2019 NBA Playoff Betting Picks – Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:

It’s hard to say who has the advantage when the Toronto Raptors visit the Milwaukee Bucks for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

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The Raps finished off a grueling seven game series with Philadelphia on Sunday with a dramatic buzzer-beating shot from Kawhi Leonard. Meanwhile, the Bucks were lounging around the pool sipping fruity drinks with umbrellas waiting to find out their next opponent. I guess there are advantages to both scenarios and we’ll see which one plays out on Wednesday night.

Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks

Date and Time: Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 8:30 p.m. ET

Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI

Opening NBA Odds: Milwaukee -6, O/U 218

Raptors at Bucks TV Coverage: TNT

Odds Analysis

The only good thing for the Raptors on Sunday, other than winning of course, was that the game didn’t go into overtime. They waited until the last second before putting away the Sixers on a heroic shot from Leonard. And if the Raps are to upset the NBA’s best team, they’ll need more of the same. A little bit of defense wouldn’t hurt either. And Toronto flashed some of that against Philly’s dynamic group of scorers. They allowed 96 points or less in their four wins and just 98.8 points per game for the entire series. It will be a challenge to repeat those numbers against the NBA’s most efficient offense.

Proving their regular season success wasn’t a fluke, the Bucks have continued to pour it on in the playoffs, sweeping the Pistons and eliminating Boston in five games. Milwaukee was expected to have a tougher go in the second round against an experienced Celtics squad, but that wasn’t the case. After dropping Game 1 of that series, the Bucks reeled off four straight wins by an average of 16.3 points. And seven of their eight playoff wins have been by at least 12 points with five decided by 20 or more points.


Toronto had a productive group of reserves during the regular season, and it was bolstered by the mid-season acquisition of Marc Gasol. But we’ve seen Nick Nurse shorten his bench during the playoffs and he used just seven players in Game 7 against Philadelphia. Those additional minutes put a lot of stress on the guys seeing action and we could see fatigue play a big part in this game and the series.

With Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo zero-factoring each other, the outcome will be decided by the supporting casts. Toronto has to have someone help out Leonard on the offensive end the likely candidate is Kyle Lowry. He is one of three players averaging double figures in the postseason but Lowry is shooting just 41.5 percent from the field. Toronto had success against Philly using Gasol and Serge Ibaka on the floor at the same time, but that pairing probably won’t work against the fleet-footed Bucks, and with little production from the bench it’s hard to say the Raps winning this one.


We might as well refer to Antetokounmpo as MVP since it’s much easier to write. And he sure as hell played like one during the season and so far in the playoffs. Losing once in the first two rounds also allowed MVP to heal from nagging injuries that limited his run time near the end of the season and he’s eager to get back on the floor.

The return of Malcolm Brogdon for the closeout game against Boston further bolstered the Bucks rotation, and Mike Budenholzer wasn’t afraid to use his bench during the first two rounds. It’s a strategy that played out well during the season and the acquisition of George Hill added some postseason experience. The teams were separated by just two games in the standings, but at this point the Bucks appear to be the stronger team. They are rested and as healthy as a team can be at this point in the season.

Bet Raptors at Bucks at BookMaker.eu

Milwaukee is a team that likes to run the floor, push the tempo, and shoot plenty of threes. That style works better when you’re in a rhythm and that’s something the Bucks aren’t in after a week of inactivity. It may take a few minutes to get going, but once they do the Bucks will attack to see just how the Raps respond after their lengthy series. Because they are so good scoring the basketball, the Bucks’ defense often gets overlooked. With everyone but Leonard struggling to find consistency, look for Milwaukee to take advantage and get a jump in the series.

NBA Playoff Score Prediction: Bucks 115, Raptors 107

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