Bucks Host Raptors In Opening Game of NBA Eastern Conference Finals

For a NBA postseason that has seen good teams turn in erratic performances (eg: Golden State) the Milwaukee Bucks have quickly and quietly cruised into the Eastern Conference Finals. They swept the Detroit Pistons in the opening round of the playoffs and received only nominal resistance from the Boston Celtics in the second round. The Celtics shocked the Bucks by winning Game 1 in Milwaukee by a margin of 22 points. This definitely got the Bucks’ attention and they won the next four to advance. Milwaukee has taken care of business at the NBA basketball betting window as well as on the court–since the start of the playoffs they’re 8-1 straight up and against the spread.

The pointspread performance isn’t surprising since no team in the NBA has made more money for their financial backers this season than the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s not even close. The Bucks are 55-33-3 against the spread for a hefty 62.5%. That has put +18.7 units into bettors’ bankrolls. Making the Bucks’ pointspread performance all the more remarkable is their SU success. They definitely weren’t ‘under the radar’ this season as they cruised to the best record in the league and have continued that form into the playoffs. They’re now 68-23 SU and if you’re ‘scoring at home’ you’ve no doubt noticed that there’s just a 10 game differential between Milwaukee’s SU and ATS losses. That’s downright remarkable.

Toronto gave the Bucks a serious run for their money during the regular season finishing just 2 games back. Unfortunately for Raptors’ bettors their SU success didn’t translate to pointspread profits. Through the end of the Conference Semifinals Toronto is 66-28 SU but just 44-48 2 ATS. That means they’ve covered at an anemic 47.8% clip losing -8.8 units for bettors. They’ve been equally as mediocre against the number at home (22-25-1 for 46.8%) as on the road (22-23-1 for 48.9%).

In my view, there’s just one way to interpret these divergent pointspread performances from teams with nearly identical straight up records. Toronto is overvalued by the public relative to the betting line. Milwaukee is still ‘undervalued’ against the number. During the early part of the season there was some sentiment that the Bucks weren’t ‘for real’ and that they’d eventually come back to earth. It hasn’t happened and here we are heading into the Conference Finals. With the exception of Game 1 in the Boston series the Bucks have decimated their competition covering every postseason number. It’s very unusual for such a good team to reach this point of the season and still not be taken seriously by the betting public. Maybe it’s due to the relatively low profile market they play in–it’s definitely not anything they’ve done on the court.

Toronto had a lot more trouble than they should have against an inconsistent Philadelphia team. Were it not for Kawhi Leonard and his insane level of postseason performance they would be home watching the Conference Finals on TV. Leonard will get his points, but against a team that is excellent in every phase of the game that won’t be enough.


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