Toronto (0-0) at Milwaukee (0-0)
When: Wednesday, May 15th, 2019
Where: Fiserv Forum,
Time: 8:30 ET | TV: TNT
Opening Odds: Milwaukee -6/218
The Milwaukee Bucks have been the most dominant team in the NBA so far this postseason, sweeping the Detroit Pistons in four games and getting passed the Boston Celtics in five. They have outscored those opponents by an average of 15.3 points and are 8-1 against the spread. Their next obstacle are the Toronto Raptors, who played a grueling seven-game series and outlast the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round. Game 1 is set for Wednesday night at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. The Bucks finished the regular season with the NBA’s best record and won the season series 3-1 against the Raptors, who had the second-best record. Milwaukee received significant contributions from their bench this season and it has carried over into the postseason. According to NBA.com, Milwaukee’s bench has played 39.8 percent of the team’s playoff minutes and are averaging 37.4 points on 48.1 percent shooting, while Toronto’s reserves have played less than 30 percent of playoff minutes and have averaged 21.6 points per game on 38.9 percent shooting. Part of that reason is Toronto has missed OG Anunoby, who had an emergency appendectomy at the end of the regular season and has been ruled out for the series opener. The Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard is making a run at postseason MVP honors while carrying his team on his back in the fourth quarter of Game 7 versus Philadelphia including the four-bounce game-winner at the buzzer. Leonard is averaging 31.8 points in 12 playoff games, including a franchise record nine straight 20-point outings.
Milwaukee should feel pretty confident if all they have to do is slow down Leonard, as the rest of the Toronto lineup has been underwhelming at times. Power forward Pascal Siakam (20.8 points per game) and point guard Kyle Lowry (12.4) are the only other Raptors averaging in double digits in the postseason but Lowry is shooting just 41.5 percent from the field. Center Serge Ibaka played 29 minutes in Game 7 Sunday – the most he’s logged since early March – and recorded 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc after missing his previous 10 long range shots.
Milwaukee is also led by a superstar in Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 27.4 points and 11.3 rebounds, but his supporting cast is helping more than Toronto’s. Small forward Khris Middleton (19.1) and point guards Eric Bledsoe (16.0) and George Hill (12.1) are all scoring in double-figures. Guard Malcolm Brogdon is back in the rotation after scoring 10 points in 17 minutes in the clinching win over Boston after missing the previous seven weeks with a foot injury.
It really comes down to who the better team is here, and its clearly Milwaukee. Not only do their starting five have the edge, but the depth is significant as well. The Bucks have won all their games by double-digits and I say they do the same in Game 1 here.
Pick: Bucks -6
Raptors are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
Raptors are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS loss.
Raptors are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
Raptors are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 vs. NBA Central.
Bucks are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Bucks are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Bucks are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. NBA Atlantic.
Bucks are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win.
Bucks are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS win.
Bucks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games.
Bucks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
Bucks are 23-7-1 ATS in their last 31 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points.
Bucks are 35-14-2 ATS in their last 51 vs. Eastern Conference.
Bucks are 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
Bucks are 39-18-2 ATS in their last 59 games overall.
Bucks are 36-17-2 ATS in their last 55 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
Bucks are 5-14-1 ATS in their last 20 games playing on 3 or more days rest.
Under is 5-0 in Raptors last 5 games playing on 2 days rest.
Under is 6-0 in Raptors last 6 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
Under is 5-0 in Raptors last 5 games following a ATS loss.
Under is 6-1-1 in Raptors last 8 road games.
Under is 6-1-1 in Raptors last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Over is 4-1 in Raptors last 5 vs. NBA Central.
Under is 4-1-1 in Raptors last 6 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
Under is 10-3 in Raptors last 13 overall.
Under is 9-3 in Raptors last 12 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Under is 9-3 in Raptors last 12 vs. Eastern Conference.
Over is 5-2 in Raptors last 7 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Under is 7-3-1 in Raptors last 11 games following a straight up win.
Under is 5-0 in Bucks last 5 games playing on 3 or more days rest.
Over is 4-0 in Bucks last 4 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
Over is 4-1 in Bucks last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Over is 9-3 in Bucks last 12 games following a straight up win.
Over is 5-2 in Bucks last 7 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points.
Under is 5-2 in Bucks last 7 Conference Finals games.
Over is 5-2 in Bucks last 7 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Over is 26-11 in Bucks last 37 vs. NBA Atlantic.
Under is 7-3 in Bucks last 10 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
Over is 7-3 in Bucks last 10 games following a ATS win.
Over is 11-5 in Bucks last 16 overall.
Raptors are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings in Milwaukee.
Over is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings.
Raptors are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
Road team is 7-1 ATS in the last 8 meetings.
Underdog is 7-0 ATS in the last 7 meetings.