NBA Odds & Picks for Hawks vs. Bucks: Betting Value Lies on Sunday’s Over/Under (Jan. 24)
Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
- The Milwaukee Bucks host the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night in a game featuring the second-highest total of the day's NBA slate.
- After two straight losses against two of the league's best teams, the Bucks are looking to get back on track against the red-hot Hawks.
- Kenny Ducey previews this matchup and breaks down his betting pick below.
Hawks vs. Bucks Odds
|Bucks Odds||-8 .5|
|Moneyline||+300 / -375|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
After two straight losses against two of the league’s best teams, the Milwaukee Bucks will be looking to get the train back on the tracks against the Atlanta Hawks, who ride into this game red hot.
The focus will surely be on flashy names like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Trae Young to produce highlight after highlight in this one, but both defenses could quietly be the real story.
Is there value in attacking the second-highest total on the slate? Let’s dig into the numbers a bit and see if that’s the case.
If a matchup with the team who owns the second-best record in the East wasn’t a daunting enough task for the Hawks, they now may need to take on the Bucks shorthanded. The team is listing Young (back) and De’Andre Hunter (knee) as questionable for Sunday’s tilt which could leave them with two holes to fill in their starting lineup. The good news, at the very least, is while Young and Hunter are banged up, the team did just welcome back Danilo Gallinari from injury, and Rajon Rondo was able to return not too long before him.
The status of Young obviously changes this game completely for Atlanta, but for the intents and purposes of this breakdown we’ll assume he’s going to play, and that wouldn’t be outlandish considering the Hawks have had a couple of days off.
Atlanta has made its mark this season on the defensive end, ranking eighth in efficiency, and while it hasn’t been overwhelmingly great defending in the paint, the defense has held opposing teams in check from deep. The Hawks have allowed just 11.7 3s on average, seventh-best in the NBA, and shots have fallen at just a 32.4% clip, second to only the Knicks (31.0%).
The key for the Hawks of late on offense? Slowing things down, it seems.
Atlanta has ranked ninth in pace over the course of the season, but is just 16th in pace over its three-game winning streak. As a result, the Hawks are scoring nearly a point more per 100 possessions, and have seen a 1.7% rise in their True Shooting %.
The Bucks were cruising, having won seven of eight, and then they had to battle the new-look Nets and the brawny Los Angeles Lakers. Neither game was fruitful for Milwaukee, and now the Bucks will be looking to snap the first losing streak of their young season.
With no one listed on the injury report, and three days off ahead of this game due to the postponement of their game against the Wizards, Milwaukee should be well-rested here.
Offensively, the Bucks are making their mark on the break. Milwaukee is getting out in transition more than anyone in the league, at a 22.1% clip, and scoring a league-best 28.3 points per game in transition. The Bucks are also drawing shooting fouls 14.1% of the time in transition, which ranks third. Aside from runnin’, the Bucks are also gunnin’, shooting the sixth-most 3s in the league and getting 38.8% of their points via the 3-ball, which ranks fifth. Shooting has not only been a theme for the Bucks, but their star.
Antetnokoumpo has driven just 10.1 times per game, which ranks 41st in the NBA — far from Luka Doncic (24.9), who sits atop the league in that category. It’s the second-straight season he’s ranked outside the top 40 after finishing inside the top 20 in that category in 2018-19, speaking a little bit to Giannis’ transition into more of a shooter in the past two years. In 2018-19, Antetokounmpo took just 2.8 3s per game, a number which ballooned to 4.7 last season and has grown to 4.9 this year.
On defense, the Bucks have been pretty stout down low, allowing 41.7 points in the paint — the third-best mark in the NBA. Without a dominant force down low for Atlanta, this won’t factor in too much here, although it’s always a plus when you’ve got nimble slashers like Hunter and Cam Reddish on the other end of the floor.
Both teams rank top-10 in defense, and while the pace numbers wouldn’t lead you to believe this should be an easy under, the pace numbers of late suggest both of these teams are slowing just a little bit.
Yes, while both of these teams have seen a down-tick in pace over the last few games, and transition has been very important to the Bucks, there’s more to the story. Milwaukee ranks 10th-lowest in score frequency on the break, signifying that the game script isn’t as easy to predict as you’d think.
Considering the Hawks’ strength is their ability to defend the three, they match up well against the Bucks, who love to launch from deep. With such a high total, and a few things working against the game going over, I’m inclined to hit the under here.
The over is just 3-12 in Hawks games, and 8-7 in Bucks games this season. I think Atlanta’s lackluster offense, combined with the strength of both defenses is enough to see this one go under.
Pick: Under 230.5 (-110)