Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks
|Date & Time||Wednesday May 15, 2019, 8:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Milwaukee -6 — Over/Under 218
The Toronto Raptors and the Milwaukee Bucks duke it out in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the Fiserv Forum on Wednesday night.
The Toronto Raptors will be full of confidence coming into this round after taking down the 76ers in a thrilling seven-game series. Kawhi Leonard has been great in these playoffs and really took it to another level against the 76ers as he averaged 34.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game while shooting a healthy 54 percent from the field, Pascal Siakam had a breakout series as he averaged 19.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, while Kyle Lowry had a quiet series as he finished with averages of 13.1 points while 5.1 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game. The Raptors looked to be in trouble against the 76ers when they fell behind 2-1 in the series, as their role players just were just too inconsistent throughout the series, but home-court advantage came in handy in Game 7 as the Raptors rallied in the fourth quarter to pull off a 92-90 win at the buzzer thanks to Leonard who drained a clutch shot to send the 76ers home.
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks would’ve been worried after they surrendered home-court advantage to the Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semi Finals, before reeling off four straight wins to make it look easy in the end. Giannis Antetokounmpo shook off a quiet Game 1 to finish the series with averages of 28.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.6 blocks per game, Khris Middleton averaged 19.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists while Eric Bledsoe struggled for consistency as he averaged just 13.4 points and 3.6 assists on 41 percent shooting. George Hill picked up the slack in the absence of Malcolm Brogdon as he averaged 14.2 points on 57 percent shooting off the bench. Overall, the Bucks will be delighted with their play as a team as they made it look easy at times against the highly touted Celtics in the previous round, but a lot will be riding on Giannis to continue to make plays in transition and in the half court when he gets double-teamed.
Looking at the betting trends, the Raptors are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS loss and 6-13 ATS in their last 19 road games against a team with a home record above .600. The Bucks are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games against a team above .600, 4-1 ATS in their last five home games and 5-14-1 ATS in their last 20 games playing on three or more days rest.
Head to head, the road team is 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings, the Raptors are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings in Milwaukee and the Raptors are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings overall.
The strength of the Raptors all season has been their depth, but that will certainly be tested against the red-hot Bucks who got even deeper with the underrated Malcolm Brogdon back in the lineup. The Bucks will be tough to beat at the Fiserv Forum where they went 33-8 during the regular season, but the same could be said for the Raptors who will still be celebrating their thrilling buzzer-beating Game 7 home win over the 76ers. You could make an argument for either side here, but the Bucks won the season series by 3-1 and I’m taking them to draw first blood with a win but no cover here.