One of the keys to the Milwaukee Bucks’ upset of the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference semifinals was the improved play of Khris Middleton in Game 6 and Game 7.
Middleton shot just 38.1 percent from the field over the first five games of the series, but he finished with his two best games. He scored 38 points on 11-of-16 shooting in Game 6, and then dropped 23 points in Game 7.
Middleton shot just 9-for-26 in Game 7, but he seems to have turned a corner in terms of scoring volume, as he’s put up 28.0 points per game over his last five contests.
WynnBET expects Middleton to continue this trend, as he’s projected to score 24.5 points in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Atlanta Hawks. The over on Middleton’s player prop (-108) is a slight underdog to the under (-112), but there are a few reasons to believe in Middleton in Game 1.
First of all, Middleton has seen his usage spike over the past five games, as he’s attempted 20.8 shots per game including his two highest shot totals of the postseason (26 in Game 7 and 25 in Game 3 against Brooklyn).
On top of that, the Hawks are without De’Andre Hunter, who is one of the team’s best wing defenders. With Bogdan Bogdanovic also banged up, it will be interesting to see who the Hawks throw at Middleton tonight.
Middleton has also played over 41 minutes in each of Milwaukee’s past five games, which means he will have plenty of opportunities to score if the Hawks can keep tonight’s game close. Milwaukee is an eight-point favorite in Game 1, but with the Bucks on the cusp of reaching the NBA Finals, expect Middleton to take on as much as he can handle to set the tone in the series.