Raptors on the Cusp of NBA Finals, but Handicappers, Bettors Not Quite Convinced

Posted on: May 24, 2019, 06:38h. 

Last updated on: May 24, 2019, 06:38h.

Toronto overcame a 14-point first half deficit and needed a big rally in the fourth quarter to win Thursday night’s Game 5 105-99 at Milwaukee. Now, after losing the first two games of the NBA’s Eastern Conference final, the Raptors find themselves on the brink on their first-ever appearance in the NBA Finals.

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) tries a shot against Kawhi Leonard in Game 5. Toronto leads 3-2 and can clinch its first Eastern Conference title Saturday night. (Image: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images).

But, while Toronto has reeled off three straight wins in the best-of-seven series, are bettors and oddsmakers confident about the Raptors chances?

In the moments after Game 5 ended, PropSwap, a secondary market for sportsbook tickets, brokered sales for at least three Raptors futures bets, including a $500 ticket on the Raptors to win the series at +162 odds to win for $1,300. Another $500 Raptors series bet, this one with +133 odds, went for $900.

PropSwap co-founder Luke Pergande told Casino.org that’s a sign bettors are bearish on the Raptors.

Our sellers still think Milwaukee wins this,” Pergande said. “And looking at the odds, so do the books.”

When the series started nine days ago, the Westgate SuperBook offered the Bucks as -330 favorites, while offering the Raptors at +260. After Milwaukee won the first two games, FanDuel listed the Bucks at -650 and the Raptors at +430.

By Friday morning, the Raptors had become the SuperBook’s favorite at -240, while the Bucks, who now need to win the remaining two games to win the series, are priced at +190. FanDuel offered similar prices, -245 for Toronto and +194 for the Bucks.

While Toronto has put itself in a position to win the series and become the favorite, odds of -245 are not necessarily low odds for a team in the Raptors’ position. It also would be likely to see the odds flip again if Milwaukee can force a Game 7, which the Bucks would host.

Game 6 Saturday Night

The Raptors will get a chance to close out the series at home on Saturday. They opened as two-point favorites at most Las Vegas sportsbooks, and the line has since moved to 2.5.

As a home favorite, according to teamrankings.com, Toronto is 23-26 this season against the spread at home.

Adding to the intrigue Milwaukee superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo left Game 5 late with an ankle injury, although he told reporters after the game that he felt fine.

Antetokounmpo said his teammates know their backs are against the wall.

“We got to get Game 6,” he said. “We got to fix anything we’re doing wrong right now. We’re just trying to play winning basketball.”

This season, Milwaukee is 19-6 against the spread coming off a loss, and they’re 8-3 as a road underdog. However, in this series, the Bucks have failed to cover in the last three games.

Warriors Await

While Milwaukee and Toronto continue to battle, Golden State gets to rest up in hopes of a threepeat.

And the Warriors also see their odds get even lower, even if Kevin Durant may not make it back for the entire series,

Golden State, which was -220 at FanDuel to win it all after sweeping Portland, is now -300. The Raptors have moved from +1000 to +370, while Milwaukee has gone from +195 to +150.

The SuperBook lists the Warriors at -275, the Raptors at +400, and the Bucks at +700.

However, when it comes to head-to-head series betting, oddsmakers think the Bucks would have a better chance against the Warriors than the Raptors.

At the SuperBook, the Warriors are a -240 favorite against the Bucks (+190). However, they’re a -300 favorite against the Raptors (+260). FanDuel has it -210/+175 for Warriors-Bucks and -250/+205 for Warriors-Raptors.

Regardless of when the Eastern Conference final ends, the NBA Finals will start on May 30.