Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#1519 Toronto Raptors vs.
#1520 Milwaukee Bucks
Saturday, January 15, 2022 at 6:40pm EST
BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee
Written by Chris King

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It’s a battle of Eastern Conference teams on the parquet floor up in Cream City. The Toronto Raptors are on the road as they make the trip to face the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday evening. Toronto was on the road in the Motor City Friday night as they battled the Pistons. The Raptors fell 99-95 at home to the Suns Tuesday night in their most recent contest. Milwaukee drubbed Golden State 118-99 at home on Thursday night in their previous game. In the all-time regular-season series between the teams, the Bucks own a 54-43 advantage but the Raptors have won four straight matchups. That includes a pair of wins this season, capped by a 117-111 road triumph in the most recent matchup on January 5.

Toronto Raptors Playing Second Game of Back-to-Back

Toronto was in action on the road Friday as they faced the Pistons in the Motor City looking to bounce back after their loss to Phoenix earlier this week at home. The Raptors entered Friday 20-18 on the year and stood third in the Atlantic Division, 4.5 games behind the Nets for the top spot. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team stood eighth, two games behind the Cavaliers for the final guaranteed playoff spot. They were one game ahead of 11th-place New York to remain in the play-in tournament. Toronto is 4-2 in the second game of back-to-back situations this season with a +4-ppg scoring margin (110.2 ppg for, 106.2 ppg against) entering this one. The Raptors are 8-7 on the road with a -1.2-ppg scoring differential (108.9 ppg for, 110.1 ppg against) in those contests. Toronto is 12-11 against Eastern Conference teams with a -0.7-ppg scoring margin (106 ppg for, 106.7 ppg against) this season.

On the season, Toronto stands 17th in scoring offense as they put up an average of 107.8 points per game this season. The Raptors are 17th in rebounding with 45 boards a night while they are 28th by dishing out an average of 21.7 assists a night. Toronto stands 11th in scoring defense as they allow an average of 106.4 points a night. OG Anunoby is third on the team with an average of 19.3 points plus 5.1 rebounds per game. Scottie Barnes (14.7 points, eight rebounds), Fred VanVleet (22 points, 6.6 assists), Gary Trent Jr. (16.4 points) and Precious Achiuwa (7.9 points, 7.5 rebounds) are solid offensive options this season. Pascal Siakam contributes 20.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists per contest this season. Khem Birch, Goran Dragic, Svi Mykhailiuk, Chris Boucher, Dalano Banton and Isaac Bonga are all looked at to help Nick Nurse’s squad. The Raptors are 24th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 44% from the floor as a team. Toronto stands 17th by knocking down 11.9 three-pointers a night while they are 20th in three-point field goal percentage as they sink 34.3% of their attempts on the season. Dragic (personal) has been out since November 13 with no timetable for return. Barnes (knee) and Trent Jr. (ankle) were questionable Friday so keep an eye out for their status here.

Milwaukee Bucks Look to Build Off Win

Milwaukee had dropped two straight and four of their previous five games before taking care of business against the Warriors at home Thursday night. The Bucks entered Friday second in the Central Division standings, 2.5 games behind the Bulls for the top spot. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, they stood fourth, 2.5 games behind Chicago for the top spot in the conference. Against Golden State, Milwaukee jumped to an 18-4 lead midway through the first quarter and was off and running. The Bucks were up 16 after the opening quarter and by 39 at the half: they weren’t challenged the rest of the way. Milwaukee shot 51.2% from the field, including 18 of 41 from three-point range, and held Golden State to 34.7% shooting in the contest. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 30 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in the win.

The Bucks are 5th in the league in scoring offense with 112 points per game on the season. Milwaukee is second in rebounding by pulling down 47.3 boards per contest while the team is 18th by dishing out 23.1 assists per game. The Bucks are 15th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 107.8 points per contest this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo is leading Milwaukee with 28.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 6.1 assists per contest this season. Khris Middleton chips in 19.2 points plus 5.5 rebounds along with 5.3 assists a night while Jrue Holiday contributes 18.4 points plus 6.7 assists a contest. Pat Connaughton (10.6 points), Grayson Allen (11.9 points), Bobby Portis (15.3 points, 8.9 rebounds), Langston Galloway and Jordan Nwora (nine points, 4.2 rebounds) are capable options in the rotation. George Hill, Brook Lopez, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Justin Robinson, Sandro Mamukelashvili and Georgios Kalaitzakis are solid pieces in the mix as well. Milwaukee is 16th in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 45.6% as a team this season. The Bucks are second in threes per game by draining 14.4 triples per contest and stand 7th in three-point shooting by hitting 36.2% of their attempts from beyond the arc. Lopez (back) remains out and does not have a timetable for return. Holiday missed Thursday’s game against Golden State with an ankle injury and is questionable here. Galloway is in the protocols and likely will miss this game.

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Milwaukee put together one of their best games of the season in their dismantling of the Warriors on Thursday night. They now get to face a Toronto team that is playing the second game of a back-to-back and who could be missing a pair of starters if Barnes/Trent Jr. miss the contest. Meanwhile, Milwaukee is pretty healthy at this stage of things, especially if Holiday is able to take the floor here. The Bucks showed how dangerous they can be with their showing against Golden State. Antetokounmpo leads the way for Milwaukee as they snap their four-game slide in this series by picking up the victory at home in this one.

Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks to cover

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Toronto enters this one having seen the over hit in 23 of their 38 games on the season. The Raptors saw the over hit in 10 straight games before ending up short of the mark in their last two games entering Friday. Toronto is 26th in the league in tempo with an average of 96.3 possessions per contest. Milwaukee has seen the under hit in 26 of their 44 games this season as their offense has struggled with so many key pieces missing time already this year. The Bucks are ninth in the league in tempo with 99.2 possessions per game and they are improving offensively. Milwaukee has four straight unders on the books and five of their last six have fallen short of the total. With Toronto being a little fatigued and the Bucks playing sound defense, this one ends up short of the total as well.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Chris King , "Chris King"

Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.