Bucks vs. Bulls: Betting Odds For First-Round NBA Playoff Series

Written By Adam Hensley on April 14, 2022 - Last Updated on March 15, 2024
Bucks NBA Playoffs

The Bucks’ quest to defend their 2021 NBA Finals championship officially starts with a seven-game series against the Bulls.

Third-seed Milwaukee (51-31) tips off against 6-seed Chicago (46-36) at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, April 17, on TNT. For new Iowa sports bettors, BetMGM has a great first offer.

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Here’s what to know if you plan on betting the Bucks-Bulls playoff series.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Chicago Bulls NBA playoff betting odds

Milwaukee is favored (-1100) to win the series, and that shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone.

The Bucks are 9.5-point favorites to win Game One, according to BetMGM.

Betting on the Chicago Bulls

It’s no secret the Bulls have struggled against teams with a winning record. Chicago is just 22-27 against teams with records better than .500 — the worst mark of any of the East’s top six seeds and the second-worst if you expand that figure to the Western Conference’s top six seeds.

If the last two meetings are any indication of this series, it doesn’t bode well for the Bulls. The Bucks won those games by an average of 24.5 points.

Does Chicago have a shot at winning the series?

Statistically, yes. But they’re not great odds. BetMGM gives the Bulls +700 odds to win the series.

The most probable series correct score on BetMGM is Bucks 4-1 (+175).  Next is a clean 4-0 sweep (+250) and a 4-2 series win (+400).

For the Bulls to have any shot at making things interesting, defense is key. Chicago ranked 24th in adjusted defensive rating this season, according to Basketball Reference. The Bulls have a worse adjusted defensive rating than the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons, teams vying for the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft.

DeMar DeRozan must play like the potential MVP candidate he was earlier this year for the Bulls to keep it close. Chicago is 16-3 this season when DeRozan makes 60% or more of his shots. Nine of those wins came against playoff/play-in teams.

Worth noting: The Bulls are 44-38 against the spread this season. Look for Chicago to cover against a Bucks team that struggles (39-44 ATS this season, 16-26 ATS at home) in that department.

Betting on the Milwaukee Bucks

With yet another MVP-caliber season from Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks are one of the favorites to win the championship this season. He’s averaging a career-high 29.9 points per game this year, all while playing more time at center than any season before (39% of his 2,204 minutes came at the 5, according to Basketball Reference), thanks in part to injuries to center Brook Lopez.

But Lopez, a key cog in Milwaukee’s 2021 run, is healthy, along with Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. Together, the core has been humming since the all-star break, owning the third-best record (15-7) since the break (essentially the opposite of Chicago, which is 8-15 over that same span). The Bucks have the second-highest-scoring offense since the break (121.8 points per game), too. In turn, the over hit in six of Milwaukee’s last eight games of the regular season.

Bobby Portis found his groove last postseason, translating to 2022 success. Portis averaged a career-high 14.6 points per game while shooting 39.3% from 3-point range.

Portis, Middleton, Holiday, Lopez, Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton and Serge Ibaka all shoot better than 35% from 3-point range this season. As a team, the Bucks rank fifth in 3-point percentage (36.6%) and sixth in percentage of shots that come from downtown (43%).  Milwaukee is the only team to rank top-10 in both categories. The Bulls have the fourth-worst 3-point defense in the league, allowing 36.6% of triples to fall.

Another thing to watch: Beef

These teams don’t like each other. You can thank Allen’s flagrant foul on Alex Caruso in January.

Caruso went up for a layup and Allen made contact, grabbing at Caruso’s arms, and the Bulls’ guard took a hard fall and fractured his wrist.

Caruso called the foul “bulls**t” after the game. Chicago head coach Billy Donovan said the foul “could’ve ended (Caruso’s) career.”

Then, this happened in April during the Bucks’ 21-point win:

For what it’s worth, Allen was called for a flagrant 2 and ejected from the Jan. 21 game. Allen didn’t play in Milwaukee’s final three games of the regular season due to a hip injury, but his return would add more depth to the Bucks’ lineup.

Other NBA playoff odds

Utah Jazz (-2.5) vs. Dallas Mavericks — Noon CT Saturday

The Jazz are an abysmal 33-47-2 ATS this season (third-worst in the NBA). The Mavericks are third-best in that department (48-35).

Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers (-4.5) — 5 p.m. CT Saturday

Toronto is 47-35 ATS this season. But looking at the series as a whole, does Toronto have any counterpunch to Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid? I’ll answer that for you: No.

Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors (-4.5) — 7:30 p.m. CT Saturday

No Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., yet Nikola Jokic seemingly willed the Nuggets to the third-best record in the West this season. The likely MVP candidate averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game.

Meanwhile, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr hasn’t given any hints as to Steph Curry’s status (foot injury) for Saturday’s game. That’s something to keep an eye on.

Photo by Shutterstock Image
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Adam Hensley

Adam Hensley is a journalist from Des Moines, Iowa. His byline has appeared in the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and sites within the USA Today Network. Hensley graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and spent his college career working for the Daily Iowan’s sports department, both as an editor and reporter.

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