There’s not much confidence in the Hawks ahead of Game 2.
Atlanta enters Friday night’s Eastern Conference Finals game as an eight-point underdog at BetMGM to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Hawks were an eight-point dog at one point ahead of Game 1 and yet Atlanta stepped up in the fourth quarter to take a 1-0 series lead over the Bucks.
It was the third straight time Atlanta won Game 1. The Hawks beat the Knicks on the road in the first game of their first-round series and then won at Philadelphia to start their second-round series with the 76ers.
While Atlanta went on to win each of those two series, those wins didn’t do much to immediately change perceptions’ of the Hawks’ playoff chances. The Knicks were a sentimental favorite after making the playoffs following a long stretch of terrible basketball and Atlanta went through the 76ers’ series with some of the longest odds to make the NBA Finals of any team remaining.
Now the Hawks are three wins away from the Finals. And the Bucks are still big favorites.
The Bucks opened the series at -500 to win it. That’s a massive advantage. Those odds are down after the Game 1 loss, but Milwaukee is still -200 to win the series ahead of Game 2. Atlanta is +165.
Any outcome in the Hawks’ favor has big odds too; BetMGM thinks it’s more likely that Milwaukee wins the series 4-1 than Atlanta wins the series in any combination of games.
MIlwaukee is +275 to win the series 4-3, +300 to win the series 4-2 and +350 to win the series 4-1. The lowest odds in any Hawks win are +600. And while four consecutive Milwaukee wins have odds of just +350, a four-game sweep by the Hawks has astronomical +2000 odds.
We’re not sure why Atlanta hasn’t been more of a betting darling these playoffs. While the Hawks aren’t one of the most popular teams in the NBA, they’re in a big market and Trae Young is becoming one of the most recognizable players in the league. Sure, Atlanta may not have an MVP candidate like the Bucks, Nets or 76ers, but we’ve gotten a ton of evidence this postseason that Atlanta is legit.
You should use that evidence to your advantage unless you’re a huge Bucks fan.
A Game 7 in the NHL
We told you in this space two days ago to go with the underdog after an 8-0 shellacking and sure enough, the New York Islanders came through.
The Islanders won Game 6 of their semifinal game against the Tampa Bay Lightning to force a Game 7 on Friday night in Tampa. And New York is an underdog yet again.
The Islanders are -1.5 goal underdogs, though their odds are a low -190. The over/under on the game is 5 and you can get New York on the moneyline to win at +145 while a straight-up win for Tampa Bay is at -175.
Montreal clinched its first Stanley Cup Final berth since 1993 on Thursday night. If the Islanders pull the upset on Friday, they’ll be playing for the Cup for the first time since 1984.
Take some bet insurance at Pocono
NASCAR races twice at Pocono this weekend. The first race is Saturday and the second race is Sunday. The field for Sunday’s race will be set via the finishing order on Saturday. The drivers who finish in the top 20 will have their spots inverted for the start of Sunday’s race — the 20th-place driver on Saturday starts first on Sunday — and the drivers from 21st on back will start where they finished.
If you’re looking to bet the winner of the race Saturday, take some time to really consider who you want and take advantage of BetMGM’s top three insurance. BetMGM is insuring all bets up to $25 if your driver doesn’t win but finishes second or third. With that insurance in mind, Kyle Busch is a good driver to consider. He’s been a top five machine at Pocono in recent years.
Who cashed tickets Thursday?
The Clippers and the under was a nice bet Thursday night. Los Angeles was a one-point dog ahead of Game 3 of their Western Conference Finals series against Phoenix and won 106-92. A win Saturday night for the Clippers evens the series at 2-2 and makes a third comeback from an 0-2 deficit somehow feasible once again.
Pittsburgh was a nice underdog to cash in Major League Baseball. The Pirates scored five runs in the first four innings in an 8-2 win over the Cardinals in St. Louis. The Yankees beat the Royals 8-1 at home to take two of three games from KC in New York and the Cubs had four pitchers combine for a no-hitter in a 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in LA.
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