The Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks meet again on Tuesday night in Atlanta for Game 4 of the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals.
Milwaukee will be looking to take an insurmountable 3-1 series lead by taking advantage of an Atlanta team that is already missing the output of Bogdan Bogdanovic and who may be without top scorer Trae Young who is questionable with a bone bruise.
After failing to make the NBA Finals during the previous two seasons despite being the top seed in the entire NBA. This year, Milwaukee finished just third in the East but find themselves up 2-1 in the 2021 East Finals, just two wins away from their first Finals appearance since 1974.
Khris Middleton had a sensational Game 3 as he scored 38 points, including 20 in the final quarter of the game. Giannis Antetokounmpo had another huge statistical game with 33 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists. Meanwhile, the Bucks had a big lift from Bobby Portis who put up 15 points in Game 3.
The Atlanta Hawks suddenly find themselves in a must-win spot in Game 4. After losing the previous game, they are down 2-1 in the series and a loss here would mean a 3-1 hole where only 4.9% of teams have climbed out of, historically. But the Hawks may need to improvise on Monday as Trae Young is questionable due to a bone bruise in his ankle.
Young scored 35 points in Game 3 and it looked like he was going to make good on his promise to be better and bounce back after losing Game 2 by a blowout. But after tweaking his ankle, Young scored just 3 points on 1-4 shooting while looking like a liability on the court. With Bogdan Bogdanovic also bothered by his right knee and has averaged only 6.7 points per game in the series.
The Bucks are 4-1 SU in their last five games played. Milwaukee is 10-1 SU in their last 11 games against the Southeast Division, but 2-3 SU in their last five road games.
The Hawks are 13-6 SU in their last nine games played. Atlanta is 14-3 SU in their last 17 games played at home and 12-6 SU in their last 18 games against the Eastern Conference.
The Bucks are 14-3 in their last 17 games played against the Hawks. Milwaukee has also won four out of their last five meetings in Atlanta.
You have to feel for the Hawks right now. They have gone all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals and had a real good shot at taking a 2-1 series lead with one quarter left in Game 3. But then alas, the referee saved the day as Trae Young hurt himself after inadvertently stepping on an official’s foot.
Ok, so Khris Middleton also had a big game for the Bucks. He scored 20 fourth quarter points to lead a furious finish by Milwaukee and he was shooting lights out at a time when the Hawks had no answer. Giannis had another dominant statistical performance but it was clear that Middleton’s torrid shooting was the reason why Milwaukee won.
I would’ve given the Hawks a shot in Game 4 because they are definitely not done. However, with Trae Young questionable because of a bone bruise, there isn’t too much value on the plus money.
Aside from Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic is also limited by injury. Usually a terrific shooter, he doesn’t have his lift in this series. Bogdanovic is averaging only 6.7 points per game while shooting just 28% from the field. Huerter has been great in the playoffs but I don’t trust him to lead the team to victory. Give me the Bucks.
Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee is 4-1 ATS in their last five games played. The Bucks are 4-1 ATS in their last five games against the Eastern Conference, 4-0 ATS in their last four games when playing on one day rest, and 4-1 in their last five games against an opponent with a winning straight up record.
Atlanta is 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games played. The Hawks are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 games played at home, 5-2 ATS in their last seven Tuesday games, 51-23 ATS in their last 74 games after a double-digit loss, 15-7 ATS in their last 22 games when playing on one-day rest, and 5-2 ATS in their last seven home games against an opponent with a winning road record.
Head to head, the Bucks are 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings against the Hawks.
The Hawks have covered well this season but that’s because Trae Young has been there in most of their games. Young missed only nine games during the regular season and none through Game 3 of the East Finals. But with Ice Trae listed as questionable for Game 4, placing your money on the Hawks would be a big risk.
Bogdan Bogdanovic is also struggling with an injury and he’s averaged only 6.7 points per game in this series and has shot just 28% from the floor against the Suns. Lou Williams might give them a lift and so could Danilo Gallinari. But having a 100% Trae Young is different.
He is the catalyst of this Atlanta team. He makes plays not just for himself but for his teammates as well. Young may be turnover-prone, but that’s because he is a risk-taker. So far, the rewards have outweighed the risks.
But not having Young in Game 4 or having him at less than 100% strength won’t help Atlanta. Not when the Bucks are healthy and Middleton is playing like he is right now.
Prediction: Bucks -7
The total has gone under in seven out of the last 10 games played by the Bucks. The under is 3-0-1 in Milwaukee’s last four Tuesday games, 5-1-1 in their last seven games as betting favorites, 4-1 in their last five Conference Finals games, and 8-2 in their last 10 games against an opponent with a winning home record.
The Hawks have seen the total go under in six out of their last seven games played. The 4-0 in their last four Tuesday games, 6-0 in their last six games when playing on one-day rest, 6-1 in their last seven games as underdogs, 5-1 in their last six games after a double-digit loss, and 6-1 in their last seven games after an ATS loss.
Head to head, the under is 4-1 in the last five meetings between these two teams. The total has gone under in each of their last four meetings.
After combining for 229 points in Game 2, these teams have combined for 216 and 215 points in Games 2 and 3, respectively with the total going under in each of the last two games.
Milwaukee was one of the top offensive teams during the regular season and the Hawks were a decent scoring team themselves. However, we’re in the postseason and the longer the series goes, the teams know better about defending the other team.
Trae Young’s injury could be the main factor in the betting arena. Young is averaging 32.7 points per game in the series. Sure, the Hawks have other players who can step up but they may be losing too much if young doesn’t play or if he plays compromised.
The Hawks won’t go down without a fight but the Bucks are too good to lose to an Atlanta team that may be without Trae Young.
Prediction: Under 219
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