Eastern Conference Playoffs: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors Game 1 Predictions

Raptors-v-Bucks

Jason Lake

Friday, April 14, 2017 3:03 PM GMT

Friday, Apr. 14, 2017 3:03 PM GMT

Throw two small-market NBA teams together – say, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors – and you’re going to have some pretty tight basketball odds to deal with. Check how SBR capper Jason Lake breaks down this Eastern Conference matchup and shares his free pick. 

Yesterday, we asked the musical question: Do the Toronto Raptors still have betting value now that they’re facing the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the NBA playoffs? The series prices are out now, and the answer is... maybe? BetOnline has the Raptors pegged at –365 to advance, and FiveThirtyEight gives them a 78-percent chance of advancing, which translates to –354 using our delightful SBR Betting Odds Converter. Nothing much to work with there.

How about against the spread? Toronto (51-31 SU, 45-36-1 ATS) opened as a 7-point home fave on the NBA odds board for Saturday’s series opener, tipping off at 5:30 p.m. Eastern – and the miracle of miracles, it’s not on NBA-TV, it’s on ESPN. So guess what FiveThirtyEight thinks of Game 1? Yup, Toronto –7 according to their projections. Humbug.
 

My Canada Includes Wisconsin

This is what happens when you put the Raptors and the Bucks (42-40 SU, 36-46 ATS) on the same court together. These are two, shall we say, regional franchises. They might have betting value against a public darling like the Cleveland Cavaliers, but against each other, that advantage disappears.

Toronto might have some other hidden advantages. These projections are based on regular-season stats; in their season series, the Raptors went 3-1 SU and ATS, the lone defeat coming in March with Kyle Lowry (+6.6 BPM) out of commission. Granted, the Bucks have had better results since Khris Middleton (–0.5 BPM) made his debut in early February, but they also have a point differential of minus-1.1 since the All-Star break, compared to minus-0.2 on the season.

                                                                                 


One other thing: This is basically our first real chance to see what the Raptors can do with Lowry back in the lineup alongside his new teammates, Serge Ibaka (–2.1 BPM) and P.J. Tucker (+1.1 BPM). Ibaka’s BPM doesn’t look very good, but he only played three games with Lowry at the end of the regular season, and Ibaka was a plus-player in all three. Toronto went 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS in those games. We’ll recommend the Raptors for your NBA picks based on that upside, and may the sphere be with you.



Free NBA Pick: Toronto –7
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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