After going down 2-0 in their series, the Hawks head back home to host the Celtics for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference first round. The game is expected to tip-off at 07:00 PM ET, Friday, April 21st, 2023.
Despite their shocking start to the series, the Hawks are only a 5 point underdog, with hopes that they’ll keep the game within two possessions.
The Celtics currently hold a 2-0 lead in the series, having won the last meeting between the two teams 119-106 on April 18.
In that game, forward Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 29 points, while shooting guard Dejounte Murray scored 29 points for the Hawks. With both players in great form, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top in this matchup.
Atlanta have been fairly consistent against Eastern Conference teams this season, with a 26-26 record. Trae Young has been a key player, averaging 10.2 assists per game, while the team as a whole is averaging 25 assists per game.
The Celtics have been strong in Eastern Conference play, with a 34-18 record. Boston ranks second in the conference in scoring, averaging 117.9 points per game, and is shooting an impressive 47.5 percent.
For the Hawks, Young has been averaging 20 points, seven assists, and two steals per game, while Murray has been on fire lately, averaging 19.6 points over the last 10 games.
On the Celtics side, Derrick White has been a standout player, averaging 25 points, six rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 2.5 blocks per game, while Tatum has been averaging 20.1 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 54.2 percent over the past 10 games.
The Hawks are 4-6 in their last 10 games, averaging 118.5 points per game, while the Celtics have been on a hot streak, winning 8 of their last 10 games and averaging 118.0 points per game. With both teams playing at a high level, this promises to be an exciting and competitive game.
ODDS AND PREDICTIONS
Although Atlanta are back at home and can expect their supporting cast to shoot better, they are still likely to trail for a good part of the game. Over-relying on three-point shooting could be detrimental for the Hawks as Boston has a clear advantage in this area.
With all the long rebounds and chances for easy run-outs off Hawks’ missed three-point shots, the point spread actually looks quite cheap on Boston.
While concerns remain about Boston’s performance on the road this year, cutting the point spread in half with a venue change is not necessarily the right move. Boston covered the -10 spread in the first two games by a full possession, and the “Game 3, down 0-2” bias weighs down the Hawks’ betting options in what is already a bad match-up for them.
It is unlikely that Boston will head back home for a potential Game 5 tied at two in this series, and the Celtics are the better team overall. With the Celtics being relatively cheap due to the “Game 3, down 0-2” bias, it makes sense to bet on them now rather than waiting until a potential Game 4 when the point spread is likely to be closer to -6 or -7, depending on the result of Game 3.
Boston went the distance last year and understands the importance of getting as much rest as possible throughout the playoffs. Even if Atlanta tries to change their style of play to alter the outcome, Boston is likely better equipped to handle any adjustments.
Given the three-point shooting disparity between the teams, the Hawks are unlikely to overcome the odds as a short-number underdog, making the Celtics the better pick. But remember, it’s important to keep in mind that sports betting always involves a degree of risk, and there’s no guarantee that the Celtics won’t become complacent on the road. As always, it’s essential to do your research and make an informed decision based on the available data.
Spread: Celtics -5
Moneyline: Celtics -205, Hawks +175
Pick: Celtics -5
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