Milwaukee Bucks PF Giannis Antetokounmpo has been ruled out for Wednesday night’s game vs. the Toronto Raptors due to a calf injury. This will be the first game Antetokounmpo will miss up to this point in the 2023-24 NBA season. The Bucks enter Wednesday’s game 6-4 in the Eastern Conference standings. Milwaukee is -1.5 on the spread on DraftKings Sportsbook vs. the Raptors. We’re going to go over the fantasy basketball and betting implications of the injury.
Giannis Antetokounmpo injury
Fantasy basketball impact
Antetokounmpo is one of the best players in the NBA, entering Wednesday’s game averaging 29.5 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game through 10 games this season. The Greek Freak ranks just outside the top-5 in the NBA in scoring and ranks second in usage rating behind Sixers C Joel Embiid. Giannis ranks 8th in player efficiency rating, which is a bit of a dip from season’s past for the Bucks big.
For Wednesday vs. the Raptors, it would appear no other Bucks players will be out. We should see PF Bobby Portis enter the starting lineup in place of Antetokounmpo against Toronto. Portis has started 81 games for the Bucks over the past two-plus seasons. He averages 3.8 more points when in the starting lineup vs. coming off the bench.
Portis is off to a slow start shooting the ball from outside; Portis is shooting 26.9% from downtown vs. over 38% the past two seasons. Perhaps we see the up in minutes and usage spark a big shooting night from Portis. At $5,700 on DraftKings, Portis should be super chalky on the 8-game slate.
As for Damian Lillard, well, he’s going to have his work cut out for him on Wednesday. Coming off a very rough shooting night vs. the Bulls, Dame has a chance to be the No. 1 option again, at least for a night. Since dropping 39 points in his Bucks’ debut, Lillard hasn’t reached more than 34 points in a game since. Right now, Lillard is on pace for his worst numbers across the board in the NBA since his third season back in 2014-15. Lillard is $9,000 on the DK slate and will be a popular GPP option with his ceiling being increased.
Brook Lopez ($5,400) and Pat Connaughton ($3,800) are other value options that will be popular on DK for the slate. Connaughton could be one of the higher rostered players on the slate given his category coverage. Marjon Beauchamp ($3,500) is also a good value.
Betting odds impact of Giannis injury
The line for Bucks-Raptors keeps bouncing around since the Giannis news. Milwaukee was -1 and then -1.5 and now -2 on the spread, so this fluctuation could continue with money coming in. The Bucks as a team are -2.4 rating on the season while Giannis accounts for +2.5. Antetokounmpo’s absence should hurt Milwaukee, particularly on the defensive end. But the offense could be able to sustain itself through more usage for Lillard and Portis seeing more playing time.
We’re seeing an uptick in bets on the Bucks at -2, so the public could believe that Milwaukee is fine to take care of the Raptors despite Giannis’ absence. We’re also seeing the splits for the over/under on the game start to climb. The total is at 224.5 and over 70% of the handle and bets are on the over. With no Antetokounmpo guarding the paint, it should create easier buckets for Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Jakob Poeltl down low.
It’s also worth noting the last time these two teams faced each other the Raptors ran away with a 130-111 victory. That was in Game 4 of the Lillard-Greek Freak era for the Bucks. The players made comments on how they need time to come together more. So perhaps the Bucks will rally a bit around Antetokounmpo being out. Plus, the Raps likely won’t have Anunoby and PG Dennis Schroder is questionable to play. If both are sidelined, this matchup is more even.
If we back how the trends and public are leaning, it’s the Bucks on the -2 spread and ML vs. the Raptors. This feels a lot better with Schroder out. It’s also worth noting Gary Trent Jr. is doubtful. Toronto won’t have much depth or a shutdown wing defender in OG.