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Our lead NBA analyst previews the opening game in the Eastern Conference finals

The conference finals absolutely no one expected starts Wednesday (well, no one outside of Atlanta, that is)

Atlanta Hawks vs. Milwaukee Bucks Prediction

Ye of little faith.

The Atlanta Hawks were picked to lose to the Knicks in the first round, and all they did was win in five games.

Most folks thought they’d be lucky to get a game or two off Philly if Joel Embiid was mostly healthy, and the Hawks took the series in seven.

Now here they are in the conference finals against a Bucks team that looked incredibly flawed against a banged up Brooklyn squad, and Atlanta gets rewarded with nearly a double digit spread.

On one hand, you kind of get it. In Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee has an ideal defender for Trae Young, and at the other end of the court, there is no obvious place to hide Atlanta’s star guard. The Bucks defense overall also seemed to pick up steam as the Nets series went on, so they should be able to exert their will in this matchup as well.

But the Hawks didn’t get here merely because Ben Simmons didn’t want to shoot. They took that series from the Sixers even though Philly was the more talented team with the best player. They’ll once again be left with the second best star, but Young has proven he doesn’t have to bow down to anyone. Even when his shot isn’t falling, like we saw in Game 7, he still finds a way to exert his will on the game.

The Bucks are the more well-rested team, but there’s a reason the Hawks are 8-4 against the spread in these playoffs. Keep riding the wave.

The Pick: Atlanta Hawks +7.5 

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Atlanta Hawks vs. Milwaukee Bucks Odds

Milwaukee Bucks ML -300

Atlanta Hawks ML +280

Milwaukee Bucks Spread -7.5

Atlanta Hawks Spread +7.5

View odds for the game here.

Article Author


Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.


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