Jordan’s NBA Picks: 78-60-1 (Playoffs 24-22-1)
Toronto (66-29 SU & 44-49 ATS) at Milwaukee (69-23 SU & 56-33 ATS)
Friday, 8:30 PM EST, TNT
Free NBA Pick: Over 1Q
Recommended Sportsbook: 5Dimes
The Raptors looked outstanding through most of Game 1, but their fell off as the game got deeper and the Bucks made a comeback. Can Toronto grab and actually hold onto that lead again in Game 2, or will the Bucks and their outstanding depth and pace bury the Raptors in Game 2?
Fast First Quarters
The Milwaukee Bucks have made a living on the fast break this season, especially early in the game. With a one-man wrecking crew named Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the charge, the Bucks play defense with their length and let the Greek Freak do things on the break.
However, in Game 1, we saw the script flipped on the Bucks, as it was the Raptors who chose to push the pace early in the game and catch the Bucks napping. Milwaukee was coming off a long layover and as I wrote leading up to Game 1, the Raptors could catch the Bucks napping.
That won’t be the case in Game 2, however, even with the Bucks coming back and winning Game 1 with a brilliant second half.
With that in mind though, assuming we will see better offense from the Bucks and a similar pace, the first quarter over seems like a great wager on Friday night.
These two teams played at a pace of 108 in the first quarter of Game 1 and in the playoffs the Bucks have a first quarter pace of 105.4. Over their last five playoff games that has shot up to 107.6 and it’s risen to 108 over their last two playoff games.
If Toronto stays hot early on the offensive end and continues to allow the Bucks transition opportunities, the Bucks will start to make shots earlier. They couldn’t buy a bucket in the opening minutes of the first quarter on Wednesday, but if that changes, 53 ½ is a great over value between these two teams.
The Sharp Pick
These two teams met four times in the regular season and they also played each other very quickly in the opening quarters of those games. Milwaukee and Toronto averaged a pace of 104.5 possessions per 48 minutes in those first quarters and the Bucks shot a lot better in those four games, posting a 54.4 effective field goal percentage in the first quarter against Toronto.
Getting out to a lead is going to be more important as this series goes on and even with the recent first quarter struggles offensively for Milwaukee. If they can break that curse in Game 2, I love the chances of a high scoring first quarter.
First Quarter Score Prediction: Raptors 27 – Bucks 29