Milwaukee Bucks @ Toronto Raptors | NBA Playoffs Predictions and Betting
For the first time in the series, Kawhi Leonard got a decent amount of help from his teammates in Game Three. It still took two overtime periods and Giannis Antetokounmpo fouling out for Toronto to get the win—but they did. But can they do it a second time in a row?
Spread: Bucks by 2.5
Money Line: Raptors +115; Bucks -135
*Odds via BetOnline.ag
The Raptors needed to catch a break if they were going to have any shot at all of making the Eastern Conference Finals interesting—and they got it. Giannis Antetokounmpo finally had a bad game. In Games One and Two, Antetokounmpo led the way for the Bucks with 24 and 30 points. But in Game Three, whether it was Toronto’s defense or his shot, he just couldn’t buy a basket. He ended the night by fouling out early in the second overtime after hitting just five of 16 field goal attempts and only two of seven free throws for 12 points. However, he did pull down 23 rebounds, but he also committed eight turnovers. As a team, the Bucks had 20 turnovers which led to 21 points for the Raptors. But despite not getting a great game from their superstar, the Bucks were in a position to win the game in regulation and in overtime. “We were right on the cusp of winning a game when we didn’t play that well,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said after Game Three, via ESPN.
Beating a team like the Bucks requires a total team effort, and for the first time in the series, the Raptors had that in Game Three. Five players, including four starters, scored in double digits; two had double-doubles (and Kawhi Leonard was not one of them). As a team, they recorded 28 assists on 40 made baskets. “I think our mentality was just better tonight,” head coach Nick Nurse said after Game Three. “Our feet were ready, our hands were ready and … our mentality was a little bit better to go ahead and pull the trigger.” However, heading into Game Four, the big concern will probably not be figuring out how to do it again. No, the focus will be on the health of Kawhi Leonard. The Raptors have tried to take it easy on him all season because of the drama that surrounded his quad injury in San Antonio. But late in the game, his leg appeared to be bothering him. But rather than sit, he powered through, played a career-high 52 minutes, and scored 36 points. He downplayed the injury after the game, but fans are going to be watching closely in Game Four.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Toronto Raptors Head-to-Head
The Raptors and Bucks played four times during the regular season with the Bucks winning three and the Raptors only one. Toronto lost both home games but managed to win one of the two in Milwaukee. From a historical perspective, the Bucks have owned the all-time series with the Raptors having won 51 of 89 games—including five of seven over the last two seasons. They have met once before in the postseason—the first round of the 2017 playoffs. Toronto won the series, 4-2. Milwaukee leads the current series, 2-1.
Odds and Predictions
Toronto has seemed to need a kick in the pants to get it together in the playoffs this year. They lost their opener in the first round to the Orlando Magic, and they were down 1-2 to the 76ers before getting it together. So, if the pattern holds, the 0-2 hole may have been what the Raptors needed in this series. However, if they are going to win Game Four, Kyle Lowry is going to have to step it up. The team got good games from Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol in Game Three along with Kawhi Leonard. But with Leonard, not 100 percent, they will need someone else to step up and take some pressure off Leonard. If Lowry can do it, the Raptors will win this game, straight up (+115) and against the spread (+2.5). As for the over/under (216), these guys just aren’t scoring a ton of points. Take the under.
Expert Betting Tip
Defense has been playing a significant factor in this game. Take the under.