Bucks vs. Raptors Game 1 Betting Preview: How Important Is Milwaukee’s Rest Advantage?

Bucks vs. Raptors Game 1 Betting Preview: How Important Is Milwaukee’s Rest Advantage? article feature image

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo (34).

Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks Betting Odds

  • Spread: Bucks -6
  • Over/Under: 217.5
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: TNT

>> All odds as of Tuesday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

The Raptors needed a Kawhi Leonard series-winning buzzer-beater to escape Round 2, while the Bucks have been off for a while.

Will that rest disparity matter in Game 1? Our analysts discuss.

Betting Trends to Know

In the Conference Semifinals against the Sixers, Toronto exorcised some of its Game 1 demons by beating Philly 108-95 as a 6.5-point favorite. Still a good reminder: Toronto is 4-13 against-the-spread (ATS) in Game 1 of playoff series in franchise history, including 1-6 straight-up on the road. Since the 2014 playoffs, the Raptors are 2-9 ATS in Game 1s, failing to cover the spread by 9.7 points per game. – Evan Abrams

Did You Know? The Raptors and Bucks enter the Conference Finals both with a win percentage of 70% or higher — one of the most anticipated Conference Finals in the East in some time. In fact, it is the first Eastern Conference Finals with two teams at that win threshold since the 2011 Finals between the Bulls and Heat, a series won by the favored Heat in five games. – Abrams

The Bucks (-310) are favored to beat the Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals. In the last decade, only two series underdogs have won a Conference Finals (2-18 overall): the 2012 Oklahoma City Thunder (+175) over the San Antonio Spurs and the 2010 Boston Celtics (+220) over the Orlando Magic. Both teams failed to win an NBA title that season. – Abrams

The Bucks eliminated the Celtics in five games last Wednesday. Milwaukee has had seven days to prepare for the start of the Eastern Conference finals. The extra rest should be a benefit to Giannis & Co.: Since 2005, home teams in the playoffs with at least four days between games have gone 103-60 (63.4%) ATS. – John Ewing

Locky: How I’m Betting Game 1

I’d be really weary of using any regular season numbers from the matchups between these teams as part of a handicap for a variety of reasons.

The teams never played after the Raptors acquired Marc Gasol, and he has become a huge part of their playoff rotation. Malcolm Brogdon played in all four games for Milwaukee against Toronto as well. Whatever advantages one team may have had over another is sort of negated by those two points, combined with the fact that I think Kawhi Leonard is playing more at his peak form than he was during any regular season game.

What is very real is the fatigue and unfamiliarity Toronto enters Game 1 with: Only seven players played minutes in Game 6, and all of Toronto’s non-Danny Green starters played huge minutes. It was one of the most physical games of the entire playoffs, if not the most physical.

There has to be some toll for that, and I’m not sure it can be entirely quantified. What I will say is that Milwaukee has a strong home-court advantage, and when removing that, the difference between these teams in these states is probably more than 2-3 points.

I usually do not bet Game 1s particularly heavily, and if I do it’s usually on an underdog who people don’t realize is as closely matched to their opponent as they really are (or are going to be in the series).

In this game (and in the Western Conference’s Game 1) the setups are just so ideal for the home teams, though. I will have a small bet on the Bucks at -6, and if the Raptors want to keep being awful in Game 1s in general, that’d be great. –Ken Barkley

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.