The Milwaukee Bucks welcome the Atlanta Hawks to Fiserv Forum for a high-profile battle in Game 1 on Wednesday night. The Bucks and Hawks will square off in the Eastern Conference finals, with the winner of the best-of-seven clash advancing to the 2021 NBA Finals. The Hawks upset the Philadelphia 76ers in a seven-game second round series, while the Bucks also needed seven games to defeat Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets. Donte DiVincenzo (ankle) is out for the Bucks. Kevin Huerter (ankle) is probable for the Hawks, with Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee) listed as questionable.
Tip-off from Milwaukee is at 8:30 p.m. ET. William Hill Sportsbook lists the Bucks as eight-point home favorites, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 225 in the latest Hawks vs. Bucks odds. Before you make any Bucks vs. Hawks picks, be sure to check out the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned almost $9,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. The model is up almost $700 on its top-rated picks this season and entered the conference finals of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on a stunning 100-66 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread dating back to last season. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Hawks vs. Bucks spread: Bucks -8
- Hawks vs. Bucks over-under: 225 points
- Hawks vs. Bucks money line: Bucks -350, Hawks +290
- ATL: The Hawks are 7-3 against the spread in the last 10 games
- MIL: The Bucks are 6-4 against the spread in the last 10 games
Why the Hawks can cover
Atlanta is the kind of team that can give Milwaukee fits with its offensive approach. Trae Young is one of the best individual shot creators in the NBA, as evidenced by his 29.1 points and 10.4 assists per game in the playoffs, and he is well-suited to attacking the drop coverage of the Bucks. From there, Atlanta surrounds Young with high-end shooters, and the Bucks could be susceptible to that, particularly when playing Brook Lopez.
The Hawks were one of the NBA's best offenses during the regular season, scoring 114.3 points per 100 possessions, and Atlanta is elite at both creating free throws (24.2 attempts per game during the regular season) and converting them (81.2 percent). In addition, the Hawks do a fantastic job taking care of the ball, turning the ball over on only 11.7 percent of possessions against a pair of top-flight defenses in New York and Philadelphia. The Hawks also found gold with a lineup featuring Danilo Gallinari at small forward in the postseason, out-scoring Philadelphia and New York by 27 points across 55 minutes with Gallinari, John Collins and Clint Capela on the floor together.
Why the Bucks can cover
The Bucks were a top-five offensive team during the regular season, scoring 116.5 points per 100 possessions. While they struggled at times against Brooklyn's switch-heavy defensive scheme, the Bucks face a more traditional defense against Atlanta. Antetokounmpo is averaging 28.8 points and 13.6 rebounds per game in the playoffs, with Khris Middleton making 38.0 percent of his 3-pointers and putting up 23.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per contest on his own.
The Bucks also put considerable pressure on the offensive glass, grabbing nearly 27 percent of their own misses in the regular season and upping them to 29.1 percent in the playoffs. Milwaukee has the pedigree as an elite shooting team, finishing in the top five in both field goal percentage (48.7 percent) and 3-point percentage (38.9 percent) in the regular season. If the Bucks find that level against the Hawks, they should be in an advantageous situation against a defense that was below the NBA's average in 2020-21.
How to make Bucks vs. Hawks picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, projecting 216 combined points. The model also says one side of the spread hits over 50 percent of the time. You can only get this pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Hawks vs. Bucks? And which side of the spread hits over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks.