Hawks vs. Bucks Odds, Preview, Prediction: How to Bet Wednesday’s Highest Over/Under (March 9)
Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks, Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks.
- The Atlanta Hawks head to Milwaukee to face the streaking Bucks in a crucial matchup in the East.
- The Bucks have won five straight games, but can the Hawks slow their momentum?
- NBA betting analyst Raheem Palmer details how to bet this Wednesday night matchup.
Hawks vs. Bucks Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
While this matchup go the way Hawks wanted in the playoffs, they won the first two games of the season series and look to win the final meeting between these two teams in their quest for a postseason berth. Fortunately for the Hawks, they come into this game rested, with a day off after their 113-110 overtime loss to the Detroit Pistons on Monday.
So where is the betting value on tonight’s matchup? Let’s analyze both sides and find out!
Atlanta’s Defensive Woes Persist
The Hawks are in the midst of a let down season sitting 10th in the East standings with a 31-33 record, just 2.5 games ahead of the Washington Wizards for the last spot in the play-in tournament. This isn’t what most people expected for a team that went deep into the postseason last year.
Nonetheless, the Hawks, led by Trae Young and his 27.8 points and 9.4 assists per game, still boast a top-five offense. They rank fourth in Offensive Rating, scoring 115.0 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes, second in half court points per 100 possessions (99.9) and third in 3-point shooting percentage (37.7%). With John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter, Cameron Oliver, Danilo Gallinari, and Clint Capela all averaging double figures in points, this offense is more than just the brilliance of Young.
While the Hawks’ offense is typically reliable, it didn’t show up in Monday night’s loss to the Pistons as they managed just 1.1 points per possession with Young shooting just 5-of-20 from the field for 14 points and the team shooting 28.9% from downtown. In most seasons, the offensive output they are capable of displaying on most nights would typically translate success in the win column, but it hasn’t because of their struggles on defense.
The Hawks rank 26th in Defensive Rating (114.6), and despite how great their offense is, they have 0.8 Net Rating because of their inability to get stops. The Hawks rank 24th in half court points per 100 possessions (97.6), but they’re even worse in transition where they rank 29th in points per 100 possessions (3.7).
Some of that is a result of injuries and COVID absences, so we have seen this defense improve over the past two weeks as they’re 15th in Defensive Rating (115.0) during this time period. Still, the Chicago Bulls are the only top-10 offense this team has played since the All-Star break and in one game they gave up a 124 points on 1.32 points per possession. Given their struggles on defense, it’s no surprise that this team is just 15-22 against teams above .500 while going 16-11 against teams below .500.
The Hawks can get by outscoring the bottom feeders of the NBA, but the better teams in this league can capitalize on this struggling defense and you can expect the Bucks to get whatever they want offensively tonight. The question is, can Young and the Hawks’ offense do enough?
Bucks Offense is Scorching in Recent Stretch
The Bucks have won five straight games and are now just a half game back of the No. 2 spot in the East. With much of their injury woes behind them, the Bucks appear to geared up for another championship run.
They’re fourth in Net Rating (10.7) since the All-Star break and are beating the teams they’re supposed to beat, going 26-10 against teams below .500. However, it would be tough for the Bucks to overlook this Hawks team that pushed them to the brink last summer and also won both matchups this season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is in the midst of another MVP-caliber season as he’s averaging 29.4 points on 54% shooting along with 11.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists. However he hasn’t been as dominant against the Hawks this season as his scoring (26.5 points) rebounding (5.5 boards) and field goal percentage (41.5%) dipped in those matchups.
However, the Bucks did miss Khris Middleton for their first matchup and Jrue Holiday for their second meeting, so the Hawks will finally meet a mostly full strength Bucks roster for the first time this season.
While the Bucks will have their three best players, they’re still missing Brook Lopez, Pat Connaughton and George Hill. The loss of Lopez has been disastrous for this team as this defense isn’t nearly as good as its been in past years. Over the past two weeks, they’re just 18th in Defensive Rating, allowing 116.0 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes.
Fortunately for the Bucks, their offense has been downright unstoppable, scoring 125.9 points per 100 possessions. They should have advantages in the paint and on the perimeter against this Hawks defense and you can expect that unstoppable scoring to continue tonight.
In Tuesday’s matchup against the Thunder, the Bucks scored 142 points on 1.38 points per possession and with no starter outside of Jordan Nwora playing more than 29 minutes. This is key for a Bucks team that is just 6-5 on zero days rest this season.
With the Bucks in postseason form and coming off five straight wins, you can throw out the numbers about their early season struggles in back-to-back games.
It’s very difficult to trust either one of these defenses at this point. The Bucks have a championship pedigree and have held top five defenses during the Mike Budenholzer era.
That hasn’t been the case this season for a team that has played deep into the postseason the last few years and is missing a key defensive piece in Lopez. Over the past two weeks the Bucks are just 18th in Defensive Rating, allowing 116.0 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes.
Fortunately for the Bucks, their offense has been the best in the league over the past two weeks and that should continue against a Hawks defense which has struggled all season. The Bucks are fifth in pace (100) and fifth in offensive length of possession (14 seconds) and while we could see it slow down a bit on the back-to-back, I still expect both offenses to be efficient.
The Hawks have put up Offensive Ratings north of 120 in both meeting against the Bucks this season. I don’t see that changing here. I played the over at 236.5, but I still like the over at the current number with my model making this game 241.
Pick: Over 238