Raptors-Bucks Betting Guide: Will Red-Hot Milwaukee Keep Rolling?
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Giannis Antetokuonmpo (34), Kawhi Leonard (2).
Betting Odds: Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks
- Spread: Bucks -5
- Over/Under: 225.5
- Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- TV channel: NBA TV
>> All odds as of 3 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets
The 28-12 Toronto Raptors, who are struggling lately against the spread, will travel to Milwaukee to face the 27-10 red-hot Bucks.
Can the Raps turn things around without Lowry or will Milwaukee keep rolling? Our analysts are here to discuss.
Betting Trends to Know
The Bucks beat up on the Hawks at home on Friday night and are now facing the Raptors in Milwaukee tonight. So far this season, teams with at least one day of rest have run over teams on a back-to-back, going 78-57 (57.8%) against the spread, profiting bettors 17.2 units.
Since the 2005-06, only one other season has finished profiting more units for bettors backing the team not playing on consecutive days — the 2009-10 season, which ended 201-166-5 (54.8%), profiting bettors 24.2 units.
This season, conference opponents in this spot are 54-38 (58.7%) ATS, including 25-9 (73.5%) ATS as conference opponents since December 1, covering the spread by 4.5 points per game. — Evan Abrams
Moore: What I’m Watching For Tonight
These are the two best teams in the East for a reason, but the Raptors are showing real cracks in their foundation.
Since Dec. 1, the Raptors have a negative point differential (-0.1 per 100 possessions) and are just 9-8. Kyle Lowry was upgraded to questionable vs. the Spurs the other night, but ultimately didn’t play. He’s doubtful tonight, and Jonas Valanciunas is still out.
The Raptors’ small-ball units still present a big issue for Milwaukee, though. They can cover Brook Lopez on the perimeter with Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam, more effectively containing him. They have the length to throw at Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The issue is going to be scoring enough. The Raptors are 17th in Offensive Rating dating back to the beginning of last month.
Here’s the good news: In losses, the Bucks have the second-worst Offensive Rating of any team in the league, scoring less than 99 points per 100 possessions. When they lose, they go ice-cold. They just almost never lose, probably because they are almost never ice-cold.
This game has real stakes.
Not only is it a battle of the top-two teams in the conference, both with real Finals aspirations, and two MVP candidates in Leonard and Antetokounmpo — but if the Milwaukee wins, it clinches the tiebreaker over Toronto 3-0 in the season series.
Those three games could be huge down the stretch in the battle for home court throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Keep an eye out for the bench mobs here. Toronto’s just hasn’t been the same with the injuries to Fred VanVleet this season and the trade of Jakob Poeltl for Leonard. Since Dec. 1, the Bucks have been killing it with George Hill and D.J. Wilson on the floor. — Matt Moore
Mears: How I’m Handicapping Tonight’s Game
So far this season, the Bucks have dominated the Raptors, holding them to 99 and 109 points in two wins.
The Bucks’ defensive scheme held true during those two games: They gave up very few shots in the paint, allowing Toronto to fire away from 3-point range. The Raps weren’t up to the task, going 9-of-38 (23.7%) in the first game and 15-of-42 (35.7%) in the second.
Lowry, who is doubtful tonight, particularly struggled. He was held to just nine points on 3-of-14 shooting in the first game, going 0-of-9 from behind the arc. It was even worse in December, as he failed to score a single point in 34 minutes of action. All five of his shots were 3s, and he missed them all.
The Bucks certainly have excellent defenders to throw at Toronto’s best offensive players, including Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon. Length galore.
But the shooting data from their matchups this season is weird. The Raptors are averaging 22.1 field goal attempts (18.1 of which are 3-pointers) classified as “wide open” — a defender six-plus feet away.
Against the Bucks, they averaged 33.5 “wide open” field goal attempts, 29.0 of which were 3-pointers. The problem: They hit just 34.3% of the field goals, going just 31.0% from behind the arc.
That seems like something that will regress, although Lowry being doubtful is still concerning. The Raps are 3-7 ATS without him, and with him off the floor Toronto shoots 5.7% worse on 3-pointers overall and a ridiculous 11.1% worse on corner 3s.
If Lowry was playing, I’d be willing to bet on the “the Raps were unlucky in the first two games” angle. With him likely out, however, this line is a stay-away for me, and I’ll instead look to buy low on the Raps vs. the Bucks next time they play — especially in the playoffs, and especially if the public is high on Milwaukee in this matchup after winning the first three regular-season games. — Bryan Mears
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.