Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks Pick for Game 2
Toronto Raptors (66-29 SU, 44-51 ATS) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (69-23 SU, 56-32-4 ATS)
When: Friday, May 17th, 2019 – 8:30 PM ET
Where: Fiserv Forum – Milwaukee, WI
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TOR +6.5 / MIL -6.5 (MyBookie)
Power Rankings: Milwaukee -5
Takeaways From Game One
As the concern was raised in our write-up of Game One, the Bucks looked every bit rusty in the opening stages. At one point, the Deer trailed by as much as 13 points but once they got firing on all cylinders, Milwaukee had little trouble notching the victory in the opening frame of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bucks cruised onto a 108-100 win over the Raptors to produce a cover as a 6.5-point favorite.
How the Public is Betting Game Two
Presently, the consensus appears to be more or less down the middle as 51% of the market like the Raptors in the present market. Nevertheless, the Bucks opened as a seven-point favorite and the line has fallen by half of a point to Milwaukee at -6.5.
The Historicals / Betting History
The Bucks have now taken command of this series as they have won five of the previous six meetings against the Raps. Over this span, the Deer have also gone an impressive 5-1 ATS.
Neither team has expressed any key injury concerns heading into Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
Both teams were in action on Wednesday and too much rest seemed to get the best of Milwaukee initially. However, both teams now have a game under their belt and this will be the second game of a two-contest stint in Milwaukee before the series heads to the Great White North for two games starting with Game Three on Sunday.
Can the Raptors Outshoot the Bucks From Beyond The Arc?
If the Raptors are planning to claw their way back into this series and draw level, they should look no further than their perimeter play. In Game One, the Raptors were effective from three-point range as they hit 35.7% of their attempts. Moreover, Toronto was able to mitigate the Bucks’ three-point shooting as they held Milwaukee to a 25% success rate. This is a distinct edge that Toronto owns in this match-up as they finished sixth in the NBA in three-point efficiency (36.6%) while also producing an eighth-ranked opponent three-point percentage (34.5%). For Milwaukee, the Bucks are a middle of the road three-point shooting team (35.3%) and they are one of the weaker teams in defending the trey, as opponents hit 36.1% of their attempts (22nd in the NBA). The Raptors will undoubtedly look to exploit this angle if they are keen to level the series.
Can Milwaukee Wear Toronto Out With Physical Play?
In our Game One analysis, I mentioned that the Deer were a force in rebounding. Milwaukee closed the season out averaging a league-leading 49.7 total rebounds per game. Toronto finished 17th in total rebounding (45.2 total boards per contest). The disparity between the two was on full display in Game One as the Bucks threw their weight around, beating Toronto by a margin of 60-46 in total rebounds. Moreover, Milwaukee took it to Toronto in terms of the interior game as they score 44 points in the paint to Toronto’s 26. The Raptors are known for a scrappy style of play but the Bucks will not shy from showing their antlers in Game Two as their physical play will be paramount in establishing a 2-0 lead.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Milwaukee -6.5
Believe it or not, Game One was actually an off performance for the Bucks. As stated much of this could be chalked up to an extended period off the court after they dismantled the C’s in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Against Boston as we know, Milwaukee got trampled in their opening match against Boston but in Game Two they followed up with fury and smashed the Celtics in a 21-point defeat. Unfortunately for the Raptors, they didn’t stage an upset to get a leg up. In fact, Milwaukee nearly defeated Toronto by a double-digit margin in spite of the slow start, so I don’t see things getting an easier now that Milwaukee will be in position for an even betting outing in Game Two. Fortunately for me, I don’t have to lay any more points than I did in Game One. Furthermore, let me also make light of the fact that on their own floor, the Bucks outscore opponents on average by 12.4 points. There is no reason to suggest that they cannot win by that margin here in Game Two if they don’t come in flat like they did in the first half of Game One. After all, Milwaukee outscored Toronto 57-41 from the third quarter onward. The bottom line is that this Bucks team is a forced to be reckoned with and they will make sure all the basketball world knows that at the expense of a team that many dubbed their greatest threat to winning to East. The Deer gallop in Milwaukee on Friday, swallow the points.