The Toronto Raptors couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn in Game 1. But the NBA odds haven’t changed for Game 2 of their first-round series with the Milwaukee Bucks.
That went about as poorly as Toronto Raptors supporters could have expected. For the fourth straight year, the Raptors have lost their first game of the postseason, but Saturday’s series opener with the Milwaukee Bucks was the worst of the bunch. Toronto lost 97-83 as 8-point home faves, up from –7 at the open. Our only consolation here at the ranch was getting the Raps in our NBA picks at the lower price.
As usual, the betting market hasn’t really moved much since Game 1. The Raptors are 7.5-point faves for Game 2 on Tuesday (7:00 p.m. ET, NBA-TV (hah!)), holding steady since the open; they did fall to –7 on the NBA odds board under heavy action before bouncing back to –7.5. Our consensus reports at press time still show 59 percent support for the T-Dot.
If the market hasn’t changed, why should we? The results of Game 1 were beyond the pale – Milwaukee hit almost all their shots in the second half, and Toronto didn’t, finishing the game at 5-of-23 from behind the arc. Not that the Bucks didn’t perform well; as expected, they were pesky on defense, blocking five shots and forcing 10 Raptor turnovers. This was more a case of bad luck than a bad play by the home side.
There are still a few things about the Raptors that could doom them in this series. Their lineup as constructed isn’t equipped to deal with the length of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Thon Maker, so if head coach Dwane “Stop Calling Me Dwayne” Casey isn’t willing to go back to 7-foot Lucas Nogueira (+5.5 BPM, by the way) for serious minutes off the bench, Toronto might need more than just better luck to win this series. DeMar DeRozan will also have to stop driving to the cup for and-1s against these giants if the refs are going to continue letting them “play MMA” instead of basketball. But we’ll ride the Zigzag Theory and assume the Raps do make the necessary adjustments for Game 2.