The Milwaukee Bucks have regained home court advantage in this NBA eastern conference final playoff series by winning back-to-back games. They now look like locked-on betting favourites to make their first trip to the NBA Finals since 1974.
Game 4 recap
Game 3 ended 102-113 to the Bucks, but that scoreline could appear deceptive. The reality is that the Hawks were ahead for much of the game and only caved in during the last quarter, which they lost 17-30.
That is down to the individual brilliance of Khris Middleton, who outscored the entire Hawks team in that final quarter, netting 20 points for a career-high 38 overall.
Middleton was shooting 33.9% this series until this point but that game was just a distant memory on Sunday as he netted one basket after the other. Compare the 15-for-26 game he had with his terrible 6-for-23 showing in game 1: it is hard to believe this is the same player.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had another dominant game in the paint and ended with 33 points and 11 rebounds. For the first time this series, though, his free throw shooting reverted to the mean and he shot just 46.2 from the line.
It was a tough game to digest for Hawks star Trae Young, who got 35 points on 52.2% shooting but was still unable to stop his team from losing and ended the game with a swollen and sore ankle.
The young star is now questionable for game 4 - not what Atlanta fans want to hear just one day before one of the biggest playoff nights in franchise history.
What to expect in game 4
Game 3 was a prime example of the importance of depth during the NBA playoffs. The Bucks already have a bone-fide superstar in Giannis Antetokounmpo. If Jrue Holiday has an off night (as he did here, going 2-for-11 for 6 points) then Middleton can step things up.
That is a luxury the Hawks just do not have. Young is leading the team with swagger, but he cannot do it alone, especially if he is not at full fitness. If Atlanta is to tie the series, they will need Trae to light it up and have the Bucks underperform.
The Hawks have won game 4 in each matchup during this playoff run and will be looking to tighten things up on the defensive end in game 4. The Bucks are no pushovers, though. The question is: will they take their foot off the gas after two double-digit victories in games 2 and 3?
Betting guide - betting on Hawks v Bucks game 4
The sportsbooks are clear about how they see this one panning out, with the Moneyline having the Bucks as clear favorites at -275 to the Hawks +220
The spread could be where the smart money is at: seeing the Bucks as seven-point favorites at -105 seems like the obvious choice, but remember that Milwaukee is just 35-51 at beating the spread this season while the Hawks are 13-11 when they are underdogs by at least six points.
Last game’s 215 points fell short of the 224.5 over/under and the books have Tuesday’s matchup at a series-low 219. The Bucks have beaten that in 74.4% of matchups this season while the Hawks have gone over that 56.3% of the time. Odds of -110 mean a $100 bet on the over/under will return $190.
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