Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:15 AM EST.
MILWAUKEE -8 over Atlanta
8:35 PM EST. Let’s see if we have this straight, shall we? Milwaukee has not been favored in this range the entire playoffs. Atlanta was priced in this range just once during these playoffs when they were a +7½ point dog in Game 5 at Philadelphia and won outright. The market was all over Atlanta that game and easily got paid. No chances of those same folks now switching gears and spotting another -7½ points to the Hawks. No chance, no chance, no chance.
Thing is, Milwaukee is not Philadelphia or the Knicks. The longer the Hawks and 76ers played, the more Philly’s Ben Simmons was exposed as an offensive liability. Milwaukee does not have a single body on its roster who’ll prove to be unwilling to take a shot because he knows he either can’t make that shot, or can’t make a free-throw after the shot attempt. For all of Atlanta’s troubles defending against points in the paint against Philadelphia and its size advantage, they managed to win four games. But Philly’s Dwight Howard and Simmons can’t hit free throws. Milwaukee bigs Giannis and Brook Lopez aren’t the most outstanding free-throw shooters ever to stand 6’11” or taller (71.7% and 79.6% careers), but those are fine percentages, seriously better than what Philadelphia’s Twin Terrors of the Charity Stripe have done either recently (34%, 60% vs. the Hawks), or in their careers (59.7%, 56.5% careers). Basically, everyone surrounding Giannis on Milwaukee is a shooter.
Neither Tom Thibodeaux nor Doc Rivers could get their Knicks or 76ers to exploit Trae Young’s lack of size and suspect defensive abilities well enough to advance, which could be because their groups of guards are so overrated. The Bucks’ preferred “drop coverage” that funnels action into rim-protecting. Robin Lopez and shot-blocking Giannis will either be a trap for Young, or a set-up for him to further demonstrate his ability to sink floaters or dish for a dunk, when he’s not tossing in 25 footers or attempting to do so.
Who do you like is a question bettors get asked often. Our response is always the same. It doesn’t matter who we like. If we bet who we like, we would be betting on Atlanta too. How can one not like Atlanta taking back a pile of points like this? That said, we’ll once again reiterate that we’re not in the prediction business. We’ll leave that to Stephen A, who hasn’t been right in 15 years, and Charles Barkley, who unlike Stephen A is at least amusing to listen to. We will remain unrelenting in our position of recognizing a price on an underdog that looks too enticing. We’re not playing Milwaukee because we like them, we’re playing Milwaukee because the line says so and because the market is gobbling up the points like it’s Ribfest.
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MILWAUKEE -8 -106 (Risking 2.12 units - To Win: 2.00)