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    2019 NBA playoffs: Tonight's best bets 🏀

    2019 NBA playoffs: Tonight's best bets


    With the 2019 NBA playoffs in full swing, there are plenty of betting opportunities every night. Our experts -- Joe Fortenbaugh, Preston Johnson, Doug Kezirian and Jordan Schultz -- will be here each day throughout the postseason, giving their best bets for the evening's games.

    All odds courtesy of Caesars.

    Thursday's game

    Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks

    Game 5 line: Bucks -7
    Game 5 over/under: 217
    Fortenbaugh: The home team is 4-0 both straight up and against the spread in the Eastern Conference finals, and should that trend continue Thursday in Milwaukee, Toronto's offense will be in for a tough night.

    The Raptors scored just 100 and 103 points in Games 1 and 2 on the road, respectively, only to head north of the border to record 96 points in regulation during Game 3. As for Toronto's Game 4 offensive explosion, take note that the Raptors shot a series-high 47 percent from the floor. Is that type of production sustainable on the road in Game 5 against a Bucks team that ranked second in the NBA during the regular season in defensive rating when playing at home?

    Oh, and let's not forget the fact that Kawhi Leonard is hurt and took just 13 shots in Game 4 while recording his second-lowest usage rate of the postseason.

    Pick: Raptors team total under 105

    Kezirian: As playoff series evolve, I always look to play the under. Teams become more and more familiar with the opposing team's offense and no longer are surprised by certain sets. In this particular series, Toronto has seemingly found an answer to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Isolating Kawhi Leonard is certainly limiting the MVP candidate. Additionally, the Raptors are funneling the ball to Eric Bledsoe and living with his jumpers. Thus, I lean to the under in this spot.

    Pick: Under 217

    Schultz: Candidly, I was surprised with how well Toronto responded on its home floor. Kawhi Leonard might not be 100 percent, but his relentless effort defensively on Giannis Antetokounmpo -- along with his clutch shot-making -- has been instrumental in the Raptors' tying the series up. However, the Bucks remain the deeper team with the more consistent offense, ranking third in the league this season in efficiency and second in 3-pointers made, behind only the Rockets. Coach Bud likes to ride with what has been successful, but adjustments must be made, as Eric Bledsoe (11-for-45 FGs, 2-for-19 3s) and Ersan Ilyasovahave both struggled mightily. The time has come for both Malcolm Brogdon and George Hill to earn more minutes as a result. It is imperative that the Bucks spread the court as much as possible for Antetokounmpo (more than five TOs per game in this series) to get into the lane and make plays. Pick-and-roll coverage must also be better. I'm not saying change the philosophy entirely, but simply sagging Brook Lopez into the key and enabling Marc Gasol one uncontested triple after another is too easy. Pressure those ball screens a little more to provide resistance and suddenly Gasol won't be so comfortable bombing away from deep.

    Pick: Bucks -7

    Eastern Conference finals picks

    Fortenbaugh: I like Milwaukee, but not at a price of -280 to defeat 2014 NBA champion Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors. Looking back at the first two rounds of this year's postseason, what have we learned about the Bucks that we didn't already know? The Pistons, with an injured Blake Griffin, were completely overmatched and posed no threat whatsoever during the opening salvo. Meanwhile, the Celtics were supposed to prove a formidable challenge, but Boston ate itself from within and bowed out after only five games. How much of that do we attribute to Milwaukee and how much do we assign to the opposition?

    Toronto is a strong defensive squad that just survived a seven-game thriller against a quality opponent in Philadelphia. Gassed? Possibly. But the Raptors are battle-tested, highly effective when playing on the road and possess the balance and depth necessary to create some matchup problems for a Milwaukee squad that just watched Boston shoot a pathetic 37.7 percent from the floor over the final four games of their series. Had the Celtics produced that statistic during the 82-game regular season, Boston would have ranked dead last in the NBA in field-goal percentage.

