Certainly the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks were quite spent after their respective playoff series in which they each won a Game 7 matchup on the road.
Some BetAnySports customers may have figured the Hawks had the potential to cause some trouble for the Bucks, because of their ability to shoot from the perimeter, but that’s not how they came away with a victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
If it was Milwaukee’s objective to let Trae Young get his points and stop the rest of the Hawks, well, that strategy backfired on them. And so we see them trying to fight back just to gain a split at home after Atlanta posted a 116-113 victory over them.
The Hawks won straight-up as an eight-point underdog largely on the strength of 48 points from Young, who also had eleven assists and seven rebounds.
For the Bucks, there were only two players providing effective offense – GIannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday – who scored 34 and 33 points, respectively.
We know there are some things that aren’t likely; Young isn’t likely to score that many again and frankly, neither is Holiday. But that doesn’t necessarily tip the scales in favor of either of these two teams.
In the NBA Eastern Conference Finals odds on Game 2 (8:35 PM ET on Friday), as they are posted at BetAnySports, the Bucks are laying considerable points:
Milwaukee Bucks -7.5
Atlanta Hawks +7.5
Over 226 points -110
Under 226 points -110
It could be that the Bucks thought they might have an easier time with Young, since in seven previous meetings in which he played he had been kept very much under control. He has, in fact, averaged just under 19 points a game on 36% shooting.
The Bucks commit fewer fouls than any NBA team, but they were not able to keep Young off the line in Game 1, as he had twelve of Atlanta’s 16 free throw attempts.
Young’s 46.8% Usage percentage was simply unnatural.It is going to be imperative that the Hawks find some other people who can contribute some points, since the All-Star guard is going to be more of a focus for Mike Budenholzer’s defensive scheme.
And we’re not sold on the idea that any of this can come from Bogdan Bogdanovic. The sharpshooting wing, who may have been a member of the Bucks had Milwaukee not broken NBA rules in jumping the gun too early during free agency, was bothered by a knee injury against Philadelphia, and was good for just 28% triples. On Wednesday he was one-of-six from the field.
While it does look like the Bucks have some advantages here, we are uncomfortable in laying this kind of number with them. The Hawks have a lot of fight in them, and under Nate McMillan they’re a sizzling 32-18-1 against the spread.
But we point to a couple of things here – one is that these teams seem comfortable at a swifter pace than you might see in a playoff game. In fact, 197 shots were attempted. And these teams went just 16 of 68 combined from three-point range. That’s 23.5%, and even if they were just 30%, that would have accounted for a dozen more points. See where we’re going with that? We’re going OVER the total, that’s where.
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