Milwaukee (10-2 ML, +5.4 units – Playoffs ) at Toronto (9-6 ML, -3.65 units – Playoffs)
Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. (TNT)
Free NBA Pick: Bucks ML
Recommended Sportsbook: Heritage
There were several striking factors to take away from Game 3 and what they could mean for Game 4.
First, despite having an ankle, leg, knee or foot ailment, Kawhi Leonard was going to gut it out for Toronto. Leonard has 36 points, his fourth straight game of 30 or more points, and while he lacked his usual explosiveness, he as 12 of 13 from the charity stripe and grabbed nine rebounds.
Right from the start, Giannis Antetokounmpo lacked the desire and easily has his worst playoff game of the spring. As soon as the Raptors came with the double team, Antetokounmpo was all too willing to pass. The usual energy and fire that he plays with were lacking. It’s bad for any star player to have more fouls (6) and turnovers (8) than made baskets (5). This is particularly true when you are the presumptive league MVP.
Another impossible to ignore factor is Milwaukee’s problems at the free throw line. They were 22 of 33 (Giannis 2-for-7) and if they had made only two or more before the second overtime started, the Bucks in all likelihood would be up 3-0 in this series.
Milwaukee Still In Control and Oddsmakers Like Them
As bad as the Bucks were when it came to the free throw line, from the field (37.3 percent) and the number of turnovers (20) committed, they had a chance to escape with a victory after 57 minutes of playing basketball on the road.
Sportsbooks are definitely giving them the benefit of the doubt, as Toronto has gone from a 2.5-point favorite on Sunday to and an opening 2.5-point home underdog when reviewing the NBA odds. The thinking has to be Milwaukee played a poor game, though the Raptors defense was terrific in design thanks to their coach Nick Nurse.
Unless there is something wrong with Antetokounmpo, he should be raring to go after such a mediocre showing and this season the Bucks are 7-1 SU after shooting under 40 percent, including winning the last four in this situation.
Game 4 Selection
For NBA picks, one has to consider Milwaukee, especially on the money line. (From the spread perspective, -2.5 is still a solid play, but I’d hold pass if the Bucks go over -3, that’s too much value lost.)
The Bucks were mentally weak and performed poorly outside of George Hill and Malcolm Brogdon, with Pat Connaughton as positive also in 12 minutes. It would seem very unlikely the Milwaukee’s starting five would go 19-for-69 again (6-29 from behind the arc).
Milwaukee’s bench again destroyed Toronto’s, outscoring them 54-27 and this included the Raptors Norman Powell tallying 19, compared to his playoff average of 7.4. Big edge here for the visitor.
Also, keep in mind, Toronto is shooting under 40 percent for the series and under that same number in their last four contests. The Greek Freak and friends are 14-1 SU revenging a same season setback and 26-4 SU after suffering a spread loss.