Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks Series Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Odds to win series: Raptors +240, Bucks -285
The NBA Eastern Conference Finals will begin Wednesday at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. The Toronto Raptors will face off against the Milwaukee Bucks in what will be the first time in eight years that LeBron James will not participate for the East. This opens the door for some new blood with Toronto and Milwaukee.
The Raptors beat the 76ers in a thrilling seven-game series on an amazing clinching corner jumper by Kawhi Leonard.
The Bucks dropped the first game to the Boston Celtics but won the next four straight games to come into this series well-rested.
This is Toronto's first trip to the Conference Finals since 2016 when they fell to LeBron's Cavaliers four games to two. Milwaukee has not been here since losing to Allen Iverson's 76ers in 2001.
Facts about the Raptors
The Raptors made a ton of off-season moves in 2018, trading DeMar DeRozan, and Jakob Poeltl for Leonard, Danny Green and a projected 2019 first-round pick. It appears to have worked out well; they went 53-29 this year and 32-9 at home.
Toronto has good moving parts around Leonard. Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka, and Kyle Lowry all average around 15 points per contest, and adding Marc Gasol was a key addition adding 8.4 points per game and 5.6 rebounds.
Toronto went 37-44-1 ATS this year and 45-35-2 O/U. They are eighth in the league at 114.4 points scored per contest and sixth in the league from three-point range at 37 percent. They give up 108.4 points per game on average and are 10th in the league at creating turnovers at 14.3 percent of possessions.
Facts about the Bucks
Milwaukee had a sensational record ATS at 47-31-4 this year. They were 41-41 O/U. They went 3-1 vs. the Raptors SU, and 3-1 ATS. The O/U was 2-2.
Giannis Antetokounmpo will probably be the NBA MVP this year. If he can develop an outside shot, he can really be one of the greats the game has ever seen. He averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists. Unbelievable numbers for sure, and he needs to keep that up vs. the Raptors.
The Bucks shoot 47.73 percent from the floor and 35.32 percent from three-point range. They will need Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, and George Hill to keep contributing as they are all a crucial part of the game-plan around "The Greek Freak".
Mike Budenholzer has never made it this far as a head coach. He won the 2019 Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award after guiding Milwaukee to a 60-22 record, good for the first seed in the East. He is from the Gregg Popovich system and coached the Atlanta Hawks for five seasons before coming to the Bucks.
Nick Nurse took over in Toronto after Dwane Casey was fired last year (after Casey had just won Coach of The Year). His main concern is to try and take this team as far as possible to try and convince Leonard to stay. The rumors are circling that he wants to play for his hometown Clippers next year.
Handicapping the series
The Bucks dominated the Raptors this year, and I see more of the same, especially in Milwaukee. They are +26 points in all four games combined this year vs. Toronto (including the one loss). I think this is the time For Antetokounmpo to show the world he is the best player in the NBA. And as the stage gets bigger, he does not shy away. It almost seems as if he elevates his performance each round. I wouldn't be afraid to lay big points on the Bucks, especially in Milwaukee where that crowd will be pumped up.
Bucks in 6
Budenholzer will have a well-rested team as they have been off since Wednesday, May 8. Toronto should have some tired legs after going the distance vs. Philadelphia, in a super emotional series. Look for the Bucks role players to make a huge difference here. If Khris Middleton can continue his fantastic play alongside Antetokounmpo, this could get ugly early. Toronto will put up a valiant effort but, in the end, the Bucks move on. FEAR THE DEER!
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