Every playoff game brings a new challenge, but Tuesday night will be something entirely different for the Toronto Raptors and fans of NBA betting.
They head into Game 4 against the Milwaukee Bucks as 3-point underdogs at home, the first time all season they haven’t been favored to win on their home floor.
The Raptors have played 41 regular season home games, three in the postseason against the Magic, four against the Sixers and one against the Bucks in the postseason and been giving points in all 49 of them.
They’re the only team that hasn’t been a home underdog in 2019 – even the Warriors were underdogs in Oracle once – but there’s also good reason they’re getting points against the Bucks tonight in Toronto according to the latest NBA odds.
Bucks Historically Good After Losses
The Raptors took Game 3 in double overtime on Sunday, keeping them alive in the best-of-seven series.
That was the good news. The bad news is beating the Bucks twice has been historically difficult this season.
Including the postseason, the Bucks are 70-24 this season and only once have lost consecutive games.
It happened in early March at the end of a five-game road trip out West when they lost by four to the Utah Jazz and then nine to the Phoenix Suns two days later.
Since then, the Bucks have lost seven times and followed each of those games with wins of 17, 14, 29, 10, 8, 35 and 21 points, the last two of which came in the postseason. They rarely have bad nights twice in a row.
Their 22-1 record (95.6%) after losses is the best win percentage dating back to the 2003-04 season; the next closest is the 2013 Miami Heat, who went 20-3 (86.9%) after losses on their way to an NBA title.
Bucks Cover Spreads, Too
The Bucks don’t just win after losses. They cover, too. It’s not surprising considering the aforementioned win totals, but Milwaukee is 19-4 (82.6%) against the spread after losses.
That’s also the best mark in our database going back to 2004; the next best win percentage against the spread was the 2009 Cleveland Cavaliers, who went 15-4 after losses (79.0%).
The Bucks have been a smart bet all year. They’re 57-33-4 against the spread, and that 63.3% cover rate is the best in the NBA since the 2014 Phoenix Suns covered in 64.2% of their games.
The Bucks are 5-2 against the spread when playing the Raptors this season and our guess is that improves tonight coming off a loss. Don’t expect another dud from Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Leonard Dealing with Leg Injury?
The Raptors needed all 52 of the minutes Kawhi Leonard played in Sunday’s double-overtime victory. Early in that contest, Leonard landed awkwardly on his right leg that appeared to bother him multiple times during the game.
Leonard had 36 points so it didn’t seem to affect him all that much – he told reporters he’s “just going to keep fighting” through any pain – but it’s something to watch in Game 4.
The Raptors need a healthy Leonard to keep pace with the Bucks and keep the Eastern Conference Finals close.