NBA Playoffs: Mims previews the Eastern Conference Finals with the Atlanta Hawks vs Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks will meet for the right to go to the NBA Finals. The Bucks are -475 to win the series while the Hawks are +360.
Players to watch: Khris Middleton and Trae Young. Middleton is dominant at home and adequate on the road. That must change this series. Young is the undisputed leader of the Hawks and must average 25 points and 9 assists for this to be competitive.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Clint Capela. Giannis’s stats against the Hawks during the regular season were 24 points,11 rebounds and 4.7 assists. I expect his numbers to increase against Capela. While Capela is active on the glass, he is at a disadvantage with Giannis.
Coach Edge: Mike Budenholzer and Nate McMillan. McMillan turned this season around for the Hawks. Budenholzer has the better team but has a flawed scheme with his half-court offense. Edge to McMillan.
The Hawks defeated the Sixers in 7 games. Two of the wins were in games they trailed by 20 or more in the 2nd half. They were able to get back into games because the Sixers could not respond to runs by the Hawks. The Bucks will not have that problem. After surviving against Kevin Durant and a not at full strength Nets team, they will be ready to play. They will not have to shoot as many threes as they did in the 1st two rounds. The size advantage will be a problem for the Hawks. Bucks have Jrue Holiday who can score and settle a team down in a clutch situation.
Prop Bets: Look for prop bets involving Kevin Huerter and Brook Lopez to go over their scoring projections in the 1st two games of the series. Middleton over 24.5 is set at -115. Antetokounmpo over 13.5 rebounds is +110. In the sole loss to the Hawks this season, Giannis had 14 rebounds. There is value in the over for both.
The Pick: Bucks stop Hawks in 5. Bucks will wear the Hawks down physically. Young will have one game when he drops 35-40. That is the only game the Hawks win. Bucks -2.5 games for the series is set at -104. I like that game spread.
Game One: Take the game over 226. Two of the games the teams played in the regular season were high scoring. Bucks -7.5 is also a good play.
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