Toronto (10-6, 8-8 ATS Playoffs ) at Milwaukee (10-3 SU and ATS Playoffs)
Thursday, 08:30 PM EDT (TNT)
Free NBA Pick: Bucks ATS
Recommended Sportsbook: YouWager
It was universally concluded Milwaukee would bounce back from their Game 3 loss and for the first three minutes, it looked like they would, building a quick 12-5 lead over Toronto. But in the last 45 minutes, the Raptors looked like dinosaurs right off the movie screen and ran roughshod over the Bucks, outscoring them by 25 points.
In the most basic sense, each team has held serve on their home court. But will that continue or has Toronto seized control?
The Case For Toronto in Game 5
For the first time, Toronto figured out Milwaukee’s defense, shooting 47.1 percent, after three contests averaging below 40 percent. The Raptors also won two other important factors for the initial time in the series, rebounding and bench points. Toronto had a 44-40 edge on the glass, which included 10 offensive rebounds, most which were converted into points. Also, they mauled Milwaukee off the bench with a decisive 48-23 advantage.
If one thinks back to Game 1 where the Bucks closed the game on a 10-0 run if that doesn’t happen, Coach Nick Nurse’s club could be looking at a 3-1 series lead. With Toronto brimming with confidence and Milwaukee starters Eric Bledsoe and Nikola Mirotic well below their season averages, if the Raptors can play the Bucks bench even, they would at least seem like a good bet against the NBA odds of +7 on the road.
The Case For Milwaukee in Game 5
Not sure how else to view this, but coach Mike Budenholzer squad played timid north of the border. You never got the sense in Game 3 Milwaukee was going to win and once they took haymakers Tuesday night, Milwaukee collectively took numerous 8-counts before the game ended.
In the playoffs, coaches have to make adjustments and it’s time to start Malcolm Brogden and have Bledsoe come off the bench. This does not guarantee either will seize the moment, but to assume Bledsoe just wakes up Thursday and decides to score 30 points is also foolhardy.
Budenholzer also has to adjust the offense when Toronto sets up their Pink Floyd defense (The Wall), which is essentially a 1-2-2, by setting a screen for dribbler and have strong side and weak side cutters going to the rim to catch passes and score or find open stationery shooters.
In addition, the Bucks have to defend like they want to win this series, not like in Game 4 and stay closer to the Raptors shooters if they are connecting.
Milwaukee is 9-1 ATS having lost two of their last three games and with the total at 217, Giannis and the guys are 9-1 ATS at home when the total is 210 to 219.5.
The Numbers Game
When looking at the spread in this matchup, fascinating to know the SU winner in a Toronto playoff game this season is 14-2 ATS. For Milwaukee, that improves to 13-0 ATS. No losing team has covered the spread.
The Game 5 Choice
For NBA picks, while it seems Toronto should be the proper way to go with this many points, the oddsmakers number is cause for pause. The Raptors have to take this act back on the road where Milwaukee is 10-1 ATS since last year off an upset loss by double digits and 10-1 ATS this season off a road favorite setback, winning in each instance by 11 or more points.