The NBA regular season continues just past its halfway point on Tuesday with four games, including a pair of marquee matchups on TNT. Our experts have three best bets, including two plays for Raptors vs. Bucks. Find their picks and predictions below.
NBA Odds & Picks
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|Raptors vs. Bucks Spread||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Raptors vs. Bucks Total||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets Total||9 p.m. ET|
Raptors vs. Bucks Spread
|Tipoff||7:30 p.m. ET|
Matt Moore: The Raptors have been good on back to backs the last two seasons, 14-9-1 ATS. They’ve also been great as a road dog this season, 8-4 ATS. I just bet against them with the Knicks, and they climbed back from a nine-point late fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime and win outright.
I am ready to get hurt again.
This line assumes one of two things: that Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing and at which point, even if we only ascribe roughly 2.25 points for homecourt (when NBA homecourt is historically higher and drastically so this season), this is Bucks -1 in Toronto, and that just doesn’t make any sense.
Or, this line is in-between on whether Giannis will play, and if he’s announced in (listed probable, just like he was for the Pacers game Monday), then this moves to -7 or more.
The Raptors offense lacks the scoring volume to keep up with Milwaukee. The Bucks’ offense has been a train wreck this season, but in the last handful of games, they are bombing from deep, which compensates for poor shooting. The Raptors, meanwhile, are 23rd in 3-pointers made per 100 possessions.
So the Bucks will have Antetokounmpo, a math advantage, and the Raptors played even heavier minutes than usual after an overtime game on the road, then traveled for this Bucks game. I’ve been fading the Bucks, who have been sneaky mediocre-to-bad the last month and a half, but this is a definite buy-low spot.
Raptors vs. Bucks Total
|Tipoff||7:30 p.m. ET|
Chris Baker: The Raptors played this team close back on January 4th, and I expect them to do that once again here. Their process in the first matchup was sound as they generated 37% of their shots from 3. You can argue that this team isn’t built to take 3-pointers, but I am of the opinion that the Raptors need to take more 3s if they want to be more efficient on offense, so this is a positive for me.
Unfortunately, the Raptors shot just 20% on those 46 3-point attempts, and that is what cost them the game. They also shot just 63.2% at the rim (36th percentile). I think we some positive shooting regression here, and that’s all we really need from them as we have already seen they can defend the Bucks well.
Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. all shot below 35% from the field in the first game, and I expect them to regress closer to their season averages here, especially with the Bucks on a back-to-back and the potential absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
On the other end, expect the Bucks to also have offensive success against this smaller Raptors team that is also on a back-to-back. The Bucks had 25 turnovers in the first matchup and shot woefully from the field as well. They are bound to take care of the ball better tonight, and if they do, we can expect them to improve on their offensive efficiency.
The first game was played at a relatively fast pace, and I expect that to continue here, especially with both defenses more likely to be prone to lapses given this being a back-to-back for each team. Play this over up to 225.5.
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Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets Total
|Tipoff||9 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Matt Moore: This is about pace. The under in Nuggets home games is 13-8-1 (59%) this season. Denver in the last 15 games has the No. 2 defense in the league after a horrific start. But the bigger thing is pace. Portland is 26th in offensive possession length, and Denver is 21st. The Nuggets are hyper efficient and very slow, while the Blazers are moderately efficient and very slow.
This number is built on the offensive firepower and ignores the defensive numbers from Denver over the last 15 games and Portland’s diminished offense.