The Milwaukee Bucks’ playoff push will begin without superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, who could miss his team’s entire first-round series with a calf injury. The Bucks will therefore need to lean on Damian Lillard and their supporting cast if they plan to advance to the second round.

Indiana’s players will undoubtedly enter this series feeling as though they really need to take advantage of Giannis’ absence, and they will certainly have a chance to do that if the regular-season series between these two teams is any indication.

It should be fascinating to watch this series unfold, so let’s get ready for it by making our NBA same-game parlay picks for the series-opener on Monday night.

Pacers vs. Bucks Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under – NBA Playoffs Betting Lines 4/21

Moneyline: Pacers (-115), Bucks (-105)
Spread: Pacers -1.5 (-105) , Bucks +1.5 (-115)
Total: Over/Under 232.5 points

Pacers vs. Bucks Injury Report

The only absence from the Pacers lineup right now is Bennedict Mathurin, who had season-ending shoulder surgery back in March. Other than that, this team is fully healthy and ready to go.

The Bucks, however, will be without their star, Giannis Antetokounmpo. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Milwaukee is preparing to play at least some of this series, if not the entire first round, without him.

Giannis missed the final three games of the regular season after pulling up with a calf strain. He will now have to fight his way back from that injury in order to help his team make a postseason run.

Pacers vs. Bucks Prediction and Pick

There is no debating the top storyline going into this series. The absence of an injured Giannis Antetokounmpo could be devastating for the Bucks this postseason, and it would be a colossal shame to see them bow out before he is healthy enough to return.

With Giannis out, the Bucks will need to rely on Damian Lillard, but he’s not quite at 100 percent health, either. Lillard, dealing with a lingering groin issue, has appeared on Milwaukee’s injury report this week, but a few days of much-needed rest should have him ready to go in time for Sunday.

The Bucks will need to reshape their offense without their superstar, which means more shooting opportunities for Lillard, as well as players such as Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis, who will both need to step up and make significant contributions to the final box score. Lopez, of course, has proven himself capable of increasing his production in postseasons past, while Portis was rightfully considered one of the greatest sixth men in the league this season.

The problem for the Bucks is that their 2023-24 regular-season record against Indiana was just 1-4. Making matters worse is the fact that Antetokounmpo played in all five of those games. Not only did he play, he also averaged 42 points and a double-digit rebound total in that regular-season series, yet was only able to help his team win once.

Giannis scored 54 points when the Bucks and Pacers met for the first time this season on Nov. 9, and the Bucks lost that game 126-124. Without him in their lineup, I’m not sure that the Bucks can keep up with Indiana’s fast-paced play and high-volume scoring.

Indiana’s 123.3 points-per-game average this season led the entire NBA, and although that was only four points per game more than what Milwaukee averaged, the Bucks have now lost their No. 1 scoring threat.

Some people might argue that Indiana’s style of play doesn’t translate well to the postseason and that fast-paced reckless basketball will eventually get them into trouble as things tighten up down the stretch. I disagree, because in my view this series offers the Pacers an opportunity to put the rest of the NBA on notice that they’re not just padding a stat sheet in their regular-season games.

Best NBA Same-Game Parlay Picks Today for Pacers vs. Bucks - NBA Playoffs Game 1: 4-Leg Parlay Picks (+900)

Total Points

This game is going to include heavy amounts of offense, even with Giannis Antetokounmpo out of action. The Indiana Pacers have been scoring at will this season, playing with a fast-paced intensity and boasting a roster full of talented shooters. Tyrese Haliburton often leads the way, but both Pascal Siakam and Myles Turner are more than capable of having a big night against Milwaukee.

To hit the over, the Bucks just need to score 110 points. That might be a tall order given their current circumstances, but Damian Lillard and Co. can still do it.

The Pacers have cashed overs in six of their last seven games. I expect the same here.

The Pick: Over 232.5 Points (-110)


I just don’t understand how this game is still expected to be so close, and that makes me wary. This is one of those games where one’s opinion and gut feeling can leave a person questioning the spread and wondering just what the oddsmakers are thinking.

That said, I’m still going with my gut. The Bucks beat the Pacers once this season, and they needed Giannis Antetokounmpo to score 64 points in order to do it. Yes, 64 points.

I have the Pacers winning this one by a double-digit margin. Let’s see if the oddsmakers can prove me wrong.

The Pick: Indiana Pacers -1.5 (+100)

Brook Lopez Points

Brook Lopez has proven to be a valuable asset for the Bucks in previous playoff years. He was, of course, instrumental in the team’s 2021 championship run, and even when Milwaukee crashed out early in 2023, Lopez still managed to average 19 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

Without Giannis Antetokounmpo in the lineup, point guard Damian Lillard will need to find other shooters to support the scoring. My favorite pick for a player to elevate his game and overshoot his average in that situation is Brook Lopez. Here’s to him shining in Game 1 -- draining a few threes and beating that 14.5-point total.

The Pick: Brook Lopez Over 14.5 Points (-105)

Tyrese Haliburton

Tyrese Haliburton can be a tough bet when it comes to his points total, given his remarkable consistency of averaging between 19 and 21 points per game. His line for this game is 20.5. At first glance, this appears to be a nail-biter for bettors.

However, having said that, it’s important to note that Hailburton has cleared this total in all five of his games against Milwaukee this season. Matchups between these two teams often result in high-scoring games, and since Indiana is already the NBA’s highest-scoring team to begin with, things look pretty good for Haliburton here.

He scored at least 26 points in four of the five Pacers-Bucks games this season, and he put up 22 in the outlier. I have confidence that he will provide the points here in Game 1, so I’ll take the over on the 20.5. At +100, this feels like pretty good value for a parlay, too.

The Pick: Tyrese Haliburton Over 20.5 Points (+100)

Odds are subject to change*

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