The Atlanta Hawks travel back to State Farm Arena on Sunday night, looking to rebound from a beatdown in Game 2 from the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s time to continue our NBA Playoffs odds series and make a Hawks-Bucks prediction and pick for Game 3.
The Bucks hold an overall record of 9-4 in the postseason but are only 7-6 against the spread. Milwaukee is 3-3 on the road but won their most recent away game in a thrilling Game 7 against the Nets.
The Hawks stand at 9-5 both overall and against the spread in the postseason. Atlanta is 3-2 in their home arena in the playoffs so far.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the Hawks-Bucks odds for Game 3.
NBA Odds: Hawks-Bucks Game 3 Odds
Atlanta Hawks +4.5 (-110)
Milwaukee Bucks -4.5 (-110)
Over 224 Points (-110)
Under 224 Points (-110)
Why The Hawks Could Cover The Spread
Pretty much everything that could go wrong for the Hawks in Game 2 went wrong.
Trae Young never found his groove, looking like a shadow of the man who lit the Bucks up in Game 1. With Trae off, the Hawks never got going offensively. Only two Hawks reached double-digit scoring while shooting above 50% from the field (John Collins and Danilo Gallinari).
Without Trae clicking, Atlanta doesn’t really have a shot against this loaded Bucks team. The good news for Hawks supporters is that it’s extremely rare for Young to have consecutive off nights.
Trae had shot below 40% from the field in four games this postseason prior to his Game 2 performance. His numbers in the follow-up games to these poor performances are excellent. Combined, Young is shooting 49% from the field and 36% from three in these rebound games. There’s a good shot the Hawks star comes out gunning tonight.
Defensively, the Hawks need to get back to their lockdown ways along the perimeter if they hope to retain home court.
The Hawks held opponents to 34.9% from three in the regular season, the third-lowest percentage in the league. Currently, opponents are shooting 36.3% from three in the postseason against Atlanta.
This will be the deciding factor for Atlanta on the defensive end. The Hawks will not stay in this game if they allow the Bucks to shoot 40% or better from three, but Milwaukee has shown the propensity to go cold from three with a little perimeter pressure.
As long as Nate McMillan’s group scraps around the arc and limits wide-open looks, this game will look more like Game 1 than Game 2.
Why The Bucks Could Cover The Spread
When you look at these two rosters, there is a massive gap in talent between the two. That was made apparent in Game 2.
The Bucks didn’t really have an absolutely dominant performance from any individual player, but they crushed the Hawks on their collective strength. This is something this Hawks team is incapable of doing.
As we saw in Game 2, as Trae goes, the Hawks offense goes. Once Young is off, it seems like the Hawks are done for.
In the regular season, Trae Young shot below 40% from the field 23 times. The Hawks were just 7-16 in those games. Atlanta simply does not have the firepower necessary to keep up with teams when their best player is having an off night, and the Bucks know this. Expect Milwaukee to continue to pressure Young early, and more importantly, keep him off the free-throw line.
Young shot only three free throws in Game 2, his lowest total all postseason. The charity stripe is hugely important for Trae, and without it, he becomes a much less intimidating scorer. The Bucks showed they are capable of defending the crafty guard without fouling in Game 2, a process they will need to continue to win tonight.
The offense will be a little less of a concern than locking down Young tonight. The Bucks should get points naturally against a Hawks defense that doesn’t have the defenders to keep up with Milwaukee’s options.
No one on this Hawks team is guarding Giannis. Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday should get buckets against Kevin Huerter and a hobbled Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Bucks are missing a frustrating amount of wide-open threes this postseason, and eventually, they have to start falling. Tonight could be the night the Bucks really put their firepower on display, a là Game 7 against Brooklyn.
Final Hawks-Bucks Game 3 Prediction & Pick
After watching these two games, it seems like they alternated having their best games in Games 1 and 2. However, there was a clear difference in the end results of both matchups. The Hawks got an all-time performance from their best player and some ice-cold shooting from the Bucks in Game 1 and got a three-point win. The Bucks didn’t have a single player break 25 points in Game 2 and came out with a 34 point win. There’s a clear difference in quality between these two teams, and only a Trae Young master-class can even begin to close that gap. I’ll play the odds that the Bucks don’t completely fall apart on the road here, and lay the points with Milwaukee.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: MIL 120, ATL 109 (MILWAUKEE BUCKS -4.5)