Raptors underdogs hosting Bucks Wednesday night

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) battles for the ball with Toronto Raptors guard Terence Davis (0) and teammate Fred VanVleet (23) during second half NBA basketball action. (Nathan Denette/CP)

The Toronto Raptors will be looking to continue their drive back into playoff contention in the Eastern Conference when they return home on Wednesday to battle the Milwaukee Bucks as opening 5.5-point underdogs on the NBA odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Toronto is coming off a lopsided 129-114 loss in Indiana last time out, but has taken steps to overcome a dismal start. The team has recorded straight-up wins in five of its last seven outings to claim a share of 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings going into Wednesday night's matchup at Amalie Arena.

While Monday's defeat as 2.5-point road underdogs at sports betting sites marked the Raptors' third SU loss by a double-digit margin this season, the team has shown dramatic improvement in recent contests at their temporary Tampa home. The team has tallied outright wins in four of their past five home dates, slamming the door on a worrisome 2-8 SU start to the season.

However, the Raptors' current surge has yet to buoy their position on the NBA championship odds. Toronto still sits as a distant +5500 wager to claim its second NBA title in three seasons, and the team remains a longshot +1900 bet to repeat as Atlantic Division champions.

In addition, Toronto's recent surge has produced mixed results for bettors. The Raptors have covered just three times during their current 5-2 SU run, and sport a middling 3-5 record against the spread in home contests. However, the team's defence is trending in the right direction after a shaky start, surrendering just 105.3 points per game over their past seven outings after allowing 112.5 points per game through their first 10 contests.

Continued stingy defensive play by Toronto will be crucial against the Bucks. Milwaukee is coming off a crushing 129-115 win over Atlanta as 12-point home chalk to close to within one game of the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers. Sunday's victory over the Hawks halted Milwaukee's first two-game SU losing streak of the season, and also snapped a four-game ATS slide.

Overall, the Bucks have been a betting disappointment despite racking up an NBA-leading 120.1 points per game. After failing to cover in four of five outings, the Bucks sport an ordinary 7-9 ATS record, and have recorded consecutive ATS wins just once this season. However, Milwaukee has enjoyed steady success in regular season meetings with the Raptors, going 6-2 SU in their past eight tilts, and covering in eight of their past 11 matchups.

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