The Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks will clash on Monday in a rematch of last year's Eastern Conference Finals, which went 4-2 in the Raptors' favor.
Of course, Toronto went on to win the championship, and are no longer led by Kawhi Leonard. Milwaukee has clinched the top seed, yet you can bet on the Bucks trotting out their best players in this last regular-season meeting with the team that eliminated them from the playoffs.
Continue reading for abe Insights' betting preview of Raptors-Bucks, featuring the best odds available, advanced stats that should be key in determining who'll win, and analysis on where the wagers should trend.
Date: Monday, August 10
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Implied Probabilities: Raptors 36%; Bucks 65%
Spread: MIL -6.5
Moneyline: TOR +250; MIL -270
Although there are no big injuries for the Raptors, it's worth discussing how just before tip-off, it was revealed guards Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet, along with Serge Ibaka, would be out for Monday's contest.
After losing Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton at the start of the bubble due to positive COVID-19 tests, both are back. Superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, however, is not in action due to oral surgery, the team announced.
77.7 vs. 72.0: No squad has a better defensive rebound percentage than the East's top team. Cleaning the glass is vital to spark transition offense and to limit second-chance points, so the Raptors may have trouble here, as they rank just 22nd in this category.
55.3 vs. 53.6: Another area where Milwaukee is first: the Bucks own the highest effective field goal percentage in the NBA, but Toronto's offense also executes at a proficient clip, ranking eighth among 30 teams.
13.7 vs. 11.2: To call back to the first stat matchup — the Bucks are tied with Orlando for the fewest second-chance points allowed. As may have been inferred from their defensive rebounding, the Raptors give up the fifth-most points of that variety.
Now that these teams are locked in to the top two seeds in the East, it's a matter of feeling each other out one last time before the playoffs begin. It behooves both to play at full strength, and the lack of injuries will treat fans to such a showcase on Monday.
In terms of how Toronto matches up, the frontcourt of Siakam and Gasol can hold up decently well. They're all capable of bodying up Brook Lopez and chasing him out to the 3-point line. Khris Middleton present problems, but lockdown wing defender OG Anunoby has a 7-foot-2 wingspan to help the cause there.
Backcourt play is likely to be the X-factor that more or less determines how this contest plays out. Bledsoe being back for Milwaukee is a big boost, but he and Wesley Matthews, along with the other Bucks guards, will have their hands full even with Lowry and VanVleet unable to go, as the Raptors have an offensively efficient backup tandem in Norman Powell and Terence Davis.
Giannis is always a threat to go off and take over a game, yet he won't be in action. Siakam is the only one who can really do that for the Raptors offensively — and not nearly to the Greek Freak's level, at least on a consistent basis.
Expect wagers to trend toward the Over when it comes to the point total. The number as of this writing is rather low, and while that's, in part, out of respect for Milwaukee's elite defense, the Bucks' super uptempo pace always presents the potential to push this more toward a high-scoring affair.
Given that Toronto has lost only once in its last nine outings and Milwaukee is 3-7 in its last 10, it's rather surprising the Bucks are this big of favorites. Look for the betting public to side with the Raptors' spread and moneyline as a result.
Note: Odds current as of 1:40 p.m. ET on Monday, August 10.
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