Last Updated: 2019-05-21
When two teams are coming off an intense, double-overtime game like the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors are, you have to start thinking about which of those clubs is affected more by the fatigue factor, and which of them has the depth to be able to handle it.
So that’s our puzzle as these teams get ready to tip it off on Tuesday night at 8:35 PM ET at the Scotiabank Arena. The Bucks are up two games to one, and Toronto must win or face the elimination game in Milwaukee on Thursday.
Sunday’s game took two extra sessions and the Raptors, in a courageous effort, pulled away for an 118-112 victory, despite a game-high 23 rebounds from Giannis Antetokounmpo.
In the NBA playoff betting odds posted on Game 4 of this Eastern Conference finals series, the Bucks are listed as the favorites:
Milwaukee Bucks -2.5 (-109)
Toronto Raptors+2.5 (-101)
Over 216.5 points (-105)
Under 216.5 points (-105)
As you can see, those numbers include reduced juice, which enables you to avoid having to lay the standard -110 on NBA basketball action, and BetAnySports offers this tremendous value option on the site. Also, while you;re watching the game on TNT, you can place wagers in real-time with Live Betting Ultra.
Of course, there’s no doubt by now that Kawhi Leonard is extending himself. He played 52 minutes the other night, scoring 36 points, but he had to do what he had to do. It’s as simple as that. Now there are other people who may have to carry some of the burden, and that was a problem for the Raptors over the first two games of the series.
Help came on Sunday, however, as Pascal Siakam put up 25 points. And it was a judicious decision on the part of head coach Nick Nurse to keep struggling Marc Gasol in the starting lineup, as he wound up with 16 points, twelve boards and seven assists.
Danny Green, however, has been a real disappointment. The one-time San Antonio sharpshooter has made just four of 20 field goals in the series, and like the rest of his team, has not been assertive on the offensive boards.
And the Bucks have maintained that edge on the offensive glass, with a +17 in that category heading into Tuesday. These represent second chances to score; and for a team like Toronto, which has not had time to catch its breath after eliminating Philadelphia in seven games, it can be exasperating having to defend not once, but twice.
And that brings us to who have more useful depth. Well, Fred Van Vleet and Norman Powell aren’t bad, but the Raptors don’t have anybody like George Hill (24 points in Game 3), with all he can do and his steadying effect on the floor. And Malcolm Brogdon, who scored 20 points the other night, elevates this bench to an elite group. Head coach Mike Budenholzer isn’t tinkering with the starting lineup either. And that means Milwaukee will be the team getting more meaningful minutes from the reserves.
The Bucks got a combined 11-of-48 shooting from Giannis, Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe, and they were still in position to win Game 3. They came into this series with a playoff Defensive Rating of 98.2 (best in the league). And that rating was 98.1 in Game 3, despite giving up 118 points. So that is one aspect of their game that can be counted upon, which is important in a contest in which both teams are winded (and where defense is the thing that often suffers).
There is not question that they are the better team. As we alluded to, they have exhibited the rebounding advantage (almost +12 per game). And they are very good at “rebounding” after a defeat. Milwaukee is a sizzling 19-4 against the spread coming off a straight-up loss. There is no other team like that in the NBA.
So we’re laying the points.
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