    Pick: Raptors +240

    Johnson: I have been pro-Raptors throughout the playoffs and have no reason to change my tune now. I recommended a wager on them to win the Eastern Conference, and we are getting similar prices available now in the market. However, my projections have the Bucks advancing more often than the Raptors. If you asked me who I think wins the East, it would be Milwaukee. But that is what makes betting and the price relative to the likelihood of an event occurring so important. I believe the Bucks advance 53.5 percent of the time, which is a true line of -115. That means that I have Toronto advancing 46.5 percent of the time -- or +115 -- yet we are being offered +240. This is a significant edge.

    I certainly could be slow to the rise of the Bucks as a whole. They remind me of the first iteration of the Steve Kerr Warriors, with a first-year coach and scheme that caught the league by storm. That Warriors squad wound up defeating a depleted Cleveland team in the Finals. There certainly are a few numbers and metrics showing similarities between the Bucks and the Warriors, but as a whole they aren't on the same level.

    The Raptors are also really good. While the 76ers took them to the brink, it required playing their starters 40-plus minutes per game and Joel Embiid over 45 minutes. I think most people would agree that Philadelphia's starting five is one of the best in the NBA (and its bench is one of the worst). I wouldn't get too caught up in Toronto "struggling" against a 76ers team that ran its elite starting five for the majority of the game. The Raptors' strength in numbers and depth was mitigated in this case, but against Mike Budenholzer and the Bucks' rotation of nine to 10 players, Toronto will match up well. One example is Raptors stud reserve Fred VanVleet, who struggled against the Sixers' size and the fact that Philadelphia didn't even play a backup point guard the entire series. I expect VanVleet to make a positive impact against the likes of George Hill, Sterling Brown and even Malcolm Brogdon if he continues to play for Milwaukee off of the bench.

    Toronto +1.5 series games won is an option as well if you are concerned about the series going seven games and the finale being played on the road in Milwaukee. Both are viable options worth betting.

    Pick: Raptors +240

    Schultz: Milwaukee will control this series by deploying Giannis Antetokounmpo in the open floor to punish the Raptors. The Bucks have been an offensive revelation this season, ranking first in efficiency by relying on the Greek Freak's playmaking ability. Plus, Khris Middleton, Pat Connaughton, Malcolm Brogdon and Brook Lopez all are knockdown shooters.

    Toronto has the dominant Kawhi Leonard and an ideal complement in Pascal Siakam, but the lack of a bench will become more and more of a factor as the series progresses. The Bucks are deeper, more talented and have home-court advantage to boot.

    The Raptors hope to do to the Bucks what the Celtics did in Game 1: catch them sleeping on their home floor. Consider that learning on the job, however. Antetokounmpo has shown a remarkable ability to lead during moments of vulnerability -- and the Bucks' ability to consistently generate stops can help mitigate any offensive woes. Milwaukee ranks third in defensive efficiency and first in both paint and rim defense.

    Pick: Bucks -280

    Kezirian: Come on down, because the price is right. I believe Milwaukee will win this series, but I also think -280 is too steep. Toronto still has Kawhi Leonard, who has been an offensive force this postseason, and sufficient shooting around him. We must also account for Toronto's exceptional defenders. Leonard is as good as they come, especially complementing the impressive length of Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. Plus, the backcourt of Kyle Lowry and Danny Green is solid on defense.

    The Bucks are 8-1 ATS this postseason, but I am most impressed with their two victories in Boston. Both were tight games at halftime and the role players showed poise, which was a question mark for this young team. Ultimately, it will come down to making outside shots. In Toronto's four wins over the Sixers, Philadelphia shot 38-for-121 (31 percent) from 3-point range. The Bucks were actually middle of the pack during the regular season (35 percent) but had the second-most attempts per game (38.2). No firm play here for the series.

    Pick: Pass

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    I love when guys justify plays with writeups that mean nothing

    Once the ball is tipped anything can happen

    Nobody can predict turnovers and shooting %ís thatís why itís a pure guess as far as spreads

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjgold View Post
    I love when guys justify plays with writeups that mean nothing

    Once the ball is tipped anything can happen

    Nobody can predict turnovers and shooting %ís thatís why itís a pure guess as far as spreads
    I love when guys make bunch of post day that mean nothing, rarely accurate, and usually has more spelling mistakes than a 3rd grader.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gatwald View Post
    Kill yourselves. Nobody loves you anyways.