Everything you need to know before Bucks-Hawks Game 1

Everything you need to know before Bucks-Hawks Game 1

Both the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks come into this series off of thrilling Game 7 wins. Milwaukee opened as huge, -480 favorites to win the series at DraftKings Sportsbook. 

Can the Hawks steal Game 1 on the road? Let’s take a look at who has the edge in the series opener and find out the NBA best bets for this playoff matchup. 

Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks (-8, 226)

The Hawks handled their business on the road against the Sixers despite star guard Trae Young having an off-shooting night. The fact that his teammates were able to pick him up in such a big spot shows just how balanced this team is on both sides of the basketball. Atlanta now heads to Milwaukee to tip-off the Eastern Conference Finals. When it comes to gambling, the oddsmakers have made the Bucks 8-point favorites tonight. 

Speaking of Young, he’s averaging a blazing 29.1 points and 10.4 assists a game this postseason. The team’s head coach, Nate McMillon, has also done an outstanding job since taking over, going 35-15 straight up and 31-18-1 against the spread (ATS). Atlanta should have the coaching advantage in this series. 

Game 7 of Nets-Bucks was epic and ended with Milwaukee having just enough gas left in the tank to pull out the series in overtime. (If Kevin Durant had slightly smaller feet, the Nets are in the Eastern Conference Finals instead).

Overall, we have to throw out a lot of what we saw in each of the last series and treat this as its own subset when looking at this matchup. But, with that being said, we can still break down a few of the team stats heading into this battle.

Milwaukee finished the regular season with a 26-10 home record and as a team, they score almost two points more at home than they do on the road. Defensively, they like to pack the paint, and they rank fifth in opponent’s field goal percentage and 10th in defensive rating. Offensively, they are first in points scored and field goals made, second in pace, and sixth in offensive rating.

Atlanta, on the other hand, is not too shabby either. On defense, the Hawks rank 12th in points allowed, eighth in rebounds allowed, and third in opponent three-point percentage. On offense, Atlanta is eighth in offensive rating and 13th in points scored.

Pace and three-point shooting will be the key to this matchup. As mentioned, Milwaukee likes to play fast and up-tempo (second in pace), whereas the Hawks like to slow it down and get into their half-court sets (23rd in pace).

Atlanta does a great job at defending and contesting three-pointers, and Milwaukee will make it tough for the Hawks to score in the paint. 

One player to keep an eye on in this game (and series) is Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton. After a slow start to his series against the Nets, he carried the Bucks in a lot of spots. He also excels at home, averaging over 27.0 points on 53/50/86 shooting splits this postseason to go along with more than seven rebounds and four assists per game.

Giannis Antetokounmpo also has a good matchup, at least on paper, against John Collins. Will he come out aggressive tonight? Can he knock down his free throws?

The public seems to be on the Hawks early in this one, with about 67% of the bets coming in on Atlanta. When it comes to the total, bettors are expecting a low-scoring game, with 61% of the tickets on the under. Maybe they are banking on tired legs and rust from both teams after those intense Game 7s.

The Bucks have the size and length to give the Hawks trouble in this series, but tonight should be closer than expected. Even if Atlanta doesn’t win this game straight-up, the line may be slightly inflated in Milwaukee’s favor. That’s been the case all season long, as the Bucks are just 21-20 ATS at home this season. 

Bogdan Bogdanovic’s injury is somewhat scary for bettors, and it is certainly something to keep an eye on closer to gametime. The Hawks have won both series openers, so I lean toward grabbing the points in this spot. 

Lean: Hawks +8

BetQL Model Predictions & Picks

BetQL’s NBA model has run 10,000 simulations of this game to provide insight on how the contest will pan out, and after all those simulations, the model likes the Hawks +8. Currently, the point spread of this game sits at +/- 8 with Milwaukee as home favorites. BetQL’s model would have placed the line at Hawks +4.5 meaning there is big betting value on Atlanta in this game at +8. Keep reading below to get picks from the experts at BetQL.   

Against the Spread Pick:

The model is leaning toward the Hawks with a 4-star rating on that side, and projects the final score to be Bucks 116, Hawks 111.5. As you saw above, I also lean the Hawks here, so being on the same side as the model is always a plus. According to the expert bettors, they are backing the Hawks as of now as well, but be sure to check back with BetQL to see the most updated odds, lines, and spreads for this game before tip.

Over/Under Pick:

The over/under for this game is set to 226 points. The BetQL model recommends taking the over for this game and has a 1-star pick on the over. Check out BetQL’s over/under picks for the rest of the NBA playoffs. 

Prop Bet Spotlight:

The BetQL computer model has identified a 4-star prop that we like for tonight’s matchup in Khris Middleton under 7.5 rebounds. He averaged 7.7 rebounds against the Hawks during the regular season. Atlanta has the length to keep Middleton off the boards and they ranked eighth in the NBA in rebounds allowed.

Pick: We are backing the model and taking Middleton to go under his 7.5 rebounds mark.

As a reader, you can get access to BetQL for 30% when you use the code BBN30, check out BetQL and win the rest of your bets for the playoffs.

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