They have yet to beat the NBA odds in this series, but Thursday’s blowout loss could make the Toronto Raptors worth a look in Game 4 versus the Milwaukee Bucks.
Straight cash, homey. Game 3 between the Toronto Raptors and the Milwaukee Bucks broke our way here at the ranch; the Raptors couldn’t hit a bucket, losing 104-77 and sending this game UNDER the posted total of 197 points. We were thinking about fading Toronto for our NBA picks, but the total looked prudent at the time.
Now that the Raptors are 0-3 ATS in this series, we might be tempted to give Milwaukee a spin for Game 4 on Saturday (3:00 p.m. ET, TNT). Or maybe that shellacking they took in Game 3 will cause the market to over-react and give Toronto some betting value. Let’s see what we’ve got on the NBA odds board, shall we? Hmmm... the Raptors are 2-point road dogs, just where they were on Thursday. So much for over-reaction.
Maybe these two reactions (pro-Milwaukee and pro-Toronto) are balancing themselves out. Our consensus surveys at press time show a 50/50 split in support, although in reality, there might be a little more interest in the Bucks, who opened at –1.5 here and there before moving to –2. We should also note that the total has moved from 194.5 to 195.5, still below the Game 3 closing total of 197.
Market aside, this looks like a strong bounce-back situation for the Raptors. The old Zigzag Theory doesn’t work like it used to; once you get past Game 3, the two teams in a playoff series have usually adjusted and counter-adjusted that potential profit margin into the ground. But this Game 4 is a special situation. Toronto absolutely mailed it in on Thursday after going down by 20 in the first quarter. They’re highly unlikely to do that again Saturday night.
It’s not just the effort level. The Raptors couldn’t make a bucket in Game 3 – literally, in the case of DeMar DeRozan (0-for-8 from the field). That was partly because of poor effort, but there was plenty of bad luck involved, too. And while head coach Dwane Casey didn’t give Lucas Nogueira (+5.5 BPM) the extended burn we’d like to see against Milwaukee’s tall trees, he did let Delon Wright (+1.1 BPM) run free for 27 minutes. Baby steps.