After a thrilling night that saw the Phoenix Suns take the 2-0 series lead over the Los Angeles Clippers, the NBA will turn its attention to another series on Wednesday. Tonight, the Eastern Conference Finals are set to begin as the No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks will play host to the No. 5 Atlanta Hawks at 8:30 p.m. EST.
Continue reading to see Bovada’s odds on Game 1 of this postseason series.
NBA Odds: Atlanta Hawks (No. 5) vs Milwaukee Bucks (No. 3)
Odds via Bovada as of Wednesday, June 23
- Series: Series tied 0-0
- Time: 8:30 p.m. EST
- Moneyline: Hawks (+265) vs Bucks (-330)
- Point Spread: Hawks: +7.5 (-110), Bucks: -7.5 (-110)
- Total: 226.0 — Over (-105), Under (-115)
Hawks Open Eastern Conference Finals As Underdogs
At +265 odds, the Hawks are definitely the underdogs entering tonight’s NBA action. After all, they are the lower-seeded team, so it makes sense that they’d be fighting an uphill battle. Nevertheless, the Hawks did eliminate the Philadelphia 76ers in Round 2, so they’re capable of pulling off an upset here or there.
Obviously, one of the biggest factors in any potential success for Atlanta comes through Trae Young. The 22-year-old budding superstar leads the team in points (29.1) and assists (10.4) per game. Considering how nobody else on the team comes close to matching those stats, the Hawks will need more of the same from him in Game 1. Even though the Bucks have a great defensive guard in Jrue Holiday, it’s still going to be tough to contain Young.
One player that the Hawks will need at the top of his game is John Collins. Despite averaging 17.6 PPG in the regular season, his total has dropped to 13.9 PPG in the postseason. In case you were wondering if minutes were the issue, they’re not as he’s averaging 15.1 points per 36 minutes in the playoffs compared to 21.6 in the regular season. At the end of the day, Atlanta needs, someone to step up in case Young gets shut down, whether that’s Collins or anyone else.
NBA Odds: Bucks Favored to Take Series Lead
The Bucks will enter Game 1 of tonight’s NBA playoff action with -330 odds to take the early series advantage. Milwaukee just finished disposing of the Brooklyn Nets, who were one of the top favorites to win the NBA Championship. Even if the Nets were without Kyrie Irving, that’s still an impressive feat.
As usual, Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the man to watch for the Bucks. This is his second triple to the Eastern Conference Finals in three seasons and you know he’s going to want to take it one step further. He’s already averaging 28.8 PPG and leads all players this postseason with 13.6 RPG. Khris Middleton, who had a slow start to the NBA Playoffs, also started heating up as of late. He averaged 24.3 PPG/8.7 RPG/4.3 APG against the Nets in Round 2 and will look to continue the momentum against the Hawks.
Milwaukee also has a rebounding advantage. The Bucks are averaging 51.8 RPG this offseason (1st), while the Hawks are averaging 43.1 (7th).
Even if the Bucks are favored to win tonight, nothing is a guarantee. There are holes in their game. For starters, the Bucks are shooting a measly 31.2% from the 3-point line. Even though the team isn’t constructed around deep-range shooting, that’s the type of percentage that can cost you a game or two. Another area that Milwaukee has struggled with is shooting free throws, of which they rank tied for 2nd-last among all postseason teams (70.7%). While those numbers are easy to shrug off because the Bucks have made it this far, there’s no reason to be comfortable with mediocrity. A lack of clutch shooting could spell disaster when they least expect it.