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The Milwaukee Bucks last reached the Finals in 1974 and won their lone title in 1971. The Atlanta Hawks haven’t been to the Finals since 1961 — when they played home games in St. Louis. They have never won a championship.
The Bucks have Giannis Antetokounmpo and home-court advantage. The Hawks have Trae Young and a bunch of rising stars. The Bucks are more confident than ever, winning Game 7 on the road vs. the star-studded Brooklyn Nets. The Hawks seem too young to know any better — also winning a Game 7 road game and stunning the highly-favored Philadelphia 76ers.
Translation: This series is difficult to pick. Like, really difficult.
Many will say the Bucks have The Greek Freak and the edge in experience, so it should be a no-brainer. But the people who say that haven’t see the Hawks. Game 1 is Wednesday night in Milwaukee.
In most cases, it’s safe to go with the home team in the first game of a series. But the Hawks are getting a whopping eight points. The Bucks rarely blow out anybody. They’re more of a keep-it-close and get-it-to-your-super-duper-star-at-the-end sort of team. The Hawks, meanwhile, can score with the best of them.
With all that in mind, go ahead and take the Hawks and the +8. As for the over-under of 226 … well, that’s hard to say. The Hawks generally put up lots of points. But the Bucks also held the Nets to 83 points in a game (scoring 86 themselves) in the previous series. So it’s not like either of these teams are allergic to defense. In Game 1, take the under.
Eventually, someone will emerge for their first Finals appearance in 47 years or more. There’s no easy way to know for sure which team it will be.