Raptors 2nd Best in NBA at Home ATS; Getting 1.5 Points vs Bucks

Serge Ibaka dunks
Can the Raptors keep their home success rolling against the Bucks? Photo from @NBACanada (Twitter)
  • The Toronto Raptors have the 2nd best record in the NBA at home against the spread, and are coming off a franchise record 46-point blowout of the Pacers on Sunday
  • Milwaukee is on the second night of a back-to-back after surviving in OT against the Wizards on Monday night 
  • Get the odds, analysis and betting prediction for the game below

The Eastern Conference’s two best teams clash on Tuesday 25th at 7:30 PM EST on TNT. The Milwaukee Bucks are on the second night of a back-to-back after an overtime victory against the Washington Wizards, while the Toronto Raptors have enjoyed an extra day of rest following their blowout Sunday night win over the Indiana Pacers.

The latest Milwaukee Bucks vs Toronto Raptors odds favor the Eastern Conference’s leaders by 1.5 points. The Bucks won by 10 points when the two teams matched up at Fiserv Forum in early November.

Milwaukee Bucks vs Toronto Raptors Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under at Bovada
Milwaukee Bucks -1.5 (-115) -120 O 231 (-110)
Toronto Raptors +1.5 (-105) EVEN U 231 (-110)

Odds taken Feb. 25th

Elite Defenses

The Bucks and Raps are the two best defensive teams in the NBA. That doesn’t tell the full story, however. Milwaukee’s defensive rating is almost three points lower than Toronto’s – they are historically dominant on the defensive end.

Their defensive profiles are similar. Both teams give up a lot of three-point attempts (Bucks rank 30th, the Raps are 29th), but excel at preventing two-point makes. Milwaukee lead the league in opponent two-point field goal percentage and Toronto sit fourth in that category.

They are selective about who they give space to shoot the three. Subpar three-point shooters are allowed to pull up from range, with their defender sagging off to prevent drives into the paint.

When it comes to defending shots inside six feet, Milwaukee have the three best in the league for defended field goal percentage (of players who have played more than 30 games). The Lopez brothers and Giannis Antetokounmpo are elite at contesting shots while avoiding foul trouble.

The Raptors aren’t blessed with the same level of interior defenders, but they are more aggressive, forcing 8.8 steals per game. They lead the league in deflections. Against a spaced Bucks offense, reading passing lanes and disrupting their ball movement is going to be crucial.

Siakam’s Importance

Pascal Siakam is scoring 23.5 per game over his last 15, but his three-point shooting has been poor, connecting on just 32.6% of his attempts. He’s been shooting almost 37% from deep for the season.

As the Raps’ first choice offensive option, Siakam needs to shoot the three well on Tuesday night. He was held to just 16 points by the Bucks back in November and struggled to impact the game inside. He had six three-point attempts in that game, which is pretty much his average for the season.

The Bucks will look to force him to shoot from deep on Tuesday, a good shooting night – like his 5-for-9 against Phoenix or 6-for-8 against Minnesota – could be the difference between victory and defeat for the reigning champions.

Kyle Lowry got hot from deep and scored 36 when the teams met in November. Toronto need something similar from at least one of their starters to topple the Bucks.

Fatigue Is Crucial

Like every other metric, the Bucks are the best in the league on the second night of back-to-backs, winning all seven of their games. None of those opponents were as challenging as a road game in Toronto, and none of the others followed an overtime game. The extra day of rest, and the Raptors’ starters having a light work load against the Pacers, could prove crucial.

Even with fatigue as a potential issue for the Bucks, the Raptors need to be on top of their game. Their recent performances suggest they will be.

It’s a big night in the race for the Eastern Conference’s second seed. Toronto look at a good bet at +1.5 in a what could be a preview of the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals.

Pick: Toronto Raptors +1.5 (-105)

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