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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 12:00 AM










Fear the Deer?

Heck no, the Toronto Raptors showed zero fear last night en route to a come-from-way-behind 105-99 win as 7.5-point road underdogs and thus here’s the North-of-the-Border crew in need of just one more win to nail down a berth in next week’s NBA Finals.

Toronto’s now won/covered three in a row in this Eastern Conference Finals after Milwaukee scratched out “W’s” in Games 1 and 2 and so “Jurassic Park” will be rockin’ and rollin’ come Saturday night for Game 6 … but should anyone be putting this series to bed just yet?

The one-word answer … no!

True, last night the Bucks blew a game-opening 18-4 run and never mind that Milwaukee also dashed off a 14-2 scoring spurt early in the second half as the bottom line is the Toronto bench was superb – and didn’t we tell you in our Jim Sez preview yesterday that the team getting the better bench play was gonna win here, no matter what the betting line was (and this price tag jumped a full point up from 6.5 to 7.5 in the hour-or-so before tip-off)?

We’ll dig into some of the Game 5 details shortly in today’s Jim Sez but let’s tie up some other loose ends first:


Keep in mind that NBA Playoff Betting Favorites are now 38-35-2 ATS (against the spread) overall for a .521 winning rate and so that simply means if anyone out there bet the chalk sides in all post-season games this year then you’d be minus $50 and it’s worth mentioning in conference finals this spring the favorites are a dead-even but vig-losing 4-4-1 ATS following last night’s Game 5 tilt in Wisconsin.   


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

5-23                        Toronto                  + 7.5               MILWAUKEE         105-99


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 or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Stay hot with the pro hoops right through the upcoming NBA Finals!



(thru Thursday, May 23rd)


Here’s a look at the still-alive teams left in this year’s post-season:

TEAM                     WON              LOST               TIE                   PCT

Milwaukee            10                   4                      0                      .714

Toronto                  9                      8                      0                      .529

Golden State         7                      8                      1                      .467


TORONTO 105, MILWAUKEE 99 – Raptors lead series 3-2

Let’s cut right to the chase here:

Okay, we were wrong to believe that Toronto superstar Kawhi Leonard (35 points) and Milwaukee super Giannis Antetokounmpo (24 points) were gonna be your basic “wash” in Thursday night’s Game 4 at the Fiserv Forum but consider that the Raptors’ starting five was outscored 84-to-70 and yet Nick Nurse’s squad still won the game outright. Yes, sharpshooter G Fred VanVleet (7-of-9 triples for 21 points) was an absolute assassin and fellow reserves Norman Powell and Serge Ibaka chipped in for a combined 14-point / 10-rebound game for the Raptors but not having Malcolm Brogdon come off the bench – Bucks’ boss Mike Budenholzer mistakenly started the dude – meant little firepower would be coming off the Milwaukee bench. Doom!

Then check out what we like to call the “hustle stats” as Toronto had 10 combined steals / blocks … Milwaukee had two steals, two blocks. In short, the hungrier team won this pivotal Game 5 even though folks mainly bet the other way but now there’s adjustment time for the Bucks for Game 6 or else they’ll be the brunt of TNT’s “Gone Fishin’” segment at the end of the night.



The Memorial Day Weekend is here … and there’s plenty of great matchups on the MLB slate so let’s zip ‘round the big leagues for a bit:


LOS ANGELES DODGERS (32-18) at PITTSBURGH (25-22) – Fri, Sat & Sun

In yesterday’s Jim Sez we told y’all that the Pittsburgh Pirates were – rather quietly – one of the Baseball’s “Best Bets” this year with a starting rotation that may lack for marquee names but has fared well. Now, here, comes a major challenge to the Bucco hurlers against a Dodgers’ lineup starring OF Cody Bellinger (.394) – never mind the fact that LA ranks fifth in MLB in both home runs (77) and runs scored (257).


PHILADELPHIA (29-21) at MILWAUKEE (29-22) – Fri, Sat & Sun

The Phillies head into the holiday weekend in first place in the rather dysfunctional National League East – note the rest of this division is 25 games UNDER .500! Okay, so free agent OF Bryce Harper and 1B Rhys Hoskins have 20 of Philly’s 53 dingers – that ranks a lowly 23rd among MLB teams – and the major task for the Phils this weekend will be dealing with RHP Brandon Woodruff (6-1, 65 Ks-to-17 BBs) who has been a major money-maker for the 2019 Brew Crew.


BOSTON (27-23) at HOUSTON (33-18) – Fri, Sat & Sun

Let’s see if the defending champion Bosox can get a little in-season revenge here: Last weekend the Astros went into Fenway Park and snagged two-of-three from the Red Sox who scored just eight total runs in that weekend set. If the bats don’t get hopping here against the likes of LHP Wade Miley (tonight’s starter) and RHP Brad Peacock – they’re a combined 9-4 this year – then Houston could get the upper hand again here. Watch for Astros’ OF Michael Brantley (.325 batting average and .927 OPS) because he has been a silent-but-deadly bat near the top of this lineup.


NOTE: Catch out Bucks-Raptors Game 6 preview in tomorrow’s edition of Jim Sez.



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