Upcoming Match-ups

Bucks Open as -500 Favorites vs Hawks in Eastern Conference Finals Series Odds

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NBA Basketball

Jun 20, 2021 · 9:05 PM PDT

Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks square off the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
  • The Atlanta Hawks battle the Milwaukee Bucks for a berth in the NBA Finals
  • Both teams won on the road in Game 7s to advance to the Conference Finals
  • Read below for opening series odds analysis and a prediction on if the line will move or not before Game 1

The NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals are set, and the Altanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks both needed to go through hell to get there.

The Bucks withstood an onslaught from Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets to win Game 7 on the road Saturday night, while the Hawks went to Philly and bounced the top-seeded 76ers to punch their first final four since 2015 on Sunday.

A trip to the NBA Finals is on the line, with these two unlikely combatants.

Hawks vs Bucks Opening Series Odds

Team Odds at BetMGM
Atlanta Hawks +375
Milwaukee Bucks -500

Odds as of June 20th.

Game 1 is set for Wednesday at 8:30pm ET, and can be seen on TNT. Let’s break down this series and how you should be angling your wager.

Milwaukee’s Finest

If Kevin Durant wore a size 14 instead of a size 16, we’d be talking about the Nets taking on the Hawks. Instead, Durant’s toe was on the three-point line, and his end-of-fourth-quarter jumper sent the game into OT, instead of bouncing the Bucks, who escaped with a 115-111 win.

That’s the break a snakebitten franchise needed, one that has been bounced unceremoniously the past two seasons. Giannis Antetokounmpo was a beast, finishing with 40 points, 13 rebounds and five dimes, while also making a necessary 8-for-14 from the stripe.

Giannis got the support he needed from Khris Middleton, who went for 23 points, 10 boards, six assists and five steals. While he only shot 9-for-26, he made many of his shots in the clutch.

Ditto Jrue Holiday, who shot 2-for-16 the first three quarters, before going 3-for-5 in the fourth. That included two big three-pointers, dropping nine of his 13 points when the Bucks needed him most.

Hawks Fly High

Prior to Sunday, the Atlanta Hawks had gone winless in eight previous Game 7’s on the road. And no one would have imagined they’d break that streak with Trae Young going 5-for-23.

But that drought is over, as Atlanta again impressed by gutting out a big 103-96 win to bounce the 76ers. Young still found ways to contribute, delivering 10 dimes and finishing with 21 points, making hay on 9-for-11 from the stripe.

They were powered by Kevin Huerter, Atlanta’s other first round pick after Young in the 2018 draft. Playing in his biggest postseason game, in his first postseason, Huerter scored 27 points on 10-for-18 shooting, while also chipping in seven boards and three assists.

Atlanta was also buoyed by John Collins’ work inside, finishing with 14 points and 16 boards. Veteren Danilo Gallinari also added 17 points and five rebounds, hitting three 3-pointers.

How They Match Up

How crazy is it the 22-year-old Young is the best offensive option left standing in the East? He is the lone elite-level player on both squads that can pile up buckets, while also seeking out good looks for his teammates.

The Bucks might have the best antidote for him left in the playoffs, though, as Jrue Holiday is one of the best defenders in the NBA. They also have PJ Tucker to body him up and make life miserable.

Atlanta is already down DeAndre Hunter for the playoffs, and they may be down another wing as Bogdan Bogdanovic was battling a knee ailment in Game 7.

He played just 1:27 in the fourth quarter, left to cheer on his teammates. That’s two live bodies that could have done work on Middleton, and that’s a big advantage Milwaukee.

Both teams rank outside the top 10 in the playoffs in points, field goal shooting and three-point percentage. But they have been strong defensively. The Bucks have allowed just 102.3 points per game these playoffs, second only to Phoenix. The Hawks rank fifth at a very healthy 105 points a contest.

Early Analysis

This opening line seems pretty reasonable, and barring any injury of COVID-related illnesses, there should be minimal movement by Wednesday’s opener.

If you’re thinking Atlanta upset, jump on that number now. The Hawks have been fast staters — striking Game 1 wins against both the Knicks and 76ers. The Hawks’ series odds will shorten if that trend continues in the ECF.

This series has all the makings of the Bucks finally breaking through after taking their lumps, and I’d wager they’re going to the Finals.

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