With Thursday’s shocking upset (at least for Milwaukee Bucks bettors) of the Toronto Raptors getting the 105-99 road win over the Bucks, the implications have gambling reverberations beyond just Thursday night. This win very likely has shifted the balance of power for the upcoming 2019 NBA Finals. Despite opening as a -275 favorite over the Raptors to win the series, the Bucks’ loss in Game 5 could see the Raptors, who at one point were +600 dogs to win the series (down 0-2), pulling a hefty upset in the Eastern Conference finals.
This not only has futures impacts for those holding tickets for the Bucks to the win the series (sorry, folks), but it even has an impact on those looking to capitalize on early value for the projected futures odds on the NBA Finals, with the most likely outcome originally being the Bucks playing the Warriors. The Game 5 outcome ended up playing out poorly for those looking for a high-scoring Bucks victory, with the total staying under at 204 total points, and a spread win and moneyline upset for the Toronto Raptors, who came into the contest at 6.5-point dogs, according to the opening line in most marketplaces.
But the result of the game only adds more drama to the ongoing NBA playoffs gambling picture.
Bucks’ Backs Against the Wall
After unexpectedly dropping Game 5, the Bucks are facing a win-or-go-fishing situation. Normally we’d say “win-or-go-home,” but here, if the Bucks manage to pull off a Game 6 victory, they would be going home to play for the series in a Game 7. Factoring in the “elimination” factor and the sheer magnitude of this game, the odds favor the Raptors, albeit slightly.
Currently sitting as 2.5-point chalk in most markets with a healthy 213-point total, it marks the lowest total so far in the series in Toronto, with previous totals set closer to the 220-point mark. The line may imply the oddsmakers, despite the relevant statistics, expect a close game, but it also proves worrisome for those concerned about star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who left the floor in the ensuing Game 5 loss.
Finals Futures Implications
While the series is still in play, the Toronto Raptors are poised to deliver a deathblow Saturday night when they face the Bucks in what is sure to be a thrilling contest with a ticket to the Finals within arm’s reach for the Raptors. Should the Raptors go on to take Game 6 and bask in the glory of their franchise’s first Finals berth, Raptors fans may have to be content with “just being happy to be here.”
Projected odds for the series place the Raptors as nearly 3-to-1 dogs, giving the Warriors a substantial edge priced at -350. In other words, a bettor would have to lay $350 to win $100 for the series. But a $100 bet would net a Raptors bettor $290. Converting the projected price into a probability would give the Warriors an implied 77 percent chance of winning based on that price, with the Raptors having a slim 23 percent chance of winning.
If the Bucks stave off elimination and face the Warriors in the championship series, their chances wouldn’t be that much better. A prospective series matchup between the Warriors and Bucks would give the Warriors a comfortable -205 price, meaning a Warriors bettor would have to lay $205 to win $100. A Bucks bet against the Dubs could earn them $175 off of a $100 bet.
If those odds stay the same, the Warriors would have an implied 67 percent chance of victory, with the Bucks having 33 percent. Of course, these are only projections; we still don’t know who will be facing the reigning champs. But no matter what, the Warriors are looking like pretty healthy favorites no matter who comes out of this Eastern Conference grudge match.