NBA Eastern Conference Finals Betting Pick: Raptors vs Bucks Game 2

For about 24 minutes of game time, the Toronto Raptors seemed to have Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals wrapped up. With multiple 10+ point leads on the Milwaukee Bucks, the momentum from the Raptors’ walk-off, buzzer-beating win against the Philadelphia 76ers a few nights before seemed to be carrying over to the next round.

But in the fourth quarter, the Bucks shut Toronto down. Brook Lopez scored 29 points for the Bucks, finishing with a double-double. In the final 12 minutes, Raptors star Kawhi Leonard was held to just two points. In total, Milwaukee outscored Toronto 32-17, not only coming from behind to win, but covering the 6½ -point spread by finishing the game with the scoreboard reading 108-100.

For Game 2, the teams remain in Wisconsin, and the spread and moneyline remain roughly the same. The Bucks are now seven-point favorites, meaning they’d need another eight-point win (or greater) to cover the spread one more time. With the moneyline favoring Milwaukee so greatly (the Bucks are -300 to win, compared to the Raptors at +240 to win), that’s not a wager I can recommend making.

Since I don’t have faith in the Raptors evening up the series before it heads to Toronto on Sunday (I do think the Raptors might get on the board with a win in Game 3), that leaves the spread as the betting option: the Raptors +7 (-115) or the Bucks -7 (-105). Milwaukee’s nine postseason wins this year have come by an average of 18.7 points, and only twice (Game 3 vs Boston, Game 1 vs Toronto) have they won by a single-digit margin. Even in those games, Milwaukee won by seven points and eight points, respectively.

I think that the momentum boost Toronto may have had wore off as Game 1 came to a close, and I don’t know that they’ll find that spark again until they’re playing in front of their home fans. As far as bounce-back games go, in their Round 2 series with the Sixers, the Raptors lost back-to-back games in Games 2 and 3, and their bounce-back performance (from their second loss) was to win by five in Game 4. After losing again in Game 6, the Raptors needed a buzzer-beater to pick up a two-point win.

Drew Goldfarb

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 been active in Fantasy Sports since 2002.

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