Two beasts of the East will tip-off on Monday night and we have strong opinions on which side will fade and which side will flourish. Let’s bust our bookies to start the week and cash in our NBA picks!
Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Monday, August 10, 2020 – 6:30 PM ET at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Florida
Raptors Rebound on Sunday
Toronto had won seven straight games until they met the Boston Celtics on Friday night. Those of you who are regular readers of mine and follow my NBA picks are aware that I not only advised a play on the Celtics +3 but predicted the underdogs from Boston would win the game outright. And so they did, in dominating fashion no less when Boston claimed a 122-100 victory over their Atlantic division rivals from up north.
But it didn’t take long for the Raptors to shake it off and get back to business. On Sunday afternoon Pascal Siakam bucketed 26 points and led Toronto to a 108-99 win over the Grizzlies, covering the seven-point impost. It was the fifth consecutive season Toronto finished with at least 50 wins, and in doing so, also clinched the No. 2 seed in the East.
Bucks Staggering Down the Stretch
Milwaukee has now lost three of its last four games, including their most recent outing when they fell 136-132 in overtime against the Mavericks. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 34 points and hauled in 13 boards while teammate Brook Lopez matched him with a season-high 34 but the star of the game was on the other side of the court. Dallas’ Luka Doncic notched 36 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists for another triple-double to add to his burgeoning superstar resume in the gritty win for Dallas.
The Bucks are just 2-3 straight up and against the number since entering the Disney bubble despite the Greek Freak averaging 34.7 points per game over four of those five contests (he played only 16 minutes in the loss to Brooklyn and scored 16 points).
Speaking of Giannis, he is listed as probable for Monday’s game with a toothache. As an aside, couldn’t they make something up instead of telling the world this nearly seven-foot giant might not play because his molar is hurting?
Nevertheless, Milwaukee has secured the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and a case could be made that there is no real incentive to win these games down the stretch. However, the Bucks could very well be viewing this showdown with the Raptors in a different light as Toronto is the team to beat in the East. Moreover, after winning their two previous meetings this season, a sweep of their regular-season series would serve as a considerable mental advantage over their chief rivals in the event they clash in the postseason.
Wanna Make a Bet?
On November 2nd, the Bucks handed the Raptors a 115-105 defeat and covered the six-point spread. Fast forward to their second meeting on February 25th and the results were similar, Milwaukee won the game, 108-97, covering as one-point underdogs. And here we are again, same two teams but the Bucks seem to be faltering while the Raptors are surging.
However, I am not looking for anything different than I’ve seen before because Milwaukee is hardly through paying the Raptors back for knocking them out of the Eastern Conference Finals. As of this Sunday evening writing, the NBA odds at all of the best online sportsbooks like BetOnline are still dark on this contest with the status of the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo still in doubt.
Call me crazy but I hardly doubt a toothache is going to sideline the big man, yet, on the other hand, it could be a good excuse to sit their resident superstar to give him a little breather before the playoffs begin. All of that said, I like Milwaukee’s chances here because they have shown up every time they’ve met the Raptors this season and played excellent defense in both contests.
And since I brought up defense, it will be the key to this game because it is exactly what Toronto has done so well over their entire season, allowing just 106.4 PPG, tops in the NBA this season. However, Milwaukee boasts the eighth-best stop-unit in the league and has the most explosive offense in the NBA, averaging a whopping 118.9 points per game. Once the Bucks break the Raptors’ defense it will force Toronto to match Milwaukee bucket for bucket, and that’s just not happening with this matchup. Include the Bucks -5.5 (-115) at BetOnline (Visit our BetOnline Review) in your NBA picks for Monday night!