

Of course, all eyes will be on Bucks big man Giannis Antetokounmpo in the club’s season opener on Thursday night.

Antetokounmpo emerged as a force in the NBA last season while finishing third in league scoring with 27.7 points per game. Listed as a strong +250 favorite to repeat as NBA MVP this season, the “Greek Freak” has also been a steady producer in past visits to Houston, scoring 27 or more points in four of his past road dates with the Rockets, and also added 21 rebounds in the team’s road win back in January.

Rockets Under Pressure to Produce

The Rockets have a lot to prove as they open their schedule as home favorites. Houston took a step back last season after winning a franchise-record 65 games in 2017-18, racking up a 53-29 record to claim the No. 4 seed heading into the playoffs.

The season eventually ended with yet another playoff series loss to Golden State, further closing the window of opportunity for the Rockets to break through in the Western Conference, where they are listed third on the odds board at BetOnline as +350 to win their first conference title since 1995.

However, the Rockets have been a dominant home team over the past two seasons, compiling a combined 65-17 SU record, and has won 12 of 13 regular-season contests on home court heading into Thursday’s action. In addition, Thursday night should also provide Houston fans with their first glimpse of the reunited duo of James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

Harden Key to Rockets’ Success

Harden led the league in scoring last season with 36.1 points per game, including an impressive 37.9 points and 7.8 assists per game on home court, and is a strong -155 bet to top 29.5 points per game in the upcoming season.

Westbrook joined the Rockets over the summer in a trade with Oklahoma City, and is expected to be available for Thursday night after being sidelined by a finger injury.

Both these squads sport spotty track records in season openers. The Bucks have opened the season with road wins in each of the past two years, ending a dismal 1-9 run, while the Rockets have posted just one win over their past four openers, including losses in two season-opening contests on home court.

Picks: Bucks +2 (-113), UNDER 232 (-110)

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