Raptors Won’t Let Bucks Dictate Pace In Their Second Matchup

Jordan Sharp

Saturday, December 8, 2018 9:23 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 9:23 PM UTC

 

Both the Bucks and Raptors are coming off pretty high profile losses on Friday night. Which team should we bet on bouncing back in a battle of two of the East’s top teams?

Jordan’s NBA Picks: 11-10

Milwaukee (16-8 SU & 12-11-1 ATS) vs. Toronto (21-6 SU & 12-14 ATS)Sunday, 6:00 PM EST, NBATVFree NBA Pick: UNDERBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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The Raptors are coming off an overtime loss in Brooklyn, which needless to say is a bit embarrassing for the league’s best team. Granted, the Nets are better than a lot of people give them credit for, but at least the Bucks are coming off losing to the two-time defending champs, even though they were at home.

Two Locked In Defenses

Even in their losses on Friday, both of these teams exhibited their stellar defenses. The Bucks held the Warriors’ offense to just 105 points, while the Nets only got 106 points with an extra five minute overtime period.

Both the Bucks and Raptors rank among the top eight defenses in the NBA, which both of them allowing less than 107 points per 100 possessions. That has been on display even more lately. According to NBA Stats, since the calendar turned to December, the Raptors are allowing just 99.8 points per 100 possessions, while the Bucks are giving up just 102.1.

The question of how this game will play out though is not in the defense, but in the pace that the game will be played. The Bucks have been playing much faster this year under Mike Budenholzer and if the Raptors play up in pace and match the Bucks’ quick offense, this game should sore into over territory.

We saw this in their first meeting back in late October. The Bucks took off on the Raptors before they even knew what hit them. Milwaukee dropped 95 points in the first three quarters and the game was over after that with the Bucks leading by 15.

However, I doubt the Raptors will fall for that again, especially in their own building on a weekend day where the arena should be pretty amped up. The Raptors have the ability to slow this game down and make sure the Bucks play them. In the halfcourt. Also, the Bucks’ pace on the road drops a full two possessions so far this season, so there is reason to think that the under could be a sharp play.

The Sharp Pick

The Raptors are coming into this one cashing the under in four straight games and even though they have been much better at cashing the over this season overall, I think they are in a course correction right now.

As we get into the season more, scores will start to drop a little as teams have all played each other once and as each of them have a couple-dozen games of tape on their opponents each night. However, we have been in a season that has been higher scoring than usual. The public is aware of that by now, so in this prolific matchup, the under might be the play.

We saw just the other night on Friday how much the sportsbooks made the Bucks and Warriors game seem like it would be the highest scoring game of the night with a total of 241. The two teams barely scored 200 points.

Defense is becoming a more important factor at this point of the season. With this game holding a lot of potential playoff value, I expect both of these two teams to be locked in on that end of the floor. Plus, it could actually be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Finals Score Prediction: Bucks 107 – Raptors 112
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