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Bucks – Raptors

Bucks Raptors Game 1 handicapping

The Milwaukee Bucks will host the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the the Eastern Conference finals.

The Bucks (1st seed) have been excellent all season, and they did not slow down one bit in these playoffs. Milwaukee lost just one game in the entire postseason, winning 4-0 against the Pistons and 4-1 against the Celtics. They are proving themselves at the highest level, and with the Greek Freak playing exceptionally well, people expect them to advance to the finals – if not even dethrone the mighty Warriors to win the whole thing.

The Raptors (2nd seed) barely escaped from a dogfight against the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Raptors were up 3-2 and seemingly in control of the series, but in the end it was all decided by a Kawhi Leonard buzzer beater in Game 7. Leonard hit a crazy last second shot to avoid overtime in that deciding game, surely one of the luckiest shots in NBA history.

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Team news: There are no new absences for either side. The Bucks continue to miss Gasol, DiVincenzo and possibly Wilson, while the Raptors are still without Anunoby.

The Bucks are looking like the better team. They had the best record in the entire NBA in the regular season, and seemed to get only better in the playoffs. Meanwhile the Raptors have been way too dependent on Kawhi Leonard in the postseason, and almost lost against Philly in the semifinals. It`s fair to say they played a bit below expectations.

However, this will still be a very difficult series for the Bucks. The Raptors remain an absolutely legitimate team, and they might have the personnel and style to counter the way the Bucks are playing.

The Bucks` gameplan is as simple as it is effective – have Giannis drive to the hoop and either finish, or kick it out to the perimeter, where he is surrounded by three point shooters. Of course, this analysis oversimplyfies things a bit, but that is basically their game.

The Raptors have multiple bodies which they can put on Giannis in the paint, be it Kawhi (the best defender in the NBA), Siakam, Ibacka or Gasol. And on top of that, they are one of the best teams in the NBA at defending the three point line. This combination could make life difficult for the Bucks.

The under / over line is set at 218 points and that looks high to me. The Bucks might not score as easily against the Raptors as they do against either teams.

If we look at the results in these playoffs, the Bucks surpassed this line in 5 out of 9 games, but the Raptors did not surpassed it even once in 12 games! That`s incredible, the Raptors played 12 games in these playoffs and all 12 ended with under 218 points.

Based on the above, under 218 points looks like a logical and solid bet to me on this one. Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks – Toronto Raptors 106 – 101.

Pick: under 218 points
Odds: 1.97 @ Pinnacle
Stake: 8
Possible profit: 7.76
Event date: 16 May

About Rostick

Former bookie & water polo player. Rugby Union expert. - EDITOR INFO & STATS
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