The Milwaukee Bucks versus Toronto Raptors is going much as we predicted, both teams winning their home games.
Now, the series heads back to Fiserv Forum on Thursday (23/05) for Game 5. Even though the Raptors have won back-to-back games, the NBA odds heavily favor the Bucks at home. By seven points, to be exact.
So, can Giannis and the Milwaukee Bucks cover that number?
People across America don’t think so. 62% of the betting public are the Toronto Raptors to cover the seven-point spread – as of Wednesday morning. The Total score is sitting around 217 and this is almost an even split. 53% of the public think it will go OVER and 47% are on the UNDER.
What’s interesting is the fact that many sportsbooks, like Pinnacle, Bookmaker and BetOnline are showing reverse line movement on both the spread and the total.
We know that the number is fairly even on the Total score, yet the line has dropped from as much as 219 down to 217. And even though many more people are betting on the Raptors, the line has moved from -6.5 to -7.
If that much public action is on the Raptors, the line should be going down to -6 not the other way. This leads me to believe that there is a ton of ‘sharp’ money on the UNDER and on the Bucks to cover. This makes it harder to follow the artificial line movement and understand exactly what is happening behind the scenes.
The Milwaukee Bucks are a little over seven points better at home than the Raptors are on the road. 119.10 to 111.83. And defensively, they are about two points better, 106.50 to 108.52. So, by the law of averages, we have a nine-point home advantage for the Bucks on Thursday.
The ATS trends are not looking great for the Raptors either. Over their last five road games, they’ve only covered the spread once.
And in their last ten games against Central Division opponents, the Raptors have only covered the spread three times. When we get more specific with Milwaukee, the Raptors are just three and six against the spread.
The Raptors also tend to drop covers as the away team. On the season, they are 21-26-1 for just 44.7% against the spread. They also tend to underperform after a win, covering the point spread just 31-35-1 or 47% of the time.
However, they are 10-8 or 55.6% as away underdogs. But, non-division games are 43.2% and games with one day of rest are 45%. So, the negative trends seem to be stacked up against them for this meeting with the Bucks.
Meanwhile, the Bucks bounce back after a loss with an ATS record of 19-5-0 for 79.2%. As home favorites, the Bucks are 28-16-2 for 63.6%. With one day off, the Bucks are 35-18-1 for 66% against the spread. And to put the icing on the cake, the Bucks are 10-3 during playoff games for 76.9%.
All in all, it will be interesting to see where this line goes. With my hunch that money is what has moved this line of the six and a hook, I am inclined to buy the Bucks back down to -6.5 at a price of -115 to -120 to get them back at their original spread.
-7 could fall on a push, and -7.5 is pushing it for the cover. So, buy the Bucks down before the line gets further away from where it was originally set.