The Eastern Conference Finals has been pretty well-predicted by oddsmakers. The favored team is 3-0 at this point in the series and has covered the spread all three times. After the Raptors were favored to win their first home game of the series in Game 3, the betting line shifts back towards the Bucks for Game 4. That line has shifted despite the fact that Milwaukee hardly ever appeared to be a threat to win in Game 3.
If you just look at the scoreboard from any random moment throughout Game 3, you’d likely see the Raptors leading. Toronto trailed for less than a full minute in the first quarter and did not trail at any point after that until the early stages of the second overtime. The Raptors’ largest lead was 11 points, and that came in the first 15 minutes of the contest. Despite going over 48 minutes between instances where the Raptors trailed, Milwaukee actually had the better numbers in the second, third, and fourth quarters. Toronto’s win came off of a huge first quarter where they outscored Milwaukee 30-21 and a consistent performance in the second.
When it comes to second-half scoring in this series, it’s all Milwaukee. The Bucks outscored the Raptors 45-38 in the second half of Game 3 and 57-41 in Game 1. The Bucks had such a tremendous lead in at halftime of Game 2 that the second half hardly mattered (and that one still barely favored Toronto, as the Raptors outscored by Bucks by just three points at 64-61).
Game 4 remains in Toronto, but Milwaukee is favored by 2½ points (-110 on both sides). The moneyline isn’t bad (-140 for Milwaukee, +120 for Toronto), but I don’t think 2½ points is worth shifting to the moneyline if you’re picking the Bucks (or worth moving away from the moneyline if you’re picking Toronto).
My pick for Game 4 is the Bucks on the spread. The Raptors had all of the momentum of playing in front of a home crowd in Game 3, and they still barely squeaked by the Bucks. Milwaukee has been the better second half team throughout the series, and I don’t think Toronto will have quite as big of a lead after the first 12 minutes this time around.
Drew has been covering sports professionally since 2007, covering sports of all kinds in the ACC, SEC, Big 12 and Conference USA. In addition to covering college sports, he also spent two seasons working with the NHL's Florida Panthers as part of their TV broadcast team, as well as reporting and anchoring for AT&T SportsNet and FOX Sports affiliates, CBS Sports Network and ESPNU. Drew has also ...
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