Milwaukee got to the finals by beating Brooklyn in seven games and it was fortunate that Kevin Durant’s foot wasn’t an inch shorter. However, it was a deserved series win and online betting markets have the Bucks as strong favorites.
Atlanta got past top-seeded Philadelphia in seven games and that effort can’t be overlooked. The Hawks have one of the deepest shooting lineups in the NBA, so they’re capable of making the NBA Finals.
Bucks Riding Momentum
It looked as though the Bucks would suffer another conference semifinal loss to the Nets, but they won four of the last five games to advance.
They might have faced a Nets team without Kyrie Irving and with an injured James Harden, but we’re not going to take that away from the Bucks. They dug deep to win and the 115-111 overtime victory in Game Seven was full of big moments.
“I almost got emotional a little bit out there because like, the team really, really tried their best, and we kept our composure,” Bucks forward Giannis ntetokounmpo told CBS Sports. “We were down 2-0, a lot of people didn’t believe that we could make it.”
Despite woes at the free throw line, Antetokoumnpo was big. He is averaging 28.8 points in the postseason. The Greek Freak hasn’t been as dominant this season, but we have little doubt that he’ll be the main offensive threat against Atlanta.
A look at Milwaukee when the @Bucks won 👀
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 20, 2021
The only problem for the Bucks is defending multiple scoring threats. Against the Nets, the only threat was Durant. However, the Hawks have the likes of Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, Clint Capela, Bojan Bogdanovic, John Collins and Lou Williams for Milwaukee to worry about.
The Bucks limited the Nets to under 100 points in three of the last five games, which is a fine defensive effort against a high-scoring team. There is an asterisk because the Nets were missing key players, but they were able to play lock-down defense when it counted.
NBA betting markets have the Bucks at -470 to beat Atlanta and make the NBA Finals. The odds are short, so Atlanta isn’t getting much respect.
Don’t Overlook Hawks
We feel like the Atlanta Hawks aren’t getting the respect it deserves. The series win over Philadelphia was a terrific effort, and although the media focused on the downfall of Ben Simmons and “The Process,” we’re focusing on the positives for the Hawks.
They were able to win Game Seven despite Young having an off night. However, expect Young to have a big series against a Bucks team that struggles defending the three-point line.
Young will get open shots and, if he’s double-teamed, there are multiple scoring options on his wings. Huerter came up big on Sunday and he’s one of many deadly three-point shooters for the Hawks.
Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari are more than capable of knocking down shots, so the Hawks are one of the best spread offenses around. They also have Capela in the paint, and we’d love him to be more aggressive.
John Collins’ shirt for post-game interviews has a picture of him dunking on Embiid during Game 6.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 21, 2021
Our biggest concern is who guards Antetokounmpo. It’s likely to fall on Capela, who isn’t the best interior defender. Limiting the Bucks offensively will be key for the Hawks to fly, and that’s a big concern. However, if the Hawks get a flow offensively, they are tough to stop.
“Everybody is fired up,” Collins said. “We’ve worked all year to be in moments like this. Game Seven, I feel like we all had each other’s back. We couldn’t have wanted anything else more than we did tonight. We pulled through for a victory.”
There is a quality team dynamic with the Hawks and it’s great to see. They are a young squad with plenty of time to improve, but they’ll want to take this opportunity with two hands.
Value is with Atlanta at +370. Despite playing Game One on the road, the Hawks defeated Philadelphia in the final two road games of that series. It’s a good sign that geography has no effect on them.
Series Betting Trends
There is a significant betting trend in favor of the Atlanta Hawks. They are 12-3 against the spread in the last 15 meetings in Milwaukee, so the opening two games of the series will be interesting.
The Hawks are also 4-1 ATS in the last five games as a road underdog, and we expect bookmakers to have them as underdogs in every road game.
Milwaukee is 0-4 ATS in the last four conference final games and 0-7 ATS in its last seven games vs a team with a losing road record.
Betting trends are firmly with Atlanta, which contradicts the betting markets.
Hawks vs Bucks Series Pick
We can’t pass up the value for the Atlanta Hawks. Beating Milwaukee isn’t going to be easy, but we believe in this team and the Bucks don’t handle pressure well.
Milwaukee was helped by the Nets not having their primary ball handler, but the Hawks have Young and he’s showing no signs of lacking confidence.
The series could come down to guarding Antetokounmpo, and that’s a worry, but the Hawks are good enough to limit the Bucks to under 100 points.
The +370 is a fantastic price and the odds are too generous to overlook. We expect the series to be decided in Game Seven, with the Hawks stealing it on the road.