Smart Money NBA Playoff Picks For Friday 6/25/2021
In the midst of crapping all over the Sixers, perhaps the basketball community at large has been a bit too slow to credit the Atlanta Hawks. Trae Young is playing at an absolutely elite level, and Atlanta has definitively proven that they are a team that deserves to be taken seriously. Tonight, we’ve got a Game 2 in Milwaukee, in which the Bucks are heavily favored. Let’s get into my picks for this NBA game between the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Smart Money NBA Betting Picks for Tonight’s Action
While I would love to believe in the underdog Hawks pulling out another one, I have to think that Milwaukee will rebound with some minor adjustments and improved play from their role players. They will slightly adjust their pick-and-roll coverages slightly – which led to Young going nuts in Game 1 – and will look to exploit Young on defense just a tad more.
For whatever reason, every Hawks series so far has followed the exact same blueprint: In Game 1, the opposing team plays a deep-drop coverage against Young and acts like he doesn’t exist on defense. The Bucks, Sixers, and Knicks have all done this, but the Sixers and Knicks adjusted slightly in the subsequent game to rebound for big Game 2 wins. That is what I’m expecting out of Milwaukee tonight. Take them to cover eight points.
Even despite the Hawks being a so-so defense, the Bucks know that their best bet on offense is pushing the ball like all hell and hoping to get Giannis Antetokounmpo easy points in transition. They don’t want to turn this game into a walk-it-up, grind-it-out affair. And guess what: in the event that the Bucks are able to successfully do that, I don’t think the Hawks are capable of responding by slowing the pace down. Young loves to run, and my expectation is that this game could turn into a bit of a track meet. Hit the over here.
Top Player Props for Tonight’s NBA Action
My thinking here is that Milwaukee will go all out to deter Trae Young’s passing and scoring from around floater range and the rim, which will lead to lots of kick-outs to the perimeter, resulting in the ball swinging for Huerter and Bogdanović threes. Huerter is in an excellent rhythm right now and is showing no signs of slowing down. With how hard the Bucks will likely focus on Young, I’m expecting Huerter to find himself with a few more open looks tonight than in Game 1.
If Mike Budenholzer doesn’t adjust, which he certainly could not, then I will come to regret this pick. But with a guy coaching for his job, who just saw the evolution of the Hawks’ previous series, I have to think that even despite his history, he will adjust his coverages to make life a bit more difficult for Young. If in the first quarter, I notice that the Bucks are running their same deep-drop coverage, I will likely try to cash this puppy out. But with any type of adjustment from Coach Bud, the Bucks will be able to slow down Young.
In the event that this one turns into a blowout, which it might, I expect Connaughton to see major minutes into the fourth quarter, where he will be able to rack up stats and solidify the over here. Even without the game being a blowout, Hawks coach Nate McMillan loves to have his defense help off of so-so shooters, so the ball might find Connaughton occasionally with plenty of space. I trust him to make them pay tonight.
The same thinking here from Connaughton applies to Lopez. The Hawks will be antsy to leave him open, and Lopez will get open looks. I’m expecting the Hawks to sell out even harder on containing Giannis, which will allow players like Connaughton and Lopez to be in positions to score. Take the over here.
Mike’s Year to Date Record: 52-72