2010-11 Milwaukee Bucks NBA Predictions and Odds

Doc MosemanCorrespondent IOctober 28, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 27:  Andrew Bogut #6 of the Milwaukee Bucks grabs a rebound during the game against the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena on October 27, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.   The Hornets defeated the Bucks 95-91.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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The Milwaukee Bucks were probably the biggest surprise in the NBA last year. The Bucks not only got into the playoffs, but they secured the sixth seed and nearly knocked out the Hawks in the first round. It would have been easy for this team to just rest on their accomplishments from last year, but the front office has been busy making this team better for 2010-11.

Scott Skiles, and his coaching staff, have an even more talented group of players to work with, which could make this team one to watch this year.

Milwaukee Bucks Offseason Moves

The Bucks were extremely active this offseason, as they work to move into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference. There were some moves that made a lot of sense, and some that were head-scratchers.

Corey Maggette was probably their biggest pickup. Maggette had a career year last season in Golden State, but he doesn’t have much experience playing for a winning team. Skiles will need to make sure Maggette buys into the team’s style of basketball, which is putting defensive effort first.

Milwaukee was also able to grab underrated forward Jon Brockman, which could really bolster their rebounding ability.

Drew Gooden was given a five-year deal worth $32 million to come in and shore up the front line of this team. Gooden is a solid player, but you have to wonder if they didn’t give him too long of a contract at this point. John Salmons was a key player in their late-season run last year, and they did well to re-sign him as well.

Chris Douglas-Roberts and Keyon Dooling were signed to give the team improved depth. Larry Sanders may take some time to develop, but I believe he was a good first round pick for this team.

2010-2011 Milwaukee Bucks Preview: Outlook

The Milwaukee Bucks have improved their depth greatly over the offseason, but they must continue to focus on defense if they are going to win consistently. Skiles is a great defensive coach and his team really bought into the system last year.

Brandon Jennings was absolutely terrific as a rookie point guard last season. Jennings is a playmaker that can single-handedly carry the team when he is hot. Andrew Bogut is still the franchise player, and in order for this team to contend when it counts they will need him healthy.

The Milwaukee Bucks schedule shows plenty of intriguing matchups on tap. The Bucks start out the season with a fairly easy schedule, so they need to get out of the gate quickly. On Dec. 28, the Bucks must travel to Chicago to take on the Bulls. The Bulls will probably be the team to beat in this division, so it will be a nice measuring stick for Milwaukee. The Bucks will finish off their regular season with a trip to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder.

2010-2011 Milwaukee Bucks NBA Odds

As the season grows closer, the sportsbooks are giving us even more options to wager on NBA futures for 2010-11. NBA handicappers have listed the Milwaukee Bucks at +2,000 to win the Eastern Conference. The Bucks are listed at +4,500 to win the NBA Championship. The Bucks are given odds of +1,200 to reach the Eastern Conference finals.

What about Milwaukee’s chances to win the Central Division? The books have Milwaukee listed as the second favorite at +250 to win the Central Division. The Bulls are favored at -125.

2010-2011 Milwaukee Bucks Futures Picks

The Bucks shocked everyone by going 46-36 a year ago. I think the team has more talent this year, and they could definitely hit the 50-win mark. It will all depend on whether the team chemistry is still good this year. They must also continue to buy into the defensive system that put them in the playoffs last year.

Milwaukee is a team on the rise right now, but the books won’t be surprised by them the way they were last season. At +250, the Bucks might be worth a small play to win the Central, but the Bulls do have the most talent in the division. I expect Milwaukee to improve their seeding, but I don’t think they can get any farther than the second round of the playoffs.

However, with a small-market team such as the Bucks there should be some nice lines available for them this season and I expect this team to be a money-maker.