The Atlanta Hawks continue to thrive as underdogs during the 2021 NBA Playoffs, and they will look to do so again on Friday evening. Trae Young and the Hawks visit the Milwaukee Bucks for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. Atlanta leads the series after a hotly-contested Game 1 victory at Fiserv Forum. Donte DiVincenzo (ankle) is out for the Bucks. Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee) is questionable for the Hawks, with De’Andre Hunter (knee) ruled out of action.
Tip-off is at 8:30 p.m. ET. Milwaukee is an eight-point favorite in the latest Hawks vs. Bucks odds from William Hill Sportsbook. The over-under for total points is down to 225 after opening at 226.5. Before locking in 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 5-5 against the spread in the last 10 games
Why the Hawks can cover
Atlanta’s offense showed its considerable upside in Game 1. The Hawks scored nearly 1.15 points per possession despite mediocre shooting from 3-point distance, and Young was virtually unstoppable. Young scored 48 points, dished out 11 assists and snagged seven rebounds in the game, putting consistent pressure on Milwaukee’s defense. By the fourth quarter, the Bucks strayed from their chosen defensive scheme in drop coverage, and that allowed Atlanta to secure a whopping 42.3 percent of its misses on the offensive glass after halftime.
John Collins and Clint Capela were huge parts of that success, as Collins finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds while Capela added 19 boards. The Hawks were a top-10 offensive team in the regular season, and they’ve excelled in taking care of the ball to mitigate some shaky shooting so far in the postseason. If Atlanta can find its baseline as a team that usually converts 37.3 percent of its 3-point attempts, the Hawks have a chance to not only cover, but possibly steal another game on the road.
Why the Bucks can cover
Milwaukee’s defense had issues in Game 1, particularly in slowing Young. However, the Bucks boast the No. 1 defensive rating in the playoffs, allowing opponents to score only 103.8 points per 100 possessions. They are also No. 1 in free-throw rate allowed, both in the playoffs and the regular season, and Milwaukee’s opponents are posting only a 50.8 percent effective field-goal shooting mark in the postseason. The Bucks have an elite transition defense, holding opponents to just 7.7 fast-break points allowed per game in the playoffs, and they also give up fewer than 40 points in the paint per game.
On the offensive side, Milwaukee shot an unsustainably poor 8 of 36 from 3-point range in Game 1 after ranking in the top five of the NBA in long-range shooting during the regular season. The Bucks did take care of the ball, committing a turnover on only 7.8 percent of possessions, and they have an excellent 29.0 percent offensive rebound rate in the postseason. Milwaukee can likely rely on a bounce-back from Khris Middleton as well, with the All-Star wing missing all nine of his 3-point attempts in Game 1.
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.