Raptors vs. Bucks Odds, Pick, Prediction | NBA Betting Preview
Via Cole Burston/Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks dribbles against Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors during the first half of their NBA game at Scotiabank Arena on January 4, 2023 in Toronto, Canada.
- The Bucks are heavy home favorites on Sunday night against the Raptors.
- The Bucks also have a rest advantage, which could pose a challenge to Scottie Barnes in particular.
- Find Jim Turvey's expert NBA betting pick and analysis below.
Raptors vs. Bucks Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
As the Toronto Raptors head to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks on Sunday night, it’s fair to say we are officially in the stretch run of the NBA season.
The Bucks have just a dozen games left, while the Raptors will be down to 10 after Sunday’s showdown. Both teams still have plenty to play for, with the Bucks only two games up on both the Boston Celtics and the hard-charging Philadelphia 76ers for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Raptors, meanwhile, have turned things around a bit after the All-Star Break, having gone 7-5 since then and winning 12 of their last 18 overall. Those wins have put them in position to almost certainly make the play-in round this year, but that 7-10 cluster is tight as can be, with one loss separating each of the four teams.
Each game is going to matter in the home stretch for these teams, and it makes for great viewing. Find a betting preview and prediction below for Raptors vs. Bucks.
Can Barnes Step Up for the Raptors?
For as well as the Raptors have played of late, this opening line looks a little strange. Sure, the Bucks are the top seed in the East, but by most rating systems, they’re only a 3-4 point favorite on the Raptors on a neutral court. Add 2-3 points for home court, and we’re only around Bucks -6.
So what gives?
This is a terrible rest disadvantage spot for the Raptors.
Toronto played Saturday night at home and then instantly had to hit the road. The Bucks, on the other hand, have been sitting at home resting since hosting the Pacers on Thursday.
Playing on zero days rest this season has been a legitimate bugaboo for Scottie Barnes this season. For the year as a whole, he’s averaging 15.6 points per game on 45/30/77 shooting splits. However, in the 10 games in which he has played on zero days of rest, those numbers plummet to: 12.1 points per game on 43/8(!!)/63 shooting.
Now there’s no way Barnes is a true talent eight-percent 3-point shooter on no days rest, but I think there’s a bit of signal to this for a few reasons: He’s still a young player who is not as used to the rigors of the NBA schedule. Some of rumors of issues around the organization include that he sees himself as the chosen one and maybe doesn’t put in the work needed to be at that level. This is the second straight season he has seen this type of gap on no days rest.
I’ll be eyeing his point total to go under on Sunday.
Bucks Pose a Matchup Problem
For the Bucks, this is the side I would lean toward playing if I had to go one way on the spread. We laid out the massive rest edge they have above, but they are also just a bad matchup for the Raptors.
Toronto hits the offensive glass hard and relies on second-chance points for a good chunk of its offense. Only the Knicks and Rockets average more second-chance points a game. The bad news is that the Bucks are the fourth-best defensive rebounding team and have consistently done well cleaning the defensive glass in the Giannis Era.
The Raptors also allow the second-highest field goal percentage from 3 to their opponents. The Bucks rank fourth in 3s per 100 possessions and 11th in 3-point field goal percentage.
The Bucks have won both the previous two matchups between these teams this season, and the matchup plays a role in that.
You can find Scottie Barnes’ point total at under 16.5 (-121) at Caesars right now, and I would play that number all the way down to under 14.5 at plus money. To sum up the case from above, he performs poorly on no rest.
As for the Bucks, I’m going to be on their side of the spread, but this is just a lean since the Bucks juiced the number with the rest edge. The good news is sharp money came in on the Bucks, but the number hasn’t jumped, so while it’s still -9.5 most places, you can get -8.5 (-115) as of writing.
Pick: Scottie Barnes Under 16.5 Points (-121 at Caesars | Lean Bucks -8.5)
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