While it took a bit longer than anticipated to get here, the NBA playoffs make their return this weekend. Just a few days removed from the NBA’s players and coaches boycotting the playoffs to take a stand for social injustice, they have decided to play on.
Getting things restarted on Saturday will be the Orlando Magic and Milwaukee Bucks facing off for game five. The Bucks have the Magic up against the wall as they will face elimination on Saturday afternoon. They lead the series 3-1, their only loss coming in game one.
While both teams come in with a reasonably clean injury report, they’re still going to be without at least one key player each on Saturday. Bucks guard George Hill is out with an undisclosed injury, while Magic forward Aaron Gordon has left the bubble due to a lingering hamstring injury.
Tip-off is set for 3:35 ET on Saturday afternoon, so set your alarms.
After the Magic stoke game one of this series, the entire world’s attitude on the series changed. Suddenly the Bucks weren’t the unstoppable force that everyone thought they were. Nikola Vucevic helped lead his team to victory and to expose the weak points in the Bucks defense.
It’s been a lot of Vucevic, Terrence Ross, and DJ Augustin in this series for Orlando, and they will need a lot more from the trio to extend this series to a game six. They need Evan Fournier to show up and play his brand of basketball, and he’s been fairly invincible the series so far.
The Bucks Stand
Milwaukee decided to make their protest heard on Wednesday as they walked off the floor before tip-off. They wanted to make the unrest at home in their community heard by the world, and they did just that.
Since these two teams last met, defending MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named this year’s Defensive Player of the Year. An award richly deserved by Giannis. To close this series out, he needs Khris Middleton to continue to play up to par. In the Buck’s only loss in this series, Middleton finished with two points. That can’t happen in this game for the Bucks to advance.
Back to Betting
Now that sports have returned, we can all get back to fanning out and betting. Most sportsbooks have the Bucks favored by 13.5 points headed into the game on Saturday.
Sportsbooks have the game total set at 225.5, and given the history of this series, the over would be a smart play. As for your game pick, the bubble’s only home team should be able to keep up with the Bucks. Milwaukee likely advances in this one, but the Magic cover the 13.5 or 14.
Take the Magic and the points, good luck!