Bucks in a Bind for Game 6: Win or Go Home

Raptors vs Bucks

Jason Lake

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 8:26 PM GMT

The Toronto Raptors feasted on the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5. The basketball odds say Milwaukee will likely force a Game 7 up north, but it’s practically a coin-flip.

The betting market zigs, we zag. We’ve made some good coin on our NBA picks for the first-round series between the Toronto Raptors and the Milwaukee Bucks, mostly by taking advantage of the shifting totals; OVER 192.5 was our pick for Game 5, and although both teams shot the lights out, Toronto did the most damage in a relatively easy 118-93 win. Money money money, hubba hubba hubba.

Game 6 is in Milwaukee this Thursday, tip-off time and network yet to be determined (we’re still guessing NBA-TV), and the market is already on the move. The Bucks are 1.5-point favorites on the NBA odds board after opening at –1, and the total has climbed from 194.5 to 195.5. Do these line changes give us more betting value or take it away? Let’s investigate.
 

We The Norm

The fine folks at FiveThirtyEight have Milwaukee –1 as their Elo-based spread projection, so once again, the sportsbooks are keeping things close to the vest – as you’d expect in a matchup with no clear public favorite. However, our consensus reports show unanimous support for the Raptors at +1, and continued support at +1.5. Very interesting.

Toronto does appear to have captured lightning in a bottle with Norman Powell in the starting lineup and Jonas Valanciunas coming off the bench. And while those aforementioned Elo-based stats may be weighted toward recent results, they still don’t fully account for the additions of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline. The Bucks have depth, too, but not like this.
 

Bucks fans wish they had drafted Norman Powell.. wait they did... pic.twitter.com/leMyjhTOJp

— Raptors Nation (@RaptorsNationTO) April 25, 2017


And yet... chances are Powell won’t shoot 8-for-11 in Game 6 like he did Monday night. Ibaka probably won’t shoot 8-for-10. Now that the total is back up to 195.5 points, this looks like a good spot to take the UNDER, which was the right pick in both games in Milwaukee. It’d be nice if the total kept rising; we had UNDER 197 for Game 3, so consider waiting until closer to tip-off for a better price. The OVER has gotten 100-percent consensus thus far, and casual fans love betting the OVER. They zig. We zag.

Free NBA Pick: UNDER 196 (–105)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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