Hawks vs. Bucks: The best player prop bets for Game 5
Many predicted the Eastern Conference Finals would be a walkover for the Milwaukee Bucks.
They were stunned when the Hawks took Game 1, but with Trae Young out because of a bone bruise in his foot for Game 4, the Bucks again figured to take control of the series. But even before Giannis Antetokounmpo left the game after a scary knee injury, it was Atlanta in control of the game.
Though marred by missing stars and mounting injuries to both squads, the Hawks deserve credit for seizing control of Game 4 from the opening tip.
Fri, July 2 2021, 12:40 AM
With four games played and at least two more assured, there are more questions than certainties about what remains for this series. With the possibility both Young and Antetokounmpo will miss Game 5, who will fill the void?
Game 5 is at 8:30 p.m. ET Thursday on TNT, and we have picks for some enticing player props.
Bogdan Bogdanovic Over/Under 23.5 points, rebounds, and assists
Bogdanovic has struggled this series, but it’s not because he is afraid of the moment. He has been fighting through an unspecific knee injury that has sapped his explosion, which leaves him a liability at times, on both ends of the court.
But at his best, Bogdanovic is a gamer. He can drive and score inside, he is a connector piece as a playmaker, and he is a deadly shotmaker from the perimeter.
Many fans might be unfamiliar with Bogdanovic’s body of work, as he has toiled in relative anonymity in Sacramento for most of his NBA career. He had some big-time performances in championship games in Europe and FIBA, where he has collected multiple league titles and Finals MVP trophies. The guy is an absolute killer on the court.
Per Cleaning the Glass, among wings, Bogdanovic ranked in the 80th percentile or better in usage, points per shot attempt, assist percentage, turnover percentage, and assist-to-usage ratio during the regular season. That is an incredible feat that shows the diversity and effectiveness of his offensive game.
And those numbers didn't just come against scrub defenses. In their two games against the Bucks during the regular season, Bogdanovic averaged 30 points per game on more than 50% shooting from the field and 53% from three-point range.
In Game 4, he finally looked like he was moving normally, and, after he shook off the rust in the first half, he was clutch.
With Bogdanovic finally feeling like himself, the Bucks are in trouble and so are Under betters here.
Khris Middleton Over/Under 27.5 points
Middleton is the most talented player remaining in the Eastern Conference Finals, and while he is a fine player, it is a grim reminder of just how many players have been lost to injury during these playoffs.
The Bucks didn’t play well enough to win in Game 4, despite a massive talent advantage, and Middleton’s struggles were a big piece of the puzzle.
Middleton has been inconsistent in the postseason. He sometimes looks like a reasonable foil to Kevin Durant and other times disappears when the Bucks need him most.
But it was no accident that he struggled again in Game 4, and the lion’s share of credit should be given to Hawks wing Cam Reddish. Reddish was out with an Achilles strain since Feb. 22 and only recently returned to action during garbage time in Game 2.
He was draped over Middleton throughout his 23 minutes of action in Game 4, which helped hold Middleton to 35% shooting from the floor and force four turnovers.
With Young again likely out, Reddish and his fresh legs will be asked to shadow Middleton again.
Brook Lopez Over/Under 20.5 points, rebounds, and assists
Lopez has not had a significant impact on this series, largely because the Bucks have leaned heavily on Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis on the defensive end.
But Lopez is an incredibly talented and effective center on both ends of the floor in the right matchup, as long as the opponent can’t exploit him from floater range. Lou Williams might try, but he still won’t do enough damage to dissuade the Bucks from playing Lopez major minutes in Game 5.
Everyone knows Lopez transformed his game and is now a volume shooter from deep, but in a past life, he was a low-post bruiser and is still the all-time leading scorer for the Nets franchise.
In Antetokounmpo’s absence, Lopez see a rise in minutes, shore up the defense, and be asked to score and rebound at increased rates.