Bucks With Great Value To Cover As Small Underdogs


Milwaukee Bucks (2-0 SU & ATS) vs. Toronto Raptors (0-2 SU & ATS)

Sunday, May 19, 2019 7:00 PM EST

NBA Free Picks: Milwaukee Bucks +2 (-101)

Recommended Sportsbook: Pinnacle

Toronto Raptors look to get back on track in game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. Milwaukee Bucks have a commanding 2-0 lead and a third straight win tonight would almost certainly spell doom.

To all intents and purposes, it’s a must-win game for tonight’s hosts. Can they come through for their Toronto faithful?

The No.2 seeds may be down in the series but they are up on the NBA odds board, installed as the nominal home favourites across sports betting markets. Now, let’s be clear home court advantage is the foremost deciding force in the way this market is cast. It’s certainly not based on Toronto’s form in this series.

Naturally, the Raptors could potentially flip the script, but they will really need to make a fist of it and find a way to counter the versatility and depth of the Milwaukee bench. They didn’t have an answer in the previous two games.

Not sure which is worse: that they may have fritted away their best chance to get one up on the Bucks in game 1. After leading for the better part of three quarters, they bottled it in the last 15 minutes of the game. Or the manner in which they were crushed in game 2, outmuscled and outplayed through four quarters?

Whichever it may be it’s certainly had an impact in the way public betting is coming down the wire. Toronto’s slight favourable outlook in spread betting markets has them trading currently at -2 across the board. This is, however, down from an opening -3-points that bookmakers went to press with, a dip that is a direct result of the wave of bets going towards the Bucks as far as consensus betting reports show us. Indeed, the Bucks have the slight edge in public opinion with approximately 55% of bets going towards the top seeds to cover as the road underdogs.

Does the public have it right?

Milwaukee Bucks have the momentum behind back-to-back wins in this series at home. They covered both those game with relative ease. In game 1, the Bucks covered as the -6.5 favourites behind a 108-100 victory. In game 2, they routed the Raptors in a 125-103 victory to cover as the -6.5 home favourites.

All told, it marked their sixth straight win and cover of the playoffs, extending their formidable run of form through two series. That speaks to a very specific intent, confidence and command of the game and playoffs befitting a top seed, which is hard to overlook.

In fact, a closer look reveals the following market performance by the Bucks (Table 1).

Table 1: Milwaukee Bucks Trends Against the Spread in Last 6 Games

Date Home/Away Opponent Closing Odds Win By Differential
04/30 Home Boston -7.5 W by 21 +13.5
05/03 Away Boston +1.5 W by 7 +8.5
05/06 Away Boston +1.0 W by 12 +13.0
05/08 Home Boston -8.5 W by 25 +16.5
05/15 Home Toronto -6.5 W by 8 +1.5
05/17 Home Toronto -6.5 W by 22 +15.5

We can see that the Bucks average winning margin (win by column above) over these last six games tallies up to 95 points. Divide that by six games 95/6 = 15.8 points. We can also see that the differential as a result (the average amount of points they cover the spread by) is quite significant as well at +11.41666 (differential average column). Add to that the fact that the Bucks are 10-1-0 ATS in the playoffs with a 15.3 winning margin on average and they boast a +7.4 differential over the course of the 11 games played thus far. Yikes.

In short, if this trend holds true the Bucks could make a meal of their laughable +2 underdog odds.