Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo is the two-time reigning NBA MVP, and Dallas' Luka Doncic actually opened this season as the betting favorite to win his first – and while Doncic won't win it this year, he's going to win at least one MVP in his career barring injury. Unfortunately for NBA fans, a matchup between those two incredibly unique European talents will most likely not happen Thursday when the Bucks visit the Mavericks as the Greek Freak is listed as doubtful. It's possible Kristaps Porzingis sits for Dallas, which is -2 on the William Hill Sportsbook NBA odds, but as things stand he apparently will play.
Those of you who bet on the Bucks-Warriors game Tuesday in San Francisco and had taken Golden State at +7 were rewarded about 45 minutes before tipoff when Giannis was ruled out with left knee soreness – pretty rare when a player originally listed as probable doesn't play. The Freak is one of two players in the league averaging at least 25 points (28.8), 10 rebounds (11.4) and five assists (6.2) this season – the other is William Hill MVP favorite Nikola Jokic of Denver.
Milwaukee still should have won Tuesday as it led by 10 with just over four minutes left, but then Steph Curry went nuts and the Dubs prevailed 122-121 to drop the Bucks to 3-2 on this six-game road trip through the Western Conference. Bobby Portis should start for Giannis again Thursday; Portis had 13 points and 13 rebounds Tuesday for his 6th double-double of the season, which surpassed his total from all of last season.
The Mavericks aren't listing Porzingis on the first injury report of Thursday, but they tend to sit him in one end of a back-to-back so it will be important to check the 5:30 p.m. ET update. Dallas clearly was caught in a trap game Wednesday off a huge upset of Utah on Monday and ahead of this game as the Mavs' five-game winning streak was snapped in a 102-93 loss at tanking Houston.
Porzingis played well with 23 points on 10-for-19 shooting and 12 rebounds but also logged 36 minutes. Doncic was 9-for-26 for 23 points. Josh Richardson, who was in question, was 0-for-9 with one point in 29 minutes.
On Jan. 15, the Bucks beat the visiting Mavericks 112-109. Giannis had 31 points but was 1-for-10 from the free-throw line. Khris Middleton scored eight points of his 25 points in the final 2 1/2 minutes. Doncic had 28 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds, and Porzingis 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Mavericks swept the 2019-20 season series vs. Milwaukee, marking the first time in franchise history they swept a team with the eventual best winning percentage in the NBA in a single season. Dallas has covered the spread in 12 of the past 16 meetings.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it has returned almost $8,800 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. The model is up more than $900 on its top-rated picks this season, and dating back to last year, it enters Week 16 of the 2020-21 NBA schedule on a stunning 93-59 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread. Anybody who has followed it has seen HUGE returns.