The health of star Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard will be a major storyline when Toronto collides with the Milwaukee Bucks in a pivotal Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night at Fiserv Forum. Leonard has been wincing with a leg injury since an awkward landing in the first quarter of Game 3. Despite its ailing star, Toronto won Games 3 and 4 to even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece in the 2019 NBA Playoffs. In Tuesday’s Game 4, Leonard scored just 19 points as the Raptors blew out the Bucks, 120-102. Tip-off for Game 5 in the NBA Playoffs 2019 is set for 8:30 p.m. ET on Thursday. Milwaukee is favored by 7.5 in the latest Bucks vs. Raptors odds after the spread fell as low as 6.5, while the over-under for total points scored is 214.5, down sharply from an open of 218. Before making any Bucks vs. Raptors picks of your own, be sure to see the NBA playoff predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, is crushing its NBA picks. It entered the conference finals in the 2019 NBA Playoffs with a sterling record on its top-rated picks, returning more than $3,000 in profit to anybody following them this season. And it has been particularly red-hot on its A-rated NBA money line picks, entering the conference finals on a strong 85-61 run. Anybody who has followed it is way up.
Now the model has honed in on Bucks vs Raptors. We can tell you it is leaning under, and it also says one side of the spread cashes over 50 percent of the time. That pick is available only at SportsLine.
The model has factored in that, despite his struggles in Toronto, the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo remains an especially gifted player who can take over a series at any point. Though he scored just 12 points in Game 3, he rebounded in Game 4 for 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting. During the regular season, Antetokounmpo averaged 27.7 points and 57.8 percent shooting, so he is capable of much more in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, especially with the series returning to Milwaukee.
The model also knows that the Bucks have been unbeatable this season after big losses. In the six games following a double-digit loss by Milwaukee, the Bucks went 6-0 and covered the spread each time. Giannis and company are also a much better home team than road team. Milwaukee went 33-8 at Fiserv during the regular season, the second best home record in the NBA to the Denver Nuggets (34-7).
But just because the series shifts back to the Fiserv Forum for Game 5 does not guarantee Milwaukee will cover the Bucks vs. Raptors spread.
Toronto’s defense has come alive the last two games. In Games 3 and 4, the Raptors limited the Bucks to 41.2 percent shooting and forced Milwaukee into 16.5 turnovers per game. In the previous two games, the Bucks shot 43.2 percent and committed just 10.0 turnovers per game.
The model also knows that Toronto is coming off its best performance of the series. In Game 4, the Raptors had more assists (32 to 30), hit more 3-pointers (14 to 11), won the rebounding battle (44 to 40) and got far better bench production (48 points to 23) than Milwaukee. Much maligned during the NBA Playoffs 2019, Norman Powell (18 points), Serge Ibaka (17) and the once-struggling Fred VanVleet (13) all contributed off the bench.
So who wins Raptors vs. Bucks? And which side of the spread can you bank on over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Raptors vs. Bucks spread to jump on Thursday, all from the advanced model that’s up more than $3,000 on top-rated NBA picks this season.