The race for first place in the Eastern Conference is heating up as we enter the final two weeks of the regular season. Our Milwaukee Bucks vs Philadelphia 76ers predictions will focus on two primary candidates to secure the top seed in the East.
There’s still just one game separating the top four teams in the East, with the Bucks and 76ers both sharing identical 46-28 records heading into their matchup.
With this being the final meeting between the pair, and the previous two being split at one win a piece, the importance of securing a tiebreak advantage against one another is crucial in this game.
Health not an Issue
Often we see NBA point spreads and predictions impacted by the impending injury report updates that feature at least one marquee player from either side during the regular season, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.
The 76ers have a clean bill of health as the careful management of their superstar duo of James Harden and Joel Embiid remains a priority in these final weeks of the regular season.
The Bucks aren’t likely to miss any of their key pieces either, with Giannis Antetokounmpo listed as probable on the official injury report. All signs do point to the two-time MVP taking the floor, though, after returning from a niggling knee issue in their loss to the Memphis Grizzlies last time out.
Strength of Schedule Favors Philly
When looking at the remaining eight games for both teams, it’s fair to say that this game is of greater importance to the road team here, which also gives a pathway of sorts to analyzing the Milwaukee Bucks vs Philadelphia 76ers predictions.
After this, Philadelphia plays just two more games against teams currently in a playoff spot — on the road at the Cleveland Cavaliers and at the Toronto Raptors.
They have two games apiece against the tanking Detroit Pistons and the flailing Indiana Pacers still to come, along with a home clash against the Charlotte Hornets.
Meanwhile, the Bucks follow this up with a road game against a desperate and healthy Brooklyn Nets team that will have all its firepower available.
They also have games at home vs. the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics remaining, as well as a road game against the division rival Chicago Bulls, who are fighting to avoid dropping into the play-in spots.
In fact, Milwaukee’s only remaining game against a team not in the top eight of either conference comes when they travel to take on the Detroit Pistons on the second last day of the season.
Is Losing Beneficial?
The biggest point of emphasis for teams among the top four teams at the moment is whether dropping games to finish in the third or fourth seed is a better outcome than finishing in the top two and potentially landing a date with the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs.
The fact that losing is potentially a welcome option for either side makes the Milwaukee Bucks vs Philadelphia 76ers betting predictions outcome incredibly complex.
The Nets are almost guaranteed to wind up in the play-in tournament, which means their path to the playoffs will either land them in the seven or eight seed.
The fact that the race features two other teams who are within one game of both these sides is what makes the entire situation a web of confusion.
Everyone will ultimately prioritize health, but at some point there will also come a point where teams take a serious look at what their path to the Finals looks like and how to best approach the situation as a result.
My lean with the Milwaukee Bucks vs Philadelphia 76ers predictions is to side with the team that remains the more reliable against top-tier opposition — and that’s the reigning champion Bucks.
The Sixers still haven’t shown themselves capable of piecing it together against top teams with Harden and Embiid. They’re 4-5 straight up when the duo faces a playoff caliber opponent, which is worse when you add in that three of those wins came against slumping teams in the shape of Cleveland and Chicago.