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2019 Eastern Conference Finals Odds: Bucks Open as Heavy Favorites Over Raptors

David Golokhov

by David Golokhov in NBA Basketball

May 12, 2019 · 9:00 PM PDT

Kawhi Leonard Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard ended the Sixers' season with a game-winning buzzer-beater in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Photo from @ESPNStatsInfo (Twitter)
  • The Toronto Raptors are in the Eastern Conference Finals for just the second time in franchise history
  • The Milwaukee Bucks won the regular season series vs Toronto, 3-1
  • The Bucks have played just nine playoff games; the Raptors are coming off a seven-game series

The Toronto Raptors won an epic Game 7 over the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals for just the second time in franchise history.

Now they find themselves as a big dog to the Milwaukee Bucks. Which team is the best bet on the series price?

Raptors vs Bucks Eastern Conference Finals Odds

Team Raptors vs Bucks Series Odds
Toronto Raptors +232
Milwaukee Bucks -277

*Odds taken May 12

Raptors Survive In Seven Games

The Raptors survived the Philadelphia 76ers in a grueling, seven-game series.

Kawhi Leonard put the team on his back, hitting the game-winning, series-winning shot in Game 7. Leonard is averaging an incredible 34.7 points per game while shooting 54% from the field. Not many players – even the likes of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James – have ever put up numbers like that.

The question is, can he carry them past the Milwaukee Bucks, who could be an even bigger challenge for the Raptors in the next round.

Which Raptors Show Up?

The Raptors can win this series but the question is who is going to show up and help Kawhi.

Kyle Lowry had a decent series against Philadelphia, averaging 13.1 points, 6.0 assists, and 5.1 rebounds, but his shooting is very spotty. Pascal Siakam is dealing with an injury but still averaged 19.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.3 threes.

The Raptors bench is super thin as this has become a seven-man rotation and the sixth man, Serge Ibaka, has been a contributor but the seventh-man, Fred VanVleet, has not played with any confidence.

Bucks Depth, Rest Could Be Key

While the Raptors are short on bodies, the Bucks have a 10-man rotation now that Malcolm Brogdon is back. Nine players are averaging at least 18.9 points per game in the postseason and seven score at least 8.0 points per game.

When you add in the fact that the Bucks have played a total of just nine playoff games, whereas the Raptors are coming off a seven-game series, that could be a huge difference. Milwaukee is very fresh and has more depth to work with.

The good news for the Raptors is that Game 1 isn’t until Wednesday. Having two days off will give them a chance to recuperate.

Raptors Defense Will Be The Story

One of the key aspects of the Raptors success that is getting lost here is their defense. They have a 100.3 defensive rating, which is second-best of any of the playoff teams.

They suffocated the 76ers and made a team with four All-Star caliber players look disjointed.

We know that Milwaukee looks good on paper, but let’s be honest, George Hill, Pat Connaughton, Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe doesn’t sound like a championship-contending roster.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a stud and he’s really tough to stop. However, if the Raptors can protect the arc and force Milwaukee into half-court slugfests, this could be a tight series.

Bucks Will Deliver

Milwaukee was the best team in the NBA this season and I have a tough time seeing them struggle here. Kawhi Leonard is playing out of his mind right now and the Raptors defense is great, but the rest of the roster is hard to trust night-in, night-out.

Milwaukee won three of the four regular season matchups, and while they don’t have the type of pedigree, history, or experience that you’d like to see out of a potential champion, neither does Toronto.

The Bucks will play their patented three-and-D and find a way through Toronto in six games.

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