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NBA Finals Picks 2019 (May 30-June 16)

NBA Finals 2019- Toronto Raptors vs Golden State Warriors (May 30-June 16) While one of the teams competing in the NBA Finals will come...

Thursday, 23 May 2019

NBA Conference Finals Picks 2019 (May 23-27)

NBA PlayOffs 2019- Conference Finals Picks Game 5-7 (May 23-27)
The Western Conference Finals saw the Golden State Warriors recover from huge deficits on three straight occasions to sweep the Portland Trail Blazers out of the post-season. That has given them plenty of time to rest while the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors are forced to play at least two more games before the NBA Finals begin at the end of the month.

It is an important time for the Warriors as they hope that time will allow Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins to both return to the rotation having missed the last six games for the team. They haven't been missed as much as you might have expected considering the Warriors have won all of those games, although I would expect the NBA Finals to be a much tougher proposition than what the Trail Blazers were able to produce against Golden State.

Even the Warriors have admitted they are going to need at least Durant and maybe even Cousins if they are going to win the NBA Championship for a third year in a row and for the fourth time in five seasons. It will take a brave person to bet against them doing that, although my feeling is that the Milwaukee Bucks will pose a lot more questions than the Toronto Raptors.

However right now the Eastern Conference Finals are finely balance at 2-2 with both teams having won a dominant game and perhaps a shaky one at home to hold serve. A best of three should favour the Bucks who host two of those games, but the Raptors have momentum and Game 5 is going to be huge.

Thursday 23rd May
Toronto Raptors @ Milwaukee Bucks Game 5 Pick: Throughout this season the Milwaukee Bucks have responded to setbacks by bouncing back and setting the record straight in their next game. It was a big reason they went into Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals as the favourite having dropped Game 3 to the Toronto Raptors as the underdog, but it was Toronto who came out on top to level the Series at 2-2.

Game 5 moves back to Milwaukee and there is no doubting the importance of this one in what has become a best of three game Series. The Bucks need to stem the momentum the Raptors have been able to build up after winning Game 3 in Double Overtime and then crushing Milwaukee in Game 4 which was never really competitive.

It is now up to the Bucks to make the adjustments they need as they have not really been able to show off the depth that many thought gave them an edge in this match up with Toronto. While the Raptors might not have the same amounts of rotations to keep key players on decent minutes, their role players have stepped up massively in the last couple of games and it is their performances which have led to a tied Series.

Kawhi Leonard may be one of the best players in the NBA, but he was held to 19 points in Game 4 and yet the Raptors were still able to dominate throughout. Leonard is still looking a little gimpy having suffered an injury in Game 3, while Kyle Lowry is also dealing with an undisclosed issue but both are going to suit up and give all they can to help the Raptors reach a first ever NBA Finals.

While Leonard and Lowry have done enough to open things up for the rest of the team, Pascal Siakam continues to have his own struggles. Fortunately others have been in fine form and now it is up to the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo to return to the kind of level that makes him a leading contender for regular season MVP.

Antetokounmpo will not be heckled by Canadian idiot, I mean rapper, Drake in Game 5, but he can't use that as an excuse for two average performances in Toronto. He will need Khris Middleton to step up with him, while Eric Bledsoe's post-season struggles have stretched on and his lack of Offensive productivity is hurting the strong Defensive effort he is trying to produce for the team.

Milwaukee should be much more comfortable in home surroundings having covered in their last four here. They are also 6-0 against the spread when playing off a double digit defeat and the Bucks are 21-5 against the spread when playing off a loss.

They have only once lost back to back games in the 2018/19 season and they crushed the Indiana Pacers by 19 points as a double digit favourite at home after those consecutive losses. The home team has covered in all four Eastern Conference Finals Games and Toronto are 1-4 against the spread in their last five road PlayOff Games.

I have yet to really lose faith in Milwaukee as they could have easily won Game 3. The Game 4 performance was perhaps the worst they have produced in the post-season, but Milwaukee have shown they can bounce back from defeats and this team will be much better being back at home.

The public money looks to be going down on the Raptors, but Milwaukee will be looking to improve a recent trend that has developed in the NBA PlayOffs. Home teams at 2-2 have improved to 6-2 against the spread in Game 5 of the PlayOffs since the beginning of the 2018 NBA PlayOffs and I think the Bucks are a team who can rally from their losses and show the NBA they are still the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

Saturday 25th May
Milwaukee Bucks @ Toronto Raptors Game 6 Pick: The Golden State Warriors have already been enjoying a few days off to recover from their post-season exploits to reach the NBA Finals, but they could learn their opponent for the Championship as soon as Saturday night. The Toronto Raptors have overcome some big odds to beat the Milwaukee Bucks for a third time in a row to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals and one more win in front of their own fans will see them through to a first ever NBA Finals appearance.

It is a stunning turnaround in this Series after the Bucks won the first two games. They had only suffered back to back defeats once in the regular season and this is the first time Milwaukee have lost three in a row all year which makes the Toronto recovery all the more remarkable.

In Game 5 the Raptors rallied from big deficits on a couple of occasions to weather the Milwaukee storm and take a lead in the Series. It is making the Game 3 win in Double Overtime looking all the more key for Toronto who have earned some momentum from the manner of their win and continue to roll with it.

Milwaukee have not lost faith in their own ability, but Giannis Antetokounmpo is struggling at the Free Throw line at the wrong time as his team-mates have not stepped up to the plate. One of the big factors in the last three games is the deteriorating number of three point shots being taken by the Bucks as Milwaukee have continued to struggle to shoot the ball from downtown while their overall success from the field has been well down on their season numbers.

Energy on the Defensive side of the court has bled into the Toronto Offense too as Kawhi Leonard continues to dominate the Series. He bounced back from a tough Game 4 to score 35 points in Game 5 to lead the Raptors, but it has been the contribution of the role players that has really caught the eye and put Toronto in a position to finish the Finals.

I would be stunned if Milwaukee were to lose for a fourth game in a row, but they are not really a team I can back with any confidence after the way the last three games have gone. If they were to win Game 6 I would make the Bucks strong favourites to win the Series, but there is a lot of pressure on them and the layers have placed a spread that is impossible for me to judge.

If Milwaukee are going to win here, they need to do better from the field whether that is attacking the paint and getting to the Free Throw line or someone stepping up and getting hot from the three point line. The Raptors have shown they have players who can put the three ball together and they have scored plenty of points in this Series, but I do think Milwaukee are going to respond before it is too late.

After a lower than expected scoring Game 5 I am not surprised that so many have been quick to back the 'under' in this one. However the last eight between Toronto and Milwaukee in Canada have seen six of them finish with an 'over' and I think the Bucks are better than they have shown Offensively to think they can contribute to a high-scoring Game 6.

The 'over' is also 8-1 in the Milwaukee's last nine road games, while it is 14-3 when the Bucks are playing a team with a winning record at home. The 'over' has also been the play in Toronto games when facing a team with a winning record of at least 60% as that side of the market has improved to 4-1 in their last five at home.

The emotion is going to be high in this building on Saturday night, but I can see both teams looking to provide a heavy dose of three point shooting which can lead to Game 6 surpassing the number set.

MY PICKS: 23/05 Milwaukee Bucks - 6.5 Points @ 1.83 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
25/05 Toronto Raptors-Milwaukee Bucks Over 212 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)

NBA Conference Finals: 4-5, - 1.36 Units (9 Units Staked, - 15.11% Yield)

Second Round: 12-11, - 0.04 Units (23 Units Staked, - 0% Yield)
First Round: 23-17, + 4.02 Units (40 Units Staked, + 10.05% Yield)

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