Toronto Raptors vs Milwaukee Bucks: Free Game 1 Eastern Conference Final Pick, 5–15–2019
Toronto Raptors vs Milwaukee Bucks
NBA Odds: Bucks -6, O/U 217
Time: 8:30 PM EST
Date: Wednesday, May 15, 2019
The Eastern Conference Finals will tip off on Wednesday night from Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee as the Bucks host the Toronto Raptors for Game 1 of a seven-game series. Milwaukee made quick work of the Boston Celtics, winning in 5 games (4–1) while the Raptors are fresh off a Game 7, thrilling win at the buzzer over the Sixers on Sunday. Which team covers the spread in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals?
The top two teams in the Eastern Conference proved to be the best as they vie for an NBA Finals berth. Kawhi Leonard took over the series vs Philadelphia averaging 34.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. Leonard hit a game-winning, series-clinching shot at the buzzer to beat the Sixers in Game 7 so expect the Raptors to have supreme confidence enter this series vs the Bucks. Toronto’s defense proved to be too much for Philadelphia down the stretch in Game 7 and now they must adapt to a new challenge, Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Raptors are better defensively, allowing 106.8 ppg compared to the Bucks 108.5. Milwaukee has a better field goal percentage (47.5% to 47.1%), while Raptors have a better 3-point percentage (36.1% to 35.3%).
Giannis Antetokounmpo (28.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.6 blocks per game) has proven his dominance this season and there aren’t many defenders that can stop him from getting to the basket. Giannis led the Bucks vs a playoff-tested Celtics team and made it look easy after losing Game 1 to Boston. After scoring just 90 points in Game 1, the Bucks went on to average 118 points in the final four games vs a Celtics defense that allowed 108 PPG all season.
These teams met four times this season with Milwaukee getting the better hand, 3–1 SU and 3–1 ATS. The strength of the Raptors all season has been their depth, but that will certainly be tested after a long series and dramatic win on Sunday. The Bucks will have the benefit of a week off and they have had time to mentally prepare, while the same can’t be said for the Raptors. I expect the Raptors to show signs of fatigue which won’t bode well vs Giannis who is a handful to deal with defensively. The Bucks have a clear home-court advantage (33–8) at Fiserv Forum where the atmosphere will be electric. This should be a close series but I am concerned about the turn around time for the Raptors in Game 1 and I expect the Bucks to be sharp and well rested. Look for the Bucks -6 to win Game 1 and set the tone for the series.