Bucks and Raptors Could be Epic Clash
The Toronto Raptors have never been to the NBA Finals. The Milwaukee Bucks haven’t been back since 1974. One of these teams is guaranteed to make it through. They’ll meet tonight in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT, Sportsnet (Toronto) LINE: Bucks -6.5; O/U: 218.
Leading MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo has dominated while helping Milwaukee outscore teams by an average of 15.3 points in the postseason. Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard is again a playoff star. This time he made the decisive basket as time expired in the conference semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Bucks finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA. They beat the Raptors 3-1 SU and ATS during the regular season. NBA Playoff basketball is different than regular season hoops. The Bucks are favored to win the East and move on to the NBA Finals. One thing of note is that Marc Gasol was not with the Raps for any of those four games during the season. He came over from the Memphis Grizzlies at the trade deadline. Kawhi Leonard also sat out one of the three Toronto losses for “load management.”
The Bucks are still the most impressive team of these playoffs at 8-1 SU and ATS. Their only misstep coming in Game 1 of their Eastern semifinal with the Boston Celtics. The Raptors are 8-4 SU and 6-6 ATS. They needed the full seven games to put away the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round. O.G. Anunoby remains iffy for Toronto in this series with an appendectomy.
This, That, and a Dart Throw
The Raptors are in the Eastern Conference finals for just the second time in franchise history. They made it by riding Leonard’s 41 points to a 92-90 victory over the 76ers, including the four bounces on the rim shot that is the first Game 7-winning buzzer-beater in NBA history. Leonard is averaging 31.8 points in 12 playoff games, including a franchise record nine straight 20-point outings. Antetokounmpo is averaging 27.4 points and 11.3 rebounds as the Bucks went 8-1 against the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics to reach the East finals for the first time 2001.
Leonard is carrying the attack for Toronto and has made them a viable threat to reach the NBA Finals. Power forward Pascal Siakam is averaging 20.8 points per game and point guard Kyle Lowry is chipping in 12.4. They are the only other Raptors averaging in double digits in the postseason. Lowry is shooting just 41.5 percent from the field.
Milwaukee‘s four second-round victories over the Boston Celtics were by an average of 16.3 points. Seven of its eight postseason wins have been by 10 or more points. Antetokounmpo’s supporting class has been solid with small forward Khris Middleton averaging a respectable 19.1 ppg and point guards Eric Bledsoe and George Hill are chipping in 16 and 12.1 ppg, respectively. Combo guard Malcolm Brogdon is a full-go for the series after scoring 10 points in 17 minutes in the clinching win over Boston. He missed the previous seven-plus weeks with a foot injury. Middleton has made multiple 3-pointers in all nine playoff games and has made 28 overall.
The Dart Throw: Bucks 106, Raptors 102
NBA Playoffs Betting Odds & Trends
|Toronto is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games|
|Toronto is 15-5 SU in its last 20 games|
|The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Toronto’s last 13 games|
|Toronto is 8-3 SU in its last 11 games on the road|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Toronto’s last 6 games on the road|
|Toronto is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Milwaukee|
|Toronto is 17-8 SU in its last 25 games when playing Milwaukee|
|Toronto is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing Milwaukee|
|The total has gone OVER in 5 of Toronto’s last 7 games when playing Milwaukee|
|Toronto is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Milwaukee|
|Toronto is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Milwaukee|
|The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Toronto’s last 9 games when playing on the road against Milwaukee|
|Milwaukee is 8-1 ATS in its last 9 games|
|Milwaukee is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games|
|The total has gone OVER in 11 of Milwaukee’s last 16 games|
|Milwaukee is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games at home|
|Milwaukee is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games at home|
|Milwaukee is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Toronto|
|Milwaukee is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Toronto|
|Milwaukee is 8-17 SU in its last 25 games when playing Toronto|
|The total has gone OVER in 5 of Milwaukee’s last 7 games when playing Toronto|
|Milwaukee is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games when playing at home against Toronto|
|Milwaukee is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Toronto|
|The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Milwaukee’s last 9 games when playing at home against Toronto|
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