On Wednesday night, the Milwaukee Bucks will play host to the Atlanta Hawks for Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Finals series.
Let’s take a closer look at the top Hawks vs. Bucks Game 1 player prop picks and make some predictions for this June 23, 2021 NBA Playoffs matchup.
Hawks vs. Bucks Game 1 Player Props (June 23, 2021)
The Eastern Conference Finals are set to get underway as Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks head to the Fiserv Forum to take on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Of all the potential conference final matchups predicted before the playoffs began, this meeting would have been far from a popular choice. Many believed the Philadelphia 76ers were going to somehow walk away with a series victory, setting up a series with the Brooklyn Nets, but Kevin Durant’s airball doomed Brooklyn, while Ben Simmons’ disappearance sealed Philadelphia’s fate. However, Young and his underdog team have earned their way into the conference final as has Giannis and his Bucks.
Trae Young’s rise from young star to legitimate superstar has gained plenty of momentum after downing the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, then toppling the Eastern Conference’s top seed the Philadelphia 76ers in seven games. Kevin Huerter’s Game 7 performance helped to make up for Young’s early struggles from the field and filled a void created by the injury to Bogdan Bogdanović.
Giannis Antetokounmpo looked every bit like a two-time MVP in his series against the Brooklyn Nets. His 40-point performance in Game 7 stood out as a potential career milestone, while the emergence of Khris Middleton as a legitimate second option was a much-needed development. The scary thing for the Hawks is the fact that Milwaukee has not yet gotten a massive game out of Giannis, Middleton, and Jrue Holiday at the same time to this point in the postseason.
Which team will take the early advantage in the Eastern Conference Finals?
Giannis Antetokounmpo to Record Over 45.5 Combined Points and Rebounds (-154, FanDuel Sportsbook)
Two-time league MVP has carried much of the load for the Milwaukee Bucks en route to the Eastern Conference Finals, including an incredible performance in a road win against the Brooklyn Nets in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Antetokounmpo dropped a playoff-high 40 points to go along with 13 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 block in 50:08 of game action.
The Bucks superstar dropped at least 30 points in six of seven games in the second round series, pulling down double-digit rebounds in all seven contests. In fact, Giannis has secured at least 10 rebounds in 10 of his 11 postseason games.
As for Antetokounmpo recording over 45.5 combined points and rebounds, you’ll need to navigate to the “alternate points and rebounds” section lower the total from over/under 46.5. That’s important, because Giannis has combined for at least 46 points and rebounds in five straight playoff games.
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Clint Capela to Record Over 11.5 Rebounds (-139, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Hawks center Clint Capela is coming off a hard-fought series against MVP finalist Joel Embiid. To his credit, Capela performed pretty admirably, dropping double-digit points in five of seven contests against the Sixers. More importantly for this market, Keep in mind that Capela was able to secure at least 10 rebounds in four of seven games against Philadelphia, including a 16-rebound performance in Game 3 and 13-rebound showing in Game 4.
When Capela wasn’t facing an elite center in the first round series against the New York Knicks, he dominated on t he interior, pulling down at least 12 rebounds in all five contests. This postseason, Capela is tied for third in the NBA with 11.6 rebounds per game after leading the league in regular season rebounding with 14.3 per game.
In two regular season matchups against the Bucks, Capela pulled down 16 and 14 rebounds. Expect him to control the glass in Game 1 despite starting on the road.
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Khris Middleton to Make 3+ Three-Point Field Goals (-145, BetMGM)
If there’s been one player who’s found himself in the midst of a redemption tour, it’s Khris Middleton. After some small playoff performances in the past, Middleton has been critical to the Bucks getting to the Eastern Conference Finals. Middleton’s 23.3 points, 8 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game at the second-most on the team behind only Antetokounmpo, while he’s dished out the third-most assists per game with 4.3.
Perhaps Middleton’s most meaningful contribution has been his ability to stretch the defense, allowing Antetokounmpo to slash to the rim. Middleton has hit 38% of his shots from beyond the arc, averaging 2.7 made three-pointers on 7.2 attempts per game.
Although Middleton went just 2-7 from deep in Game 7 against Brooklyn, it’s worth noting that he hit at least 3 three-pointers in five straight games prior to that contest. Most notably, Middleton has hit at least 3 three-point field goals in each of his five home playoff contests. Given his recent form and the fact that Game 1 is going to take place in Milwaukee, this one is a solid bet.
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