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Milwaukee Antetokounpo

Free NBA Picks: Conference Finals Preview

Tagged: Free NBA Picks

Best plays for the Conference Finals

It’s the business end of the season, with only four teams left to battle it out for the title of NBA Champions.

On the West, favourite GSW look destined to be the first team since the Lakers in the early 2000's to three-peat, however a Kevin Durant calf injury could derail their plans to achieve this incredible milestone.

They will face the Portland Trail Blazers, who just got past the Denver Nuggets in a back-and-forth series.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference are destined for a new representative in the post-LeBron era.

The number one seeded Milwaukee Bucks will be the favourite in this one, having rested for a week after making quick work of Boston.

They will face the Toronto Raptors, who are barely breathing after a thrilling series with the Philadelphia 76ers.

 

Western Conference: Golden State Warriors vs Portland Trail Blazers

Odds: Portland 5.15 (+2.5 games @ 1.63), Golden State 1.18 (-2.5 games @ 2.19)

After edging out the Houston Rockets in six games, the Warriors will look to continue their recent playoff dominance over the Trail Blazers.

The Warriors will have home-court advantage, however they'll be without two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant for at least the first game after he suffered a calf strain during Game 5 against the Rockets.

With Durant’s up-coming free agency a topical area of discussion, his absence may give us some insight into what the Warriors could look like next year.

Damian Lillard/CJ McCollum vs Steph Curry/Klay Thompson pits the NBA's two best back-court combinations against each other.

CJ was hot in game 7 against Denver, while Lillard is looking to re-gain the form that sent the Thunder home in the first round of the playoffs just three weeks ago.

Curry and Thompson seemed to fare well without Durant against Houston, with both players heating up at times.

The success of outside shooting by both teams will decide this series, with the Warriors averaging 37.2% from 3PT in the play-off's compared to Portland's 35.9%.

The impact of perimeter shooting is enhanced by the fact that both teams have stronger back-courts than front-courts. 

The season series was split 2-2 between the two sides, however each game was decided by 20 or more points. It should also be noted that the sides last met on February 15th, which seems like an eternity ago.  

Expect Portland to steal a game, however Golden State should take care of business with relative ease despite missing Durant in the opening games.

NBA Free Pick

 

NBA Betting Statistics Key NBA Stat

  • In back-to-back seasons (2015/16 and 2016/17), the Warriors beat Portland in 5 and 4 games respectively.

 

Free NBA Pick Free NBA Pick: GSW to cover the line (-7.5) in game 1.

Reasoning: In away game losses, Portland haven’t been within 8 points at any time during this post-season.

On the other hand, GSW have lost only two home games in the last three years during post-season action.

 

Eastern Conference: Milwaukee Bucks vs Toronto Raptors

Odds: Toronto 3.30 (+1.5  games @ 1.80), Milwaukee 1.36 (-1.5 games @ 1.93)

The Milwaukee Bucks head into the Eastern Conference final aiming to continue their success in the 2018/19 season.

After dominating the regular season to notch up 60 wins, the Bucks have faced hardly any adversity in their post-season run, losing only one game so far.

They will have home-court advantage over the Toronto Raptors, who finished second in the conference behind the Bucks in the regular season with 58 wins.

MVP front-runner Giannis Antetokounpo and his squad have been seemingly unstoppable in this playoff run, outscoring opponents by an average of 15.3 points (1st in the league, 2nd Raptors at 7.6).

Giannis' has continued on with his MVP type regular season form, averaging video game numbers of 27.4 PPG, 11.3RPG and 4.4 APG.

Toronto forward Kawhi Leonard will need a lot of help from his supporting cast, as the superstar has carried his squad through the playoffs. He's averaged 31 points per game on an absurdly efficient 54% FG.

This was encapsulated in the first ever game seven walk-off buzzer beater in NBA history, which Leonard hit in Game 7 against Philly.

The deciding factor in this one will be whether the Raptors can put together a defensive plan to limit Giannis.

On one hand, if you double team the “Greek Freak” he will willingly kick it out to one of their competent shooters.

If you play single coverage against him, he will use his brute strength, speed and length to score over or around you.

Leonard will also command a defensive game-plan. He poses a physical threat which the Bucks have not encountered so far in the playoffs.

It is very possible that these two freaks of nature match-up against each other the whole series.

The regular season meetings between the two teams went 3-1 in favour of the Bucks. However their last meeting was February 1st, which was before either team had finished refining their rosters.

This series may end up being closer than some people expect, however look for the Bucks to prove too much to handle for the Raptors. 

 

NBA Betting Statistics  Key NBA Stat

  • In the second round of playoffs, only Leonard was above 44% from the field. Whereas for the Bucks, five players were above 44%. 

Free NBA Pick Free NBA Pick: Bucks to cover the line (-6) in game 1 on Thursday.

Reasoning: The Bucks have had over a week to rest since dispatching the Celtics in 5 games, while the Raptors will barely have had time to rest after their 7 game series.

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