Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks ensured the total went over in Game One, but is there a repeat on the cards?
There was little defense played throughout the game as the Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks combined for 94 made buckets in the opener of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The online sportsbook has made the adjustment and it’s expecting another high scoring game. If the over 226 is to hit, the Hawks will need Young to be firing on all cylinders again – and he’s good enough to do it.
Young Goes for 48
Young gave over bettors a helping hand in Game One by dropping 48 points on 17-of-34 shooting in Atlanta’s 116-113 win. It was a considerable improvement from his performance against Philadelphia in Game Seven, and we don’t think he’ll slow down.
He is one of the most confident shooters in the league and despite going 4 of 13 from the three-point line, he continued to jack them up from way outside. It’s refreshing to see, and although Steph Curry isn’t in the playoffs, we have the next best thing.
“Ever since I was in middle school, when I was going on the road in middle school, I always loved playing on the road,” Young told ESPN. “I loved playing against an opposing crowd, an opposing team. It feels like you’re really with your team, and it’s just them in the building. I think that really brings our group together.”
Trae Youngs 48 points are the most in a playoff game by a Hawks player since Dominique Wilkins in 1988 👏 pic.twitter.com/CJRD424UE4
NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 24, 2021
He was only two points off his career high and we think he could score 50 points at some point in this series. There is no reason why Young’s scoring would slow down, because Milwaukee’s defense has no way of containing him.
The only way he slows down is if he gets doubled-teamed, but with Atlanta’s deadly shooting role players, it’s not a smart move. The Bucks will have to live or die with Young, and they’re hoping he has an off game on Friday night.
The over was helped by John Collins knocking down timely shots in the fourth quarter. He ended the game with 23 points, with Clint Capela (12) and Kevin Huerter (13) also joining in the fun.
Does Middleton Turn Up?
When Milwaukee loses, especially in the playoffs, questions are always asked about Khris Middleton.
He has a tendency to go missing in big games and that was the case on Wednesday. The big contract player had just 15 points on 6-of-23 shooting, which won’t help the Bucks and it won’t help the over.
Giannis Antetokounmpo did his thing with 34 points, but if the total is to go over 226, help is needed from Middleton. He went 0 of 9 from three, which was a dreadful night for the small forward.
Jrue Holiday came up clutch with 33 points, but it’s not his job to score big numbers.
“I’ve just got to be better,” Middleton said. “It’s as simple as that.”
Khris Middleton every other playoff game pic.twitter.com/rmlHXOEjcR
Stevie👑 (@steviesburner3) June 24, 2021
It is that simple, but NBA betting markets are showing trepidation because of his performance. We expected the line to be around 230, but another poor shooting night from Middleton could see the under come through.
As a whole, we expect the Bucks to be better offensively. We don’t expect much change defensively, but they are capable of scoring 120 points.
Interestingly, Milwaukee’s team total is set at 117 points. Bookmakers are expecting a lift in the Bucks’ offensive production, but also a dip for Atlanta. The Hawks’ line is 109½, seven points less than what they scored in Game One.
We would lean towards both teams going over their respective team totals. Atlanta is more than capable of scoring the 109½ and Milwaukee should improve on its shooting numbers.
Hawks vs Bucks Totals Trends
Over is 18-8-1 in the last 27 meetings in Milwaukee, but it’s 4-1 in the last five meetings overall.
Over is also 9-2 in the Hawks’ last 11 games and 9-2 in the Bucks’ last 11 home games against a team with a losing road record. However, most of the betting trends favor the under.
It is 4-0 in the Bucks’ last four games following an against-the-spread loss. It’s also 7-0 in the Bucks’ last seven games following a straight-up loss, which suggests the Bucks focus on defense.
Under is 4-0 in the Hawks’ last four games after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game. It’s 4-1 in their last five playoff games as an underdog, but the lone win was Game One.
Hawks vs Bucks Totals Pick
Despite the betting trends suggesting the under is a good pick, we’re going with Over 226.
We expect plenty of points from the Hawks and Bucks, who could combine for 240 points. Defense isn’t at a premium and they could trade buckets frequently.
We recommend taking the over in all three markets, which includes team totals. Take Atlanta over 109½ and Milwaukee over 117. We are supremely confident with Atlanta not expecting a big offensive drop-off.
It should be another high-scoring contest at Fiserv Forum.