Odds and Ends

ECF: Hawks vs. Bucks Best Bets, Odds

by Corey Parson
Updated On: July 1, 2021, 2:45 pm ET

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Tonight's Game 5 between the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks will be the toughest game to handicap in this year's NBA Playoffs. Giannis Antetokounmpo is out tonight and Trae Young is questionable. PointsBet currently has the Bucks as a small favorite to win the series at -125 with Atlanta coming back at +105. 

Atlanta Hawks vs. Milwaukee Bucks (-2.5) Total: 215 

It goes without saying the injuries will play a key role in the outcome of tonight's game. Trae Young was trending towards playing in Game 4 before being scratched about an hour prior to tip-off. Obviously I will not be placing any wagers on this game until I know who is in the lineups. 

The initial point spread on this game has the Milwaukee Bucks as a 4.5 point home favorite. Currently the Bucks are a 2.5 point favorite. On PointsBet, the -2.5 is juiced to -115, so this number could move back up to the Bucks as a 3 point favorite. My guess is that a majority of bettors feel that the Bucks without Giannis are a better team than the Hawks without Trae Young. I would tend to lean the opposite direction. 

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For this game I think we need to pay attention to the fallen hero theory. This theory takes place when a star player goes down. The team rallies behind their fallen hero and everyone on the team steps their collective game up. I can definitely see this being the case for the Bucks tonight. We have seen the Hawks, Nets, and Clippers win playoff games without their stars this spring. On this morning's Bet the Edge podcast episode, my colleague Drew Dinsick said he would be playing Bucks -1.5 in the first half. I think that’s a great bet and will be tailing it. The Bucks at home should come out focused, though Atlanta has been deadly in the second half of playoff games. 

So much more goes into betting on these games, as it's not just picking the team you like. I always want to get the best of the number, but that's not always the case. The Total in this game opened up at 220, and the uncertain status of key players have caused the number to drop to 215. I like the Under, I know betting the worst of the number isn't the best strategy, but I think this will be a defensive-minded game. I would not be surprised if neither team gets to 100 points. PointsBet is reporting 58% of the bets backing the Over, but 53% of the handle backing the Under. 


EDGE: Under 215 


Corey Parson

Corey Parson is an award-winning, multi-sport fantasy and sports betting expert who has worked for SiriusXM, The Athletic, Sports Illustrated and more. He is from Harlem, NY, yet is somehow a Dallas Cowboys fan. You can follow him on Twitter @thefantasyexec.