The Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks have both been sideswiped by injuries, making the Under a viable choice for Thursday’s NBA picks.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Thursday, July 1, 2021 – 8:30 PM ET at Fiserv Forum
And the hits just keep on coming. The Eastern Conference Finals, like just about every other series in the 2020-21 NBA playoffs, has been marred by injuries; Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo was the latest victim, hyperextending his left knee during the third quarter of Tuesday’s Game 4. The Atlanta Hawks were already winning handily when he went down, but this put the nail in Milwaukee’s coffin – they fell 110-88 as 9-point road faves on the closing NBA betting odds.
We don’t have an official word at press time on the status of Antetokounmpo, and we’re still waiting for an update on Atlanta’s superstar, Trae Young, who was a late scratch for Game 4 because of the bone bruise and sprained ankle he suffered in Game 3. No matter; the online betting sites have already posted their NBA odds for Game 5 on Thursday, including bet365, who have the Hawks available as 2.5-point road dogs after opening at +4.5. Is there still any value left with Atlanta?
Given all the confusion surrounding these injuries, you might want to wait until Thursday’s shoot-around to see who’s likely to be in uniform before you jump on those NBA spreads. There’s another important player whose status is up in the air: Atlanta center Clint Capela, who got elbowed in the face on Tuesday and had to see the team ophthalmologist. Team officials are reportedly “optimistic” Capela will play in Game 5, but then again, Young felt the same way about Game 4.
If you don’t want to wait for the shoot-around to get your NBA picks in, maybe the Under is the way to go. With all these star players falling left and right, the Under has been the sharp default pick for a while now, going 5-2 in the week leading up to Wednesday’s action, and 25-20 (55.6 percent) over the past 30 days. The total for Game 5 opened at 220 points, but of course, the wiseguys have already pounded the Under, driving it down to 217.5 points at BetMGM and as low as 216 at other sportsbooks. Timing is everything.
This chaos might be a bit frustrating from both a sports betting and a journalism standpoint, and basketball’s a lot more fun with marquee players like Young and Antetokounmpo in uniform, but at least there’s some profit to be made anytime the NBA lines are moving back and forth. As a baseline, we already knew the Hawks were the value pick in this series, and as we saw Tuesday night, their value is robust without Young in the lineup. Can we say the same thing for Milwaukee sans Antetokounmpo? Maybe not. I’m officially sticking with the Under for this pick, but consider another bet on Atlanta if you like what you see on the news wires, and enjoy Game 5.
NBA Pick: Under 217.5 (–110) at BetMGM