The Toronto Raptors made some changes for Game 4, and not only did they beat the NBA odds, they beat the Milwaukee Bucks to tie the series. Can they take Game 5, too?
It was looking pretty shaky there for a while, but score another one for the good guys: The Toronto Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks 87-76 Saturday afternoon, covering as 2.5-point road dogs and knotting their first-round series at two games apiece. Game 5 is Monday night (7:00 p.m. ET, NBA-TV) in Toronto, and the Raptors have opened as 6.5-point favorites on the NBA odds board. That’s down from –8 for the first two games.
Is this value? Could be, especially at those books who have already moved to Toronto –6 at press time. The betting market appears ready to zag toward Milwaukee for Game 5, after they suffered through some uncharacteristically poor shooting in Game 4; the Bucks hit just five of their 21 trey attempts, and all five of those were by Tony Snell, who shot 5-for-10 from downtown. But with the Zigzag already priced, in, Toronto might still be the right NBA pick for Monday’s matchup.
It’s not like the Raptors were shooting the lights out, either. They went just 5-of-22 from long range, but again, there was one bright spot: Norman Powell, who hit all three of his 3-pointers after being promoted to the starting lineup in place of Jonas Valanciunas. This was a very important tactical decision by Toronto head coach Dwane Casey. Going small against Milwaukee’s starting lineup was risky, and it wasn’t paying a lot of dividends, but Valanciunas got to play in the fourth quarter as a result, and he was a big part of the reason Toronto won the game.
— Simonna (S.Milinyte) (@Simonna) April 22, 2017
There are still some adjustments that Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd can make. But he doesn’t really have to change much; again, the Bucks were doing just fine in Game 4, posting a plus-1 in 15 minutes against Toronto’s revamped starting lineup. Some better luck with their shooting would go a long way. Enough to cover the spread? That’s hard to say, but the total has dropped to 192.5 points for Game 5, the lowest total of the series thus far – and a full five points lower than Game 1. We’ll buy that for a dollar.