The surprising Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks collide in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday. Both teams defeated the teams favored to qualify for the Eastern Conference Finals, giving us an unusual series. The Hawks ended The Process after taking down the 76ers in six games while the Bucks escaped from their matchup against the Nets with a thrilling overtime road win in Game 7.
In terms of how the Hawks and Bucks fared when playing each other this season, they played each other three times and this were the results:
January 24: The Bucks won 129-115
April 15: The Bucks won 120-109
April 26: The Hawks won 111-104
Three games is obviously not a large sample size make and some of the details and context about each game makes things even tougher to gauge. For example, the January 24 game did not feature Trae Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Clint Capela for the Hawks and took place when the Bucks had D.J. Augustin and Torrey Craig on the roster. It was also well before the Hawks fired Lloyd Pierce, handing the reins over to Nate McMillan (who has exceeded all his expectations).
As for the two April games, which the Bucks and Hawks split, both were in Atlanta and even then, Danilo Gallinari missed the first one and Trae Young missed the second. So, we have very little relevant results to work through for this series. Game 1 will take place on Wednesday at 8:30 PM ET at Fiserv Forum.
Team to Win (Regular Time)
• Atlanta Hawks: 3.50
• Milwaukee Bucks: 1.34
• Atlanta Hawks: +6.5 (1.98)
• Milwaukee Bucks: -6.5 (1.83)
• Over 226.5 (1.87)
• Under 226.5 (1.94)
Key Points to Consider
The Hawks are capable of continuing their string of upsets. They wouldn’t be in the Eastern Conference Finals otherwise! Home court advantage is on the side of the Bucks, as well as the level of relevant experience they can claim and the Hawks can’t. It is fair to argue that the conditions favor the Bucks in this series but asking them to cover so many points in Game 1 can be too much!
The Hawks cab take advantage of their depth and the threat of their long-range shooters. The Bucks will try to overwhelm the Hawks with their size underneath. Series openers are usually feel-out games, look for many miscues and missed shots from both teams at the start before figuring things out in the second half. This should be a tight game and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hawks somehow shock the basketball world again with a road win on Wednesday!
The Hawks are 4-1 ATS in their last five games as a road underdog, 4-1 ATS in their last five road games, 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games overall, 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games against a team with a winning straight up record and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight up win.
For the Hawks, Trae Young is projected to finish with 28.2 points, 4.8 assists and 3.8 rebounds, making 9.4 field goals in 20.6 attempts.
For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo is expected to score 29.1 points with 10.9 rebounds and 5.8 assists, making 10.8 field goals in 19.3 attempts.
Two-star (out of four) AccuScore hot trend pick on the Hawks in this one. Average score in simulations is Milwaukee Bucks 119.4 to Atlanta Hawks 115.1.
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