In a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, the Milwaukee Bucks (55-14) and Toronto Raptors (49-19) will get one last look at each other before the 2020 NBA playoffs. The Bucks have already locked themselves into this year’s No.1 seed. While the Raptors are one win away (or a loss by the Celtics) from guaranteeing themselves the No.2 spot in the Eastern Conference. The two teams are mostly healthy and are looking to gain some important momentum for the playoffs that begin the first-round action on August 18th. (Raptors back-up SF Patrick McCaw out indefinitely with a left knee injury)
As the Orlando Bubble heats up, NBA betting is as exciting as ever. If you are new to sports betting check out our page that explains all you need to know to comfortably bet on the NBA. Follow the action Monday, August 10, 5:30 pm EST on ESPN, as the Raptors try to avoid an 0-3 sweep in the season series with the Bucks. Check out some stats and analysis below to help you feel confident when betting.
Defense Wins Championships
The Milwaukee Bucks maintain the best defensive rating in the NBA for the 2nd straight year at an impressive 102.3, which is the lowest a team has posted since the 2015-2016 Spurs. The Toronto Raptors are a close second with a rating of 104.7. This statistical category measures the number of points a team allows per 100 possessions. Both teams understand that defense wins championships and you can see how well they communicate and trust each other on the defensive side of the ball when you tune in on Monday.
The Bucks and Raptors have similar philosophies on defense. They rank first and second in opponents’ points in the paint/game. They both pack the paint with defenders and force teams to shoot longer rang 2s and 3s. The Bucks allow a league-high average of 39.3 three-point shots/game. The Raptors give up the second most 3PA in the league, averaging 38.8 per game. Toronto has done a better job at forcing teams to miss three-point shots ranking (#1) in opponent’s three-point percentage at 33.5%. Milwaukee ranks (#16), giving up an average of 35.6% in opp3pt%.
Toronto Raptors vs Milwaukee Bucks: Offensive Differences
Although the Bucks and Raptors are employing similar defensive tactics and placing the utmost importance on defense each game, both are deadly on the offensive end. Milwaukee possesses Giannis Antetokounmpo — the reigning NBA MVP and frontrunner for both that award and the Defensive Player of the Year award. Giannis is a seven-foot monster with ball-handling skills that allow him to get to the rim at will. The Bucks score an average of 49.4 points in the paint/game ranking them (#4) in the NBA. They rank (#1) in the league in Pace with a score of 105.43, and also rank (#1) with 118.7 points/game and effective FG % of 55.4 (#1).
The defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors do not have a superstar quite like Giannis, ever since Kawhi Leonard departed this past off-season for the Clippers. The Raptors create offense from their defense, averaging 17.2% (#2) of their points off turnovers, and they rank (#1) with 19.1 fastbreak points/game. Although they like to run the fastbreak, they do not force it and actually like to play a slower-paced game, averaging 100.99 (#14) possessions/game. They are extremely effective at using all five guys on the court to find the best available shot. They average 53.5% (#3) in effective field goal percentage and 37.2% (#5) in three-point shooting percentage.
Something’s Got to Give
It seems Toronto has built their defensive strategy to beat teams built similar to Milwaukee. They will give up three-point shots to role players instead of letting players like Gianni’s drive and dunk on them. If Toronto can force turnovers and shoot a high percentage from the floor, especially from three, they will be able to knock off Milwaukee. This is easily foreseeable since the Bucks do not take care of the ball particularly well. They average 14.6 (#25) turnovers/game and are allowing teams to shoot 35.6% (#16) from three-point range.
Toronto will want to slow down the pace and force some tough shots. This will only benefit them if they can keep the rebounding numbers close because Milwaukee usually dominates opposing teams on the boards. Milwaukee ranks (#1) in rebounds/game while Toronto is (#12). The Bucks are also (#1) in the opponent’s offensive rebounds percentage at 22.2%. The Raptors have an offensive rebounding percentage of 25.5% (#25). In the Bucks most recent defeat, the Dallas Mavericks were even in total rebounds and had 11 offensive rebounds compared to Milwaukee’s nine. The Mavs also ended the game with more points in the paint than the Bucks.
Trends to Bet on and Ways to Hedge your Bets
Hedging a bet is where you make another bet that helps protect your initial bet. You can check out the sportsbook for all your betting desires. Placing a bet that you believe may hedge another bet does not guarantee that one will happen, sometimes both workout and sometimes not.
Every Toronto game since the NBA restart has been under the over/underscore set by the sportsbooks. A way to hedge the under bet in this game would be to place a prop bet that there will be more than 28 made three-point shots in the game. There should most definitely be a lot of threes taken in this game (80ish total). If one or both teams get hot, then the under will be less likely — hence the hedged bet.
Toronto will be ending a back-to-back with Memphis followed by Milwaukee. Playing two games in two nights can take a toll on players, especially since they have not been playing for months. Toronto locked up the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference with a 108 – 99 victory over Memphis on Sunday. It would not be surprising, with the playoffs right around the corner, to see coach Nick Nurse spreading some minutes amongst his plays to ensure he does not push his them too hard. On the other hand, Milwaukee is coming off three straight losses and a night of rest. It’s safe to assume they will have a desire to turn things around and prove they are still the clear best team in the East.
Milwaukee to win and cover the spread seems likely.
You could hedge the Bucks to cover the spread (which they did in the previous two games with Toronto) with a bet that they score less than 35 points in the paint. Or, a bet that they finish with less than a +7 rebound differential over Toronto. The Bucks finished with at least a +9 rebounding difference in their previous two wins against the Raptors. The Bucks defeated the Raptors in their second meeting while only scoring 28 points in the paint. In the same game, they shot 30-36 from the free-throw line which is way above their 24.4 free-throws attempted/game average.