Get Your NBA Playoff EDGE
Tap here to start your FREE trial

Bucks-Raptors Betting Preview: Will Milwaukee’s Defense Hold Up?

Dec 09, 2018 12:54 PM EST
Credit:

Photo credit: USAToday Sports. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Betting odds: Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors

  • Spread: Raptors -5
  • Over/Under: 231.5
  • Time: 6 p.m. ET
  • TV: NBA TV

>> All odds as of 1 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets


Giannis vs. Kawhi. What more do you need on a Sunday evening than that? These two teams met earlier this year, but neither star played. With both of them back, which team has the edge? Our analysts discuss.


Mears: The Bucks’ One Big Weakness

In the first meeting this year between these two teams, the Bucks blew out the Raptors at home, 124-109. Almost nothing from that game is useful, however, as both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard were out. They’re both expected to play tonight.

By point differential, the Bucks (+9.1) and Raptors (+7.8) are the two best teams in the NBA this year. They both boast top-10 offenses and defenses, and they’re right there with Golden State as the best shooting teams.

The question in this matchup — and any matchup of the Bucks vs. the best teams in the league — is whether their schemes will hold up. It was just one game, but they really struggled last game against the Warriors, scoring just 95 points and posting an effective field goal rate of 42.9%.

Overall, that was probably just a poor shooting game. Their looks were fine — 45% of their shots came at the rim (87th percentile) and 38% came from the 3-point line (80th). They just didn’t hit anything, especially from 3, where they went just 17.9% — the second percentile of games this year.

On the year, the Bucks rank second in both shots at the rim and from the 3-point line; they’re first in field goal percentage at the rim and average from the 3-point line. The offense I believe will be fine, even against the league’s best squads.

But the defense will be a unit to monitor. The Bucks this year have really sold out to eliminating shots in the paint, and it’s worked. Only 28.9% of opponent shots have come at the rim, which is by far the best mark in the league. It comes with a cost, however, as they’re also first in the league in 30-pointers allowed.

The Raptors actually don’t get to the rim a whole lot this year — they rank 22nd in frequency — but they’re seventh in 3-point rate and fourth specifically from the corners. They’re just 23rd in 3-point field goal percentage, but they definitely have guys who can get hot.