Back on Monday the Bucks seemed likely to meet the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs (insert groan here). But after the Bulls' disappointing loss to Orlando last night those odds have flipped according to the ESPN's BPI, which now estimates the Bucks have a 61% likelihood of facing the Toronto Raptors and a 34% chance of facing Chicago. Via Tom Haberstroh, here are the latest playoff matchup odds:
Latest ESPN BPI matchup projections: No matchup has a 65% or greater chance of happening. Wide open everywhere. pic.twitter.com/iVbgxwiM9c— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) April 9, 2015
That's good news for Bucks fans hopeful of avoiding the Bulls (ie everyone), though it's hardly in the bag at this point. While Toronto and Chicago have identical 46-32 records, Toronto owns the tiebreaker by virtue of being a division winner. The Raptors play four games against sub-.500 East teams in the next two weeks (three on the road), while the Bulls have a similar schedule with the exception of their season finale against the Hawks at home. On paper that's a tough game, but it's very possible the Hawks will be resting key players given they already have the East's #1 spot locked up.
Despite their loss last night to the Cavs, it still appears that the Bucks are likely to hang onto the #6 spot, so their first round foe mostly depends on whether Toronto can pip Chicago for the #3 spot. While the Bucks have only have a two game lead on the Celtics, they also own the tiebreakers against Boston, Brooklyn and Miami. Just as importantly, their remaining four games are all against sub-.500 teams, with road games against the Knicks and Sixers and home tilts against the Celtics and Nets. In other words, if the Bucks can simply split their last four games they'll lock up the six spot no matter what anyone else does. Don't disappoint us, Bucks.