Bucks (+2) @ Raptors (212.5)
Pick: Raptors -2
Well, we were certainly wrong about the Raptors bench slowing down in Game 5, though we still missed cashing the Raptors team total under 104.5 by the hook as a free throw with six seconds left put Toronto over. Fred VanVleet was terrific on Thursday with 21 points and hit some big shots in the fourth quarter when Kawhi Leonard wasn’t too busy taking the game over.
If you believe in momentum -- and it’s hard not to watching this series unfold -- the Raptors have to be the play here. Toronto seems to have loosened up ever since pulling out a nail-biter in the double-overtime Game 3. That’s been most evident in the bench production it has received in Games 4 and 5 and lack thereof from Milwaukee.
I’m not sure now’s the time a Bucks team that’s not used to playing this deep in the postseason can flip the switch. Remember, the Raptors have players like Leonard, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry, who have all played in games of this magnitude, and the closer this series got the more likely that would matter. It looked like the Raptors missed their chance to hang around in this series after letting Game 1 slip away and then getting blown out in Game 2. But they rallied the troops to protect their home court and Milwaukee failed to do the same thing on Thursday when it had its own chance to respond in front of its fans. The Six is going to be insane right from the opening tipoff with the Raptors looking to clinch their first-ever trip to the NBA Finals. A win might also go a long way in ensuring Kawhi Leonard stays in Canada beyond this season.
I can’t get to the Bucks side here. Lay the deuce.