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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 7:00 PM

As the Chicago Bulls were taking care of the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday night in Game One of their opening round NBA Playoff series, two quick questions jumped to mind:

*Does Milwaukee’s lack of offense eliminate them from any hope in this series?

*Can Derrick Rose look THIS sharp all the way through the playoffs?!

If Rose can find anything near his past form (which has been largely absent during the regular season even when he was healthy), then the projected second round pairing against the Cleveland Cavaliers could get very interesting. Rose had 23 points and 7 assists against a stellar Milwaukee defense. He could really be a force against the softer Cavs’ defense. But, if that was just a one night peak in what’s going to be an inconsistent postseason…then it’s Bucks/Bulls that’s going to be the interesting series, with the winner probably being outmatched in the next round against the Eastern Conference market favorites.

Let’s review the key indicator stats from the regular season for both teams…then take a quick peak at Saturday night’s boxscore…


Offensive Efficiency

Milwaukee: 100.5 per 100 possessions (ranked #25 in the NBA)

Chicago: 104.7 per 100 possessions (ranked #10 in the NBA)

You may not have seen much of Milwaukee this year if you’re a casual fan. It’s a young hustling team with a great defense and a horrible offense. They have a ton of length and speed on defense…and they overachieved their talent in the regular season with EFFORT against a schedule that was largely disinterested. Tough to make that work in the playoffs when everyone’s at peak intensity! How’s Milwaukee going to score? Big edge here to the Bulls, even if Rose doesn’t find his old form.


Defensive Efficiency

Milwaukee: 99.3 per 100 possessions (ranked #2 in the NBA)

Chicago: 101.5 per 100 possessions (ranked #11 in the NBA)

You can see that the Bucks were second only to Golden State defensively on a per-possession basis. Chicago was almost top 10 themselves…which should help in the second round against Cleveland. Edge here to Milwaukee…though they were a bit of a disappointment in this area in Saturday’s opener.


Pace Ranking

Milwaukee: #12

Chicago: #20

Very interesting here…as Chicago was slightly below average during the regular season…but ran like crazy Saturday night! That was one of the fastest paced games a Coach Thibs team has ever played! Perhaps they decided they weren’t likely to score in the halfcourt, and rushing to get open looks was their best shot. It worked for a night…but could conceivably wear down the Bulls if they try to keep that up in an extended series. Quickly going for the jugular is a great idea until you miss the jugular!


Against the Spread

Milwaukee: 46-35-1

Chicago: 39-43

Milwaukee was a great value this season because they outperformed their projected talent level with effort. Much of the league was cruising or tanking. Coach Jason Kidd wanted his kids hustling at all times. If you assume that Milwaukee’s money-making was the result of a lethargic league, their value will disappear in the postseason. Chicago was a bit overpriced, but that’s common for a team that’s a bit too respected and loved by oddsmakers and the Chicago squares who bet in Las Vegas.



Chicago 103, Milwaukee 91

Shooting Pct: Milwaukee 39%, Chicago 46%

Three-Pointers: Milwaukee 4/16, Chicago 12/32

Free Throws: Milwaukee 17/26, Chicago 15/22

Rebounds: Milwaukee 41, Chicago 52

Turnovers: Milwaukee 13, Chicago 19

Vegas Line: Chicago by 8, total of 186.5

Chicago attempted 32 treys! They made enough for that to be a valuable strategy. And, a 26 of 51 performance on two-pointers clocked in at just over 50% inside the arc. Clearly pushing pace helped catch Milwaukee by surprise. Handicappers will have to make a determination about the likely strategy Monday. If Chicago slows down, then Monday is going to go well Under. Saturday only reached 194 with a breakneck pace and a dozen Chicago treys. If Chicago keeps running, we’re probably into the 190’s again. Note the big advantage for Chicago on the boards. That’s likely to matter through the series if they can own the glass. Milwaukee just isn’t a playoff caliber team in terms of EVERYTHING a team needs to do to win.

Monday’s Vegas Line: Chicago by 7.5, total of 188

The Over/Under nudged up a little bit off the first result. We’re currently seeing a half-point drop on the team side line because of the market’s general zig-zag strategy in the playoffs. A lot of bettors take the loser of Game One in Game Two.

Should YOU do that? Don’t make a move until you hear what JIM HURLEY has to say! You can purchase the final word for Monday right here at the website with your credit card (Game Two of New Orleans/Golden State is also on the ticket, along with baseball). If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours Monday.

Here in the NOTEBOOK, it’s going to be wall-to-wall playoff basketball for the forseeable future. Take a look at what’s coming up in the next week…

Tuesday: Boston at Cleveland (series discussion and a review of Game One)

Wednesday: Portland at Memphis (series discussion and a review of Game One)

Thursday: Golden State at New Orleans Game Three Preview

Friday: Toronto at Washington (series discussion and a review of Games One and Two)

Saturday: Atlanta at Brooklyn (series discussion and a review of Games One and Two)

Sunday: Cleveland at Boston Game Four Preview

Monday: Either Game Four of Memphis/Portland or Game Five of Milwaukee/Chicago

There’s plenty of great basketball ahead. And, what we’re watching this week is just a tune-up for the thrills and chills of the later rounds. Don’t just watch the games on TV. WATCH, WIN, and GET ALL THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!


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Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley

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