The Eastern Conference Finals series gets underway Wednesday night, as the Milwaukee Bucks host the Toronto Raptors. Despite being seeded No. 1 and No. 2 in the Eastern Conference, the Bucks and Raptors have taken different paths to get to this point so far in the postseason. Milwaukee has gone 8-1 so far this postseason, losing only in Game 1 of their last series against Boston. Meanwhile, Toronto won their opening series 4-1 but needed seven games to get through the Philadelphia 76ers in Round 2, including getting a buzzer-beating shot to win in Game 7.
Toronto will have that momentum behind them, and the Raptors will need to make that boost last if they’re going to contend with the Bucks in this series. Milwaukee is heavily favored to win both the series and Game 1. While the Bucks faltered in Game 1 of their last series, it seems unlikely that it would happen again here in Round 3.
With the moneyline favoring the Bucks so dramatically, betting on the spread is the only way to get any kind of significant return (barring a massive upset). The spread is set to 6½ points, which is not a ton when you consider how well Milwaukee has played at home this postseason. In their five games at the Fiserv Forum, the Bucks have won by 35, 21, 21, and 25 points, losing a game in the middle of that run. Toronto, meanwhile, is just 3-2 outside of Canada this postseason, including losing two of three road contests in Round 2. For that reason, my Game 1 pick is to take the Bucks -6.5.
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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