Through two rounds of NBA playoffs betting, the fifth seeded Atlanta Hawks have relished the opportunity of playing the role of overlooked underdogs at online sportsbooks. Because of it, they’ve now disposed of the No. 4 New York Knicks and most recently the No. 1 Philadelphia 76ers as heavy underdogs.
The task at hand gets even tougher in the Eastern Conference Finals with Trae Young and his mates set to square off against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks with the latter once again owning home court advantage. That didn’t faze Nate McMillan’s squad in the last round evidenced by the Hawks going into the Wells Fargo Center and coming out triumphant three times; most recently in Game 7.
Will the experience of pulling off such a feat allow for them to compete in this series? Well, I’m willing to pay to find out and will go ahead and take the points in Hump Day night’s series opener.
Game 1 of the best-of-seven series between the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks will tip-off at 8:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 from the Fiserv Forum. The game will be broadcast live on TNT.
Atlanta Hawks vs Milwaukee Bucks Game 1 Odds
Spread: Atlanta Hawks +7 | Milwaukee Bucks -7 [BET NOW]
Money Line: Atlanta Hawks +237 | Milwaukee Bucks -190 [BET NOW]
Total: 226.5 [BET NOW]
Both teams could enter this series a bit fatigued after taking each to the limit last round. It’ll be interesting to see if tired legs or adrenaline sets the tone of the series. Regardless, the O/U for Game 1 initially hit the board at 229 but has since been bet down to 226.5.
It looks like betting markets are of the assumption that fatigue rules the night in the series opener. Milwaukee initially opened as 8-point home favorites, but the point spread has also dropped with it clocking in at -7/7.5 dependent upon where you shop. A healthy 70 percent of the early tickets and 62 percent of the money has surfaced on the visitors. Makes sense considering Atlanta’s 6-4 SU and ATS the 10 times it went off the board dogged in the postseason.
On the flipside, Milwaukee has gone 6-2 SU but just 4-4 ATS the eight times it closed as favorites. Regardless, the Bucks are decided -477 favorites to advance to the finals with the Hawks offering up a juicy +387 return on the series prices.
The Hawks froze out yet another opponent on Sunday when they went into Philly and handed the Sixers a 103-96 defeat as 6.5-point favorites per the closing odds. While the focus of Atlanta advancing another round falls squarely on the shoulders of Trae Young, let’s just say he got a ton of help from his friends to log the upset over the 76ers.
John Collins (14 points, 16 rebounds) and Kevin Huerter (27 points) each played huge roles in punching the franchise’s tickets to the conference finals for the first time since 2015 when they got swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. If the “ATL” is to once again compete against a team perceived to be better, it’s going to need a collective effort put forth by the roster from the top down.
After avenging last year’s playoff loss by sweeping the defending Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat in the first round, the Bucks finally came up with a huge series win soon after by disposing of the Brooklyn Nets. While it got a heaping load of help from the injury bug, the super team of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden will no longer be competing in the playoffs much to the joy and elation of those booking futures odds.
By way of playing a debilitating brand of defense that held Brooklyn to less than 100 points three times and simply being unconscious from the perimeter, Milwaukee punched its ticket by outlasting the Nets in overtime of Game 7 to secure the 115-11 outright win and cover as 2-point underdogs. Giannis Antetokounmpo (40) and Khris Middleton (23) set the tone in the series clinching win.
Hawks vs Bucks Game 1 Prediction
Our pick: Atlanta +7
While I ultimately foresee the Bucks going on to win this series, I have no interest laying the series price as it currently stands. With that, I’m going to bank on Atlanta showing up for Game 1 much like it has in both series openers defeating the Knicks 107-105 as 1.5-point underdogs and the 76ers 128-124 as 4.5-point pups.
Should Atlanta do more than just cover the spread in the opener, I’ll have to reassess the series odds to see if the Bucks will get any of my money. Until then, I’ll root for Young and company to put a chill in the air of the Fiserv Forum and put the Bucks on notice that another war lies ahead.
Take the points and hit Atlanta on some alternative spreads to make the rate of return even juicier!
Check out today’s NBA odds.