Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 12:00 AM
THE NBA PLAYOFFS –
IT’S RAPTORS-BUCKS IN A MONSTROUS GAME 5 …
THE BASEBALL REPORT:
A PRE-MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
LOOK AT TWO OF MLB’S BEST BETS SO FAR
Well, the NBA is super-happy ‘cause there is gonna be hoops this Memorial Day Weekend, after all.
We know that a Game 6 is now guaranteed for Saturday night in Toronto and we could even get a winner-take-all Game 7 come Memorial Day evening in Milwaukee and who saw that coming when you consider the Bucks (a – 280 betting favorite for this Eastern Conference Finals series prior to Game 1) dashed out to a 2-zip series lead back on May 17th?
The bottom line is this best-of-seven set will take the sports scene’s center stage on this Thursday night with Toronto vs. Milwaukee all knotted up at two games each but dig a little deeper and you’ll discover (if you didn’t already know) that the Bucks are a sizzling 6-1 SU (straight-up) and 6-1 ATS (against the spread) at home this post-season and that does include wins by 35, 21, 21, 25, 8 and 22 points … folks, that means in Milwaukee’s six playoff wins/covers the Bucks have won by a per-game scoring margin of 22 points.
On this Thursday night, it’s …
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
TORONTO at MILWAUKEE – 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT / Series tied 2-2
Okay, so past performances don’t always indicate what’s gonna happen but, hey, let’s admit the fact the Bucks have outclassed Detroit / Boston / Toronto in six of Milwaukee’s first seven playoff home games and yet the Las Vegas price tag here for Game 5 actually has dropped a half-point from minus 7 points to minus 6.5 points in the past 24 hours. Hmmm.
Maybe Toronto’s momentum – built up with a pair of home victories including the double-overtime win in Game 3 and an uber-commanding 120-102 win in Game 4 – has gotten the attention of the betting public or maybe it’s the fact that Milwaukee’s defense was rotten in that last tilt when the Raptors assisted on 32 of the team’s 41 made field goals and that North-of-the-Border bench was sensational with Norman Powell / Serge Ibaka / Fred VanVleet combining for 48 points.
And so that brings us to the hidden numbers here:
Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (25 points in Game 4) and hobbled Toronto megastar Kawhi Leonard 19 points scored but a + 16 in Game 4) might well wind up being a “wash” scoring-wise here and the rest of the starting five could well cancel each other out on the scoreboard, but who moves into Saturday’s clash with a three games-to-two series advantage will be the one that sports the better bench play here. Can Milwaukee’s Malcom Brogdon and George Hill do better than nine combined points (see Game 4) or maybe it’s the Powell / Ibaka / VanVleet trio that steps up its collective game to steal one at the Fiserv Forum.
Here’s the NBA Eastern Conference Finals game-by-game results between the Raptors and the Bucks. Note home teams are in CAPS below:
DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
5-15 MILWAUKEE - 6.5 Toronto 108-100
5-17 MILWAUKEE - 6 Toronto 125-103
5-19 TORONTO - 2.5 Milwaukee (2ot) 118-112
5-21 TORONTO + 3 Milwaukee 120-102
Now hear this …
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the NBA Playoff Conference Finals winners this year – yes, that’s Sides & Totals -- plus there’s Major-League Baseball winners too right here at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Stay hot with the pro hoops right through the upcoming NBA Finals!
2019 NBA PLAYOFFS POINTSPREAD CHART
(thru Wednesday, May 21st)
Here’s an abbreviated version of the playoff chart with the four teams that played – or, are still playing – in the conference finals:
TEAM WON LOST TIE PCT
Milwaukee 10 3 0 .769
Toronto 8 8 0 .500
Golden State 7 8 1 .467
Portland 7 8 1 .467
THE BASEBALL REPORT
No doubt that the Memorial Day Weekend is a landmark of sorts for Major-League Baseball: We’re about 30 percent through this 2019 season and there’s plenty of big stories out there from the half-dozen teams that are playing .600-plus ball (that’s the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers) to the spate of high-profile squads playing sub-.500 ball (see the Los Angeles Angels, New York Mets, Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies) but let’s take a few moments in today’s Jim Sez to examine the “Best Bets” in the bigs so far …
MINNESOTA (32-16) – The Twins not only own a dazzling .667 winning percentage and a 17-8 road record but this club ranks second in the majors in team batting average (.269), second in runs scored (273) and second in home runs (90) and yet they’ve been undervalued by Las Vegas so far in ’19. Minny’s a plus 16 units overall – that’s the best in MLB – and you’ll find that the Twins have been smallish underdogs in a bunch of games this month of May and they’ve been cashing big-time. Isn’t is time everyone discovered that these Twins can mash?
PITTSBURGH (24-21) – The unsung Pirates were projected to win somewhere in the neighborhood of 77-to-78 games this year and right now the Buccos are a bit ahead of the pace but how about the fact Clint Hurdle’s gang is a plus 6.7 units and there’s only three teams better than that (aforementioned Minnesota, Houston and the Los Angeles Dodgers and both the ‘Stros and Dodgers are heavy-duty betting favorites most nights and that’s a turn-off to us). The Pirates – unlike the Twins we talked about up above – don’t wow you with offense as Pittsburgh ranks 28th in the majors in runs scored (169) and 28th in home runs (with 42) but better-than-expected starting pitching has lifted the NL Central club which offers great value on the road (see 15-11 away record).
NOTE: More NBA Playoff Notes in the next Jim Sez plus a great Memorial Day weekend of MLB action is coming your way too!