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Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks
NBA: Wednesday, May 15, 2019, Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 8:30 PM ET
The second-seeded Toronto Raptors will take on the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Wednesday night. The Raptors eliminated Orlando and Philadelphia in the previous two rounds, while the Bucks outlasted Detroit and Boston. Milwaukee won three of its four meetings with Toronto during the regular season, and the Bucks are listed as strong -300 favorites to win this series and make it to the NBA Finals.
The Raptors will look to build on their epic Game 7 victory over Phila
The Toronto Raptors (66-28; 43-50-1 ATS) had an easy job in the first round of the playoffs, beating the Orlando Magic in five games, while they barely outlasted the Philadelphia 76ers in the semifinals thanks to Kawhi Leonard’s buzzer-beater in Game 7. The Raptors lost two of three games at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, but they defended the home court in Game 7, defeating the Sixers 92-90 as 6-point favorites. It was a proper seesaw clash with ten lead changes that was decided by a single shot, and Kawhi Leonard was the Raptors’ hero, tallying 41 points while taking whopping 39 field-goal attempts. In the previous two games, the Claw took 36 shots in the total.
Kawhi Leonard is playing at the highest level this postseason, averaging 31.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 53.9% from the field and 40.8% from beyond the arc. Impressive numbers for Kawhi who averaged 34.7 points a night in the Sixers series and the Claw is leading the Raptors on both sides of the floor. Pascal Siakam is another guy who’s doing a great job this postseason, tallying 20.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest. However, Leonard and Siakam will need more help from their teammates, especially from Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol. Lowry is scoring just 12.4 points per game along with 7.1 assists, and he’s making only 28.1% of his 3-pointers, while Gasol is averaging 8.6 points and 5.6 boards per outing. Toronto is scoring 103.6 points per game on 45.4% shooting from the field, surrendering 96.0 points in a return on 41.3% shooting.
The Bucks want to continue with their strong playoff performance
The Milwaukee Bucks (68-23; 55-32-4) thrashed off the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the playoffs, winning all four duels by 16 or more points. They had no mercy against the Boston Celtics in the semifinals, and after losing the opening game of the series 112-90, the Bucks defeated the Celtics four time in a row, covering the spread on all four occasions. The Bucks were impressive in Game 5 on their home court, beating their rivals 116-91 while allowing the Celtics to shoot miserable 31.2% from the field and 17.9% from downtown. By now, the Bucks satisfied their best record in the league from the regular season, and rarely who could expect such a dominant performance against Boston.
After a strong MVP campaign in the regular season, Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to impress in the postseason, averaging 27.4 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.6 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game while making 52.6% of his field goals and 66.7% of his free-throw attempts. Khris Middleton is a big part of the Bucks’ success this year, and he’s posting 19.1 points, 6.0 boards, and 4.6 dimes a night in the playoffs. Middleton is shooting excellent 46.7% from the field, while he made 49.7% of his 3-pointers against the Celtics. Eric Bledsoe is tallying 16.0 points and 4.3 assists per contest, doing a great job at the defensive end. The Bucks had the best defensive rating in the league in the regular season, allowing 105.2 points per 100 possessions, while they are surrendering just 99.0 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs on 39.9% shooting from the field. On the other side, the Bucks are scoring 113.9 points in a return on 46.8% shooting.
- 8-1 SU and ATS in nine games this postseason
- 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS in the last eight playoff games at home
- 6-14 SU and ATS in the last 20 playoff games on the road
- 1-4 SU and ATS in the last five meetings with Milwaukee
- 1-7 SU and 2-5-1 ATS in the last seven playoff contests as underdogs
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Milwaukee dominated Toronto in three of their four head-to-head duels in the regular season, and the Bucks have been playing brilliantly in the previous two rounds. The Bucks look like a well-oiled machine on both sides of the ball, and they have more quality options at the offensive end than the Raptors who rely too much on Kawhi Leonard. Also, the Bucks’ second unit seems more dangerous than the Raptors’, so I’m backing the hosts to take the lead in the series and cover the spread.
Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks -6.0 (-110)
Full-Game Total Pick
Both Toronto and Milwaukee are playing some really tough defense. While the Bucks like to push the ball in transition and play at a fast pace, the Raptors will try to slow down the tempo and force the Bucks into half-court basketball. Hereof, I’m taking the under.
Prediction: Under 217.0 points (-110)