And then there were two left in the east.
The Milwaukee Bucks have been like a Steel Train charging through everything in its path. But the Toronto Raptors, who own a 6-4 advantage over the last ten meetings, are looking to derail the Bucks.
Top betting sites have the Milwaukee Bucks listed as -260 favorites to win the series, but can they cover a six-point spread in Game 1?
Let’s break it down.
Milwaukee vs. Toronto, Game 1
Kawhi Leonard put a dagger in the heart of Philly fans with his amazing, side-flying buzzer-beater on May 12th. It was dramatic, to say the least. But if the 76ers pushed the Raptors that hard, can they beat a team like the Bucks with the interior play of Giannis seemingly unstoppable?
Yes. The Toronto Raptors have a 6-4 series advantage over the Milwaukee Bucks. But, over the five most recent meetings, the Bucks have dominated the Raptors. All in all, I believe that Giannis and the Bucks will get this series out of the way in six games, with each team winning their home games.
The thing about it is the Bucks are built around Giannis Antetokounmpo, they have a better supporting cast. Unfortunately for Toronto fans, the Bucks bench and supporting players have been much more consistent.
The Raptors are a great team and they deserve to be in the Conference Finals, but it’s doubtful that they’ll advance. That said, covering the spread is another story.
The Raptors have covered the point spread in Fiserv Forum in four of the last five visits. Looking at this game, the six-point spread is quite a lot, and if we wait it out, all of the public action going towards the Bucks is likely to push that number to 6.5 or 7.
At which point I think the Raptors have a lot of value. Sitting directly on the number 6 is risky. I feel like the sportsbooks have the line pegged perfectly, but with a little bit of artificial inflation, we get an advantage.
The Raps Road Defense Allows 108.2 PPG
The Bucks Home Defense Allows 106.7 PPG
The Raptors Road Offense Scores 112.3 PPG
The Bucks Home Offense Scores 119.2 PPG
A big part of the Bucks’ home dominance is the fact that they average 5.5 more rebounds per game at home than the Raptors do on the road. Even if only 50% of those turn into points, it adds roughly six to the scoreboards.
Another big factor is the fact that when you get under the rim against the Bucks, you still are not guaranteed anything; they average six blocks and 40.6 defensive boards per game.
Thinking about blocks, the Bucks allow 5.4 fewer points in the paint per game. And on top of that, a solid five defensive rebounds more, as well as 5.4 offensive rebounds more than the Raptors. This is where the difference will be made in this series. Is that enough to stay on top of the six-point spread?
Game 1: If the line falls to 5.5 take the Bucks, if the line moves to 6.5 or 7, take the Raptors.