NBA Betting: Does Doc Rivers Make the Bucks a Smart Bet to Win It All?

Michael Savio pic
By:
Michael Savio
01/25/2024
NBA

Highlights

  • The Bucks currently own a record of 31-13
  • Milwaukee currently ranks twenty-fifth in opponent scoring (120.4 PPG)
  • Reports were the team had lost faith in Adrian Griffin

The NBA has had a busy week, but few stories were bigger than the Milwaukee bucks deciding to fire their first-year coach. Adrian Griffin was officially fired on Tuesday, and the Bucks signed veteran coach Doc Rivers to take over.

The Bucks have been a top five favorite to win the title, but their poor defense and depth made them an unappealing option for many bettors. Below, we will break down how the Doc Rivers hire changed the Bucks odds to win the title, what problems he will need to address, and how we think he will improve this team.

Updated NBA Championship Odds   

The Problems Plaguing the Bucks

While Milwaukee’s 31-13 record is impressive, it does not tell the whole story. This Bucks team has not looked right, often relying on late-game heroics from Damian Lillard or massive stats from Giannis Antetokounmpo. That combination wins a lot of games alone, which is exactly what they have been doing.

One big issue for the Bucks is the play of the rest of this roster. Khris Middleton (14.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 4.9 APG) seems to be returning to form and settling in as the team’s third-scoring option. Brook Lopez has also been solid, but the same cannot be said for the rest of the roster.

Bobby Portis has seen his numbers dip, as has Pat Connaughton. Cam Payne is still finding his place with a new team, and Jar Crowder missed a large chunk of the season with an injury. While Dame and Giannis can carry the load, Milwaukee will need one of these players to step up if they want to be a true title contender.

Aside from the roster, the Bucks also have a major problem on defense. After years of being ranked among the best, the team ranks twenty-fifth in opponent scoring (120.4 PPG) this season. We have seen high-scoring teams that can’t play defense and they don’t win championships. If the Bucks and Doc Rivers can’t fix that, it will be another short playoff run.

How Doc Rivers Improves the Bucks

After the surprising firing of Adrian Griffin, reports began trickling in that he had lost the locker room. The team did not have confidence in the first-year coach, believing he was not able to make adjustments or shoulder the blame for the team’s poor play on defense. There were also reports that Dame was struggling with Griffin’s offense, which led to a sporadic start for the superstar.

A veteran coach like Rivers can fix a lot of those issues. While his playoff struggles are well documented, Rivers has won an NBA Championship. That is a big deal when coaching a team a few years removed from title. He will have their respect from the moment he steps into the locker room.

Rivers experience means he knows how to coach an elite team like the Bucks. He has coached several teams with multiple superstars, and he has built them into powerhouses. The Bucks need that, especially with a lot of new pieces. Rivers will know how to help Dame settle in and should find a way to spark the rest of the roster.

We also believe Rivers can help improve the Bucks defense. Yes, losing Jrue Holiday will hurt your defense, but it shouldn’t be by this much. Milwaukee still has two elite post defenders in Giannis and Lopez, so the problem is more likely scheming than a lack of ability. Rivers has the experience to find a way to fix that.

While Doc Rivers’ playoff woes are a cause for concern, there is no questions that this team now has all the tools it needs to win and NBA Championship.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.