Bucks vs. Pacers NBA expert prediction and odds for Eastern Conference playoffs Game 3 (Lay it with Indiana)

NBA betting preview, prediction and best bet for Bucks-Pacers.
Apr 23, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) shoots the ball against the Bucks.
Apr 23, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) shoots the ball against the Bucks. / Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a pivotal Game 3 on tap Friday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse as the Milwaukee Bucks visit the Indiana Pacers. Milwaukee pulled away in the series opener at Fiserv Forum but Indiana responded in a big way in Tuesday’s 125-108 victory to even the series. 

Milwaukee star center Giannis Antetokounmpo is listed as doubtful from a left calf strain he suffered in the final week of the regular season and the Pacers are a modest favorite at home. Do the Bucks pull out a road upset or does Indiana cruise? Here’s the betting preview for the matchup with a pick. 

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Bucks vs. Pacers odds, spread and total

Bucks vs. Pacers how to watch

  • Date: Friday, April 26 
  • Game time: 5:30 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Gainbridge Fieldhouse
  • How to watch (TV): ESPN 

Bucks vs. Pacers injury report

Milwaukee Bucks

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (calf strain): doubtful
  • Chris Livingston (illness): doubtful
  • Khris Middleton (ankle): questionable

Indiana Pacers

  • Bennedict Mathurin (shoulder): out 

Bucks vs. Pacers key players to watch

Milwaukee Bucks

Bobby Portis: Milwaukee’s frontcourt is obviously shorthanded with the Greek Freak sidelined and projected to be out again on Friday. Portis has turned in back-to-back double-doubles in this series, combining for 29 points and 22 rebounds, though he’s shot just 41.9% from the field. 

Indiana Pacers

Pascal Siakam: Siakam was a bright spot in Game 1 of the series, leading the Pacers with 36 points in a 109-94 defeat. In Game 2, he was the anchor of an efficient up-tempo Indiana attack, finishing with 37 points. He’s logged a double-double in each contest thus far, combining for 24 rebounds to go with eight assists. Siakam is shooting a sizzling 64.6% in the series. 

Bucks vs. Pacers prediction and pick

Should we expect more of the same in Game 3? Milwaukee won the first game of the series behind a big-time first-half performance from Damian Lillard. In Game 2, Indiana’s offense came back to life against a Bucks’ defense that ranks 21st in the NBA in scoring and is missing key rim protection.

This has not been the spot to back a struggling Milwaukee squad that is now 18-21 with Doc Rivers at the head of the bench. The Bucks are just 3-8 ATS as a road underdog this season and now will try to slow down a Pacers’ offense that averages 125.5 points per game. 

Milwaukee is in the bottom half of the league in defending shots from 2-point range and they are even more susceptible down low with Antetokounmpo out with the calf strain. The Pacers have found success in this series - specifically in Game 2 - in attacking the rim and that should be the formula Friday night to run past a Milwaukee squad that is now 3-5 straight up against playoff teams without Antetokounmpo on the floor. Lay the points with Indiana and fade a Milwaukee team that is 13-19-1 ATS this season after a loss. 

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.