Bucks vs. Raptors – Game 6 Pick & Prediction
Milwaukee Bucks (70-26 SU, 57-35-4 ATS) vs. Toronto Raptors (69-30 SU, 47-52 ATS)
When: Saturday, May 25th, 2019 – 8:30 PM ET
Where: ScotiaBank Arena – Toronto, ON
Point Spread: MIL +2 / TOR -2 (Bovada)
Takeaways From Game Five
The Bucks find themselves in peril as they will be looking at potential elimination for the first time of the playoffs. After sweeping the Pistons in the First Round, making quick work of the Celtics in five games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and leaping out to a 2-0 lead in this series, the Raptors have since asserted their will in the Eastern Conference Finals and now own a 3-2 lead after staging an upset, which put on in the right column for me, in Milwaukee in Game Five on Thursday. Closing as a 7.5-point underdog, the Dinos stunned the Deer on their own court to defeat them by a score of 105-99.
How the Public is Betting Game Six
Presently, 60% of the betting public are on board with the Raptors here as a two-point favorite. The market opened with Toronto laying 1.5 points to Milwaukee but thanks to the lean by the consensus the line has moved upward by half of a point from the opener.
The Historicals / Betting History
The Raptors have been a cash cow in the previous three games of this series as they have won three consecutive matches while covering in each of these contests. In the last two meetings, the Raptors produce outright wins despite sportsbooks having them as a three-point underdog in Game Four and an aforementioned 7.5-point underdog in Game Five.
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Neither team has expressed any key injury heading into Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
Both teams were last in action in on Thursday for Game Five in Milwaukee. The Bucks will host Game Seven on Monday should they survive Game Six in the Great White North. Much to the chagrin of the Bucks, they find themselves in a do or die situation in one of the most animated environments in all the NBA. For the Raptors in particular, finishing the series in Game Six gives them five days to prepare for the NBA Finals without ever having to leave Toronto. Undoubtedly such a reprieve will be needed to square off with the two-time defending champions, the Golden State Warriors who will be visiting the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday for Game One.
Where Has Milwaukee’s Offense Gone?
At the conclusion of the regular season, the Bucks were heralded as the most productive offense in the NBA scoring an average of 118.1 points per game. Their overall proficiency transcended into the post-season as the Deer averaged 116.8 points per contest in their first 11 games where they went 10-1 SU. However, over the span of their three game skid against the Dinos, the Deer have averaged just 104.3 points per match. Production has begun to tick downward as they were held to 112 in a double-overtime game in Game Three, 102 points in Game Four, and an incredulous 99 points on their own court in Milwaukee in Game Five. The Bucks will have to reignite their offense in Game Six if they want to have any hope of making it to the Finals.
Will Kawhi Leonard Be The Difference Maker Yet Again?
Many NBA enthusiasts revel in the play of Raptors Forward Kawhi Leonard but I get the sense that perhaps the larger basketball community of casual fans are becoming more acquainted with how good he really is. The Bucks have had no answer for Kawhi as he has gone over 30 points in five of the six contests in this series. Leonard has put together a MVP catalogue of performances in the post-season averaging 31.4 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per contest. Kawhi has also shot 51.2% from the field over the playoffs which is nothing short of spectacular given the fact this is over a 17-game sample. In Game Five, Leonard scored 35 points. This is a key threshold for Toronto as the Raptors are 4-0 SU in playoff games where Kawhi has scored 36 points or more. Should Leonard be able to have another explosive offensive performance like he did in Game Three (where he scored 36 against the Bucks), Toronto should be on their way to the NBA Finals.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Toronto -2
Unfortunately for the Bucks, Game Three will serve as the prime mover in where the Eastern Conference Finals slipped away from them. To the credit of the Raptors, they found a way to survive a double-overtime dogfight and avert falling behind 3-0 to a team that looked like a juggernaut throughout most of the regular season and as it made its way through the Eastern Conference bracket of the post-season. However, in the last two games in particular, Milwaukee’s offense has been virtually non-existent and the Raptors defense has taken control of this series. I don’t expect any form of a let-down here in Game Six from Toronto. If anything, I expect the Bucks to come in flat. Milwaukee has had its way throughout the playoffs and now I can’t help but imagine that they will be a bit overwhelmed by the circumstances. The Bucks’ chance to re-assert themselves in this series and stop the meltdown came and went in Game Five and it is now Toronto that is pounding its chest. Lest we forget, this match is undoubtedly the biggest game in Raptors’ franchise history and given how insanely passionate the Toronto fan base has been throughout this run, the Great White North will be more animated and intimidating perhaps than it ever has been before. Be that as it may, all I have to do is spot a basket here and that is an absolute bargain if you ask me. Toronto will be going to its first NBA Finals in its history and I have them winning this game by at least four points.