Bucks won’t have Giannis for several games vs. Pacers

Bucks won’t have Giannis for several games vs. Pacers

The Milwaukee Bucks (49-33 straight up, 35-46-1 against the spread) aren’t going to have two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo for at least the first few games of their opening-round series vs. the Indiana Pacers in the NBA Playoffs. He’s recovering from a calf injury sustained a week ago.

According to sources for ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the team is hopeful that Antetokounmpo will be able to return later in the series.

Milwaukee is the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks will host the sixth-seeded Pacers in Game 1 on Sunday.

As of Tuesday, most betting shops had Indiana (47-35 SU, 44-35-3 ATS) listed as a one-point road favorite with a total of 233. The Pacers went 4-1 both SU and ATS in five head-to-head meetings with Milwaukee during the regular season.

Antetokounmpo missed his team’s last three games since straining his left calf in a home win over Boston on April 9.

In 73 regular-season games, Antetokounmpo averaged 30.4 points, 11.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocked shots per game. The 29-year-old hit a career-best 61.1 percent of his field-goal attempts, becoming the first player in NBA history to average at least 30 PPG and make better than 60 percent of his FGAs.

Although the Bucks are small home underdogs in the series opener, Circa has them installed as -156 favorites to advance past the Pacers. South Point has Doc Rivers’s squad as a -150 ‘chalk,’ but the Westgate SuperBook has Milwaukee as only a -120 favorite.

Circa has the Pacers as +136 underdogs for the series, while they’re +130 at South Point. Indiana is at +100 at the Westgate SuperBook.

Milwaukee struggled mightily down the stretch, going an abysmal 3-8 both SU and ATS in its last 11 games. The Bucks lost outright in three contests – 117-113 at Washington, 111-101 at home vs. Memphis and 117-111 at home vs. Toronto – in which they were double-digit favorites.

Indiana went 6-2 SU and 5-3 ATS in its last eight regular-season games. The ‘over’ is on a 5-0 run for the Pacers.

Indiana beat Milwaukee 126-124 as a one-point home underdog on Nov. 9, with the 250 combined points going ‘over’ the 239.5-point total. When they played at Milwaukee on Dec. 7, the Pacers captured a 128-119 victory as 5.5-point road underdogs. In that meeting, the 247 combined dipped ‘under’ the 257.5-point tally.

On Dec. 13, Milwaukee beat Indiana 140-126 as a 6.5-point home favorite, and the 266 combined points jumped ‘over’ the 258-point total. However, the Pacers returned to Milwaukee on New Year’s Day and won a 122-113 decision, as the 235 combined points dropped ‘under’ the 262-point tally.

Two days later on Jan. 3, Indiana defeated Milwaukee 142-130 as a 3.5-point home underdog. The 272 combined points soared ‘over’ the 258-point total.

The only injury for the Pacers is Benedict Mathurin, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in early March. In 59 regular-season games, the second-year guard averaged 14.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 APG. He made 44.6 percent of his FGAs, 37.4 percent of his 3-pointers and 82.1 percent of his free throws.