The Milwaukee Bucks needed a win in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals to avoid heading to Atlanta down 0-2 in the series. They got one of the most emphatic victories in recent memory, burying the Hawks 125-91 in a game that never felt close. Milwaukee took a 32 point lead into halftime and led by as many as 41 points early in the fourth quarter.

Let’s jump into a pivotal Game 3 between Atlanta and Milwaukee with five bold betting Hawks vs. Bucks betting picks.

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The starters for both teams should enter Game 3 action feeling fresh, as none of them stepped foot on the court in the fourth quarter of Game 2 with the result already decided. We should be primed to witness a high-intensity affair this evening with the rested stars bound to see an abundance of court time in a game that could swing this series for the winner.

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Hawks vs. Bucks Best Bets and Props (Game 3)

Best Bets
Mikal Bridges Over 1.5 Made Threes (DraftKings Sportsbook -127)
Ivica Zubac Over 10.5 Rebounds (FanDuel Sportsbook
Reggie Jackson Over 3.5 Assists (DraftKings Sportsbook -150)
Deandre Ayton Under 29.5 Total Points, Rebounds & Assists (DraftKings Sportsbook -110)
Cameron Johnson Over 8.5 Points (FanDuel Sportsbook -122)

1. Trae Young Under 32.5 Points (FanDuel Sportsbook -205)

An expensive prop, to be sure, but we think there is enough value in buying the three bought points from the even-money O/U 29.5 prop for Trae Young to be worth it.

Normal instinct would say that Young being the confident, budding star that he is, will surely bounce back to have another transcendent performance tonight at home in Game 3. However, the historical data surrounding that idea seems to contradict the possibility.

Most know that Young posted just 15 points on 6-for-16 shooting in just 28 minutes of the Game 2 blowout loss. Since the second game of the regular season, Young has topped 32.5 points just once in tries after previously playing less than 30 minutes. The one time he did, he scored 33 points. He averaged just 20.7 points per game in those subsequent efforts.

Worth noting, three of those 10 outings saw him score between 30 and 32 points, helping justify our choice of point totals for this prop. Looking through a slightly different lens, Young had 18 other games before Friday’s Game 2 in which he scored fewer than 20 points. In the 18 games that followed, he only scored 33 points or more twice, averaging just 25.3 points per game.

Again, five of those 18 follow-up games saw him tally 30-32 points, further validation for our more expensive prop selection. Young has not shot the ball well for most of these playoffs and Milwaukee seems to have figured out a decent plan to keep him somewhat in check. He may need to take on the role of distributor more frequently tonight, making 33 points difficult to come by.

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2. Jrue Holiday Over 7.5 Assists (DraftKings Sportsbook -121)

Holiday has morphed into Milwaukee’s version of Young during the Playoffs, just in a quieter fashion.

Hidden behind the public entity that is Giannis Antetokounmpo, the casual fan might not realize that Holiday has averaged 27.5 points and 8.5 assists per game thus far in this series. He seems to have the ball in his hands on nearly every possession and almost never gets a rest. He should play almost the entire game tonight after getting the fourth quarter off Friday night.

Holiday has notched four games of eight or more assists in his last six outings and surely would have had another in Game 2, posting seven dimes in his three quarters of game action. Nine of his last 15 games have seen him eclipse the 7.5 number we need to cash this prop and he has attained 8+ helpers in 19 different games this season.

He also had another 11 games where he dished out exactly seven assists, but in far less court time than he is likely to see tonight, lending to a belief that one more would surely be feasible with 6-10 more minutes of time on the court. Holiday averaged 0.5 more assists on the road than at home this season, as well as 1.7 more per game after the All-Star Break than before.

The soon-to-be Olympian averaged 7.7 assists per game against Atlanta during the regular season, the second most against any team he faced three times. He has boosted that average to eight versus the Hawks when you include the two postseason meetings and he should be primed for another monster output tonight.

3. Bobby Portis Points, Rebounds, & Assists – Over 11.5 (DraftKings Sportsbook -118)

Bobby Portis has somehow become the de facto emotional leader for this Bucks team during this series. Coach Mike Budenholzer’s trust in Portis was evident when he was left in the game for the first couple minutes of Game 2’s fourth quarter to ensure the team’s tone was set properly for garbage time.

But Portis’ importance to what the Bucks will want to do against Atlanta tonight showed when Budenholzer sat him down with the Bucks’ other key figures to keep him fresh for Game 3. Portis has averaged 16.1 minutes per game in the playoffs, playing between 12 and 19 minutes in each outing.

This is down from his 20.8 minutes per game during the regular season, but the Bucks’ backup big man may find his athleticism preferred to Brook Lopez against such an athletic Hawks group which is so aggressive on the boards. Portis was not a good matchup during the Nets series but in the first round against the Heat and so far in this series, he has topped this Points-Rebounds-Assists number in all six games.

He averaged 16.2 combined points, rebounds, and assists in those six contests and eclipsed the 11.5 number in each of his final six regular season games, as well. In fact, Portis would have cashed this prop in 58 of his 66 regular season games (87.9%).

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4. P.J. Tucker Over 0.5 Made Threes (FanDuel Sportsbook -182)

Milwaukee seemed to figure some things out offensively in Game 2, allowing their key players surrounding Giannis to shoot a combined 14-29 (48.3%) from long range (before fourth quarter garbage time set in). While P.J. Tucker wasn’t a part of that barrage, going 0-1 from deep, he is still a respectable long-range shooter and should find some open looks from beyond the arc tonight in a game which will likely see him on the court for extended minutes.

Tucker had logged 33 or more minutes of play in five of the last six games leading up to Game 2. He was on pace for at least that again before everyone got rested after three quarters. Tucker has just one 3-point attempt in this series, and as Atlanta adjusts to what Milwaukee has done well thus far, the Bucks could counter by slipping Tucker out for corner threes more often tonight.

The Bucks forward had made at least one deep ball in more than half of the team’s playoff games leading up to this series. He sank at least one three in 25 of his 52 regular season games between Houston and Milwaukee, shooting it at 39.4% from 3-point range.

Tucker averaged 1.0 made threes on 2.8 attempts per game on the road this season, compared to just 0.6 made in 1.9 attempts per home game. He also averaged more long range attempts and a better deep ball percentage in team wins than losses and dropped in two triples on this court in his only outing here this season, despite logging just 16 minutes of action.

5. Brook Lopez Under 4.5 Rebounds (FanDuel Sportsbook +102)

After playing 30 or minutes in the final five games of the Brooklyn series, Lopez has been relegated to just 20 and 23 minutes in the first two games against Atlanta.

Granted, his 23-minute Game 2 effort would likely have been more, if not for the fourth quarter respite, but the Bucks starting center still only amassed one rebound in a game in which the Hawks missed 48 shots, 27 coming from long range when Lopez would have been one of the only bodies in the lane.

Against an athletic Atlanta frontcourt that now adds 6’8” Cam Reddish to the mix, Lopez could find himself phased out a bit for the likes of Portis, who is more active on the glass. Lopez’s skill set fit the style of play of the Brooklyn series far better, as he averaged 11.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.

Suddenly, however, he has just three rebounds through two games against Atlanta in this series. That makes it three rebounds or less for Lopez against this Hawks team in four of the five meetings against them this season, including just one board the last time he played on this court.

Lopez only grabbed three or less rebounds across two games one other time this season and followed those outings up with a four rebound performance. On offense, Lopez will spend most of his time outside the 3-point line, clearing the lane for Giannis.

Defensively, he will be the least athletic guy on the court over 6’8”, stripping away any advantage being seven feet tall might bring.

 

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