Jordan’s NBA Picks: 82-60-1, Playoffs 28-22-1
Toronto (68-30 SU & 46-50 ATS) at Milwaukee (70-25 SU & 57-35 ATS)
Thursday, 8:30 PM EST, TNT
Free NBA Pick: Over 1Q
Recommended Sportsbook: Intertops
It’s been a great series so far and so far throughout the last three games, the team ahead at half time has gone on to win the game. However, the tempo and style of the game will be established early and I think Milwaukee will want to put pressure on Toronto on both ends of the court.
Not The Tale Of Two Halves
A cliché you hear in sports writing and handicapping is that it was a tale of two halves. That can happen a lot in basketball, but so far over the last three games of this series, the team that had a pretty big lead at halftime went on to win and cover.
I think the first half spread in this game is pretty sharp, so while I’m tempted to lay the -4 ½ with the Bucks in the first half, I’m laying off this time around.
However, with that in mind, I do think there is some value to be had in these first quarter lines. So far in this series, the Bucks have been taken advantage of. This is largely due to the last two games, but even in Game 1, the Raptors caught the Bucks napping in the first quarter.
Milwaukee has to know that if they play poorly in the first quarter, it could stretch into an entire half of bad play. Since they have lost two in a row and considering they are returning home, I doubt that will happen.
What I do think will happen is a first-quarter not far from what we have seen in the last four games. Pace has been a significant factor in the early stages of games in this series and even in a tied series with everything on the line in Game 5, I think both teams’ offenses will be up to the task.
The Sharp Pick
So far in this series, the Bucks have had their way with the pace of play early in the game. Milwaukee and Toronto have been playing at a first-quarter pace of 103.5 over this series and I doubt that changes much tonight in Milwaukee.
Throughout the playoffs, the Bucks have been successful with speeding their opponents up early in the game. The Bucks have a 104.6 first quarter pace for the playoffs and it goes up to 106.6 when they are playing that first quarter in Milwaukee.
For tonight, the totals have been dropping considerably since they opened, but that has just opened up more value for us to bet the over in the first quarter of this one. Even if the defense for both teams improves some from the first four games, if they are playing at a pace of 105 or higher in the first quarter, it might not matter.
First Quarter Score Prediction: Raptors 26 – Bucks 29