The Breakfast Spread: Raptors Clash With Bucks As 6-Point Underdogs In Eastern Conference Finals
The Toronto Raptors come off one of the most memorable Game 7s in NBA history, while the Milwaukee Bucks play their first game in a week. Here’s a sports betting preview of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks tip off the Eastern Conference in finals in Milwaukee Wednesday night.
The Bucks are given the luxury of playing on a week’s worth of rest after swiftly beating the Boston Celtics 4-1 in the conference semifinals. The Raptors are coming off the most memorable game of the playoffs and the first Game 7 buzzer-beater in NBA playoff history.
Oddsmakers opened Milwaukee -6 (Over/Under 218). The line has stayed steady at most shops, with the total dropping a half-point to 217.5. If you’re learning Toronto, you can get the Raptors +6.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook as of Wednesday morning.
Stat of the Day
Kawhi Leonard is having his best postseason yet. That’s saying a lot for someone who already has an NBA Finals’ MVP title under his bet.
To put into perspective just how much Leonard means to the Raptors, check this out: Toronto scores 113.2 points per 100 possessions with Leonard on the floor. With Leonard off? Only 83.1 points per 100 possessions — a 30 point drop!
Prop Shop (Monkey Knife Fight)
The Bucks led the league in defensive rating during the regular season and the Raptors had a top 5 defense of their own. The Bucks’ defense has improved in the postseason, giving up almost 7 points fewer than they did in the regular season. That’s not particularly surprising considering they played their first four games against the Detroit Pistons and only lost one game to the Celtics. Regardless, the Eastern Conference Finals feature the best two defensive teams left.
Both Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s points props have seen significant increases from their regular season averages, in part because of the outstanding performances in the postseason.
The defenses are going to show up in this series and it’s time to take advantage of the players’ inflated point totals. Take the Under on both players points at Monkey Knife Fight. Breakfast Lean: Kawhi Leonard Under 31.5 Points; Giannis Antetokounmpo Under 29.4 Points (2.58x payout at Monkey Knife Fight)
Temperature Meter: Milwaukee hot from three
Most people think that the Bucks are a one-man show. Their offense certainly runs through Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the likely 2019 MVP is supported by a cast of players who shoot efficiently from the arc. After losing Game 1, the Bucks bounced back with 20 3-pointers in Game 2, 18 of those were made Antetokounmpo’s teammates. In the regular season, Milwaukee was fourth in 3-point percentage and second to only the Houston Rockets in 3-pointers attempted and made.
Per NBA.com, the Bucks are one of two teams to shoot as well or better from 3-point range in this year’s playoffs. It’s a very modest increase, but most teams’ 3-point shooting tends to go down due to more intense defense and better competition in the postseason.
The Breakfast Pick
Will a hangover ensue for the Raptors and can the Bucks take advantage of rest or will Toronto carry over their momentum and could the Bucks be a bit rusty due to the time off?
It’s easy to rationale either scenarios, but I’m leaning towards the latter. The Bucks will face not only the best defense they’ve seen all playoffs but the Raptors are also the highest ranked offensive team they’ve played.
I expect Milwaukee’s 3-point shooting to fall back down to earth, at least a little bit. Kawhi Leonard will impact the game on both sides of the court, making sure to keep this game close. 6.5 points seems like too much, even on minimal rest. And for what it’s worth, FiveThirtyEight agrees.
FiveThirtyEight’s model gives the Raptors the second best chance of winning the Finals and a 56% chance of getting there. Their model, which was right on line with the Trail Blazers-Warriors spread, makes the Bucks only 2.5-point home favorites — 4 points different than FanDuel Sportsbook’s number.
Breakfast Pick: Toronto Raptors +6.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
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