It’s the first game of the Eastern Conference finals, and the Atlanta Hawks will travel to Milwaukee to face the Bucks. Many thought that the Hawks wouldn’t make it this far in the series.
However, with the production from point guard Trae Young, the Hawks have become a dark horse to win the NBA Championship. They’ll face a tough test in the conference finals, though, as they’ll have to go against one of the most dominant players in the NBA, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Milwaukee Bucks had a hot-and-cold kind of season, but they’ve started a hot streak at the right time after a huge win against the Brooklyn Nets. What the Bucks will have to take into consideration, though, is how many players were injured for the Nets. Not to take anything away from their series win, but the Nets were down Kyrie Irving in Game 7 of the series.
Choosing who to take at the sportsbook here is no easy task, as both teams have a particular skill set that sets them apart from the rest of the league. Let’s look at what both teams bring to the contest and then make our decision.
Hawks Need A Plan For Antetokounmpo
This should be priority number one for the Hawks. Atlanta is a “small ball” team, meaning they don’t have many big body guys because they like to score from outside instead of in the paint.
The Bucks, on the other hand, are a mix of the two styles, but their best player, Antetokounmpo, loves to dominate inside. With the Hawks not having a player to put a body on Giannis, Atlanta will have to scheme a way to force him outside.
The one player Atlanta has been able to rely on is Young, and with Bogdan Bogdanovic questionable for Wednesday, Young will have to shoulder the responsibility. That pressure has never phased Young, though, and I don’t think we’ll see a lack of production from the superstar in Game 1 of this series.
Who’s Guarding Young?
If you remember the series against the New York Knicks, Young was able to create multiple scoring opportunities due to the Knicks’ inability to slow him down. The Bucks have likely watched the tape through the last two series and have seen how difficult it is to stop a multi-faceted player like Young.
If Milwaukee wants to win the first game of this series, it will need to find a solution immediately for Young. He’s not a player that you can figure out over a quarter.
The Bucks should’ve been doing their research the second they closed their series against the Nets. A trend worth noting here is that the Bucks are 13-0 at home over their last 13 games.
Best Team To Bet On
This might be a controversial bet, but I’d first like you to consider that the total has gone under in four of Milwaukee’s last five games against Atlanta. You’d also be wise to consider that Atlanta has gone 12-6 ATS in their last 18 games against the Bucks.
With Young’s ability to create scoring opportunities, seemingly out of thin air, the best bet here is the away team. That doesn’t mean that the Hawks will win here, though, so don’t take the moneyline. But be sure to take them against the spread. Atlanta Hawks +7